By 1808Delaware

The Hamburger Inn Diner has been a beloved local landmark since 1932. Known for its rich history, unique dining experience, and commitment to community, this diner offers more than just delicious food. It’s a place where memories are made and cherished across generations.

Recently, OSU Public Media visited Hamburger Inn to delve into the story behind this iconic eatery. Their visit highlighted the diner’s importance to the local community and its enduring charm.

A Journey Through Time

Hamburger Inn’s history dates back to 1932, but its roots stretch even further to 1918, when it was known as The Senate, a restaurant offering 25-cent meals. The building itself played a significant role in the Underground Railroad, with tunnels in the basement used to safely move people at night. Originally, the diner had a narrow setup with just 12 seats at the counter. Diners would move down the line as seats became available, a practice that added to the charm and uniqueness of the establishment.

Rob, the current owner, recently took over the diner and was quickly advised on the importance of preserving its historical elements, particularly the countertop and stools. “If this countertop could tell stories, we’d be here for a long time,” Rob shared with the OSU Public Media team, highlighting the deep connection locals have with this iconic feature.

The Essence of Community

One of the diner’s most cherished traditions is the Coffee Club, a group of regulars who have been gathering at Hamburger Inn for over 70 years. Members pay for their coffee weekly and meet every morning to discuss the day’s news and catch up. This tradition has fostered a sense of camaraderie and belonging among the members. Once a year, the club collects donations to give the servers a generous tip during Christmas, showing their appreciation for the diner staff.

The Coffee Club exemplifies what makes Hamburger Inn special: it’s not just a place to eat, but a community hub where friendships are formed and nurtured. “We still have about 10 to 15 people that show up every morning, even though we open at 7:00 AM, they are here at 6:30,” Rob explained to OSU Public Media, emphasizing the diner’s role in the daily lives of its patrons.

Homemade Delights

Hamburger Inn is famous for its homemade delicacies, particularly the cinnamon rolls. These treats, along with other baked goods, have become a signature of the diner. The fact that all baking is done in-house adds to the allure and quality of the food offered. Rob, who has a passion for taking care of people and feeding them, ensures that each dish meets high standards and keeps customers coming back.

“I love the passion of taking care of people,” Rob told OSU Public Media. “Although the menu is the same, I have my own little secrets that I try to do to impress people and invite them back.” This dedication to quality and customer satisfaction is evident in every bite.

Preserving a Legacy

Rob’s vision for the future of Hamburger Inn is rooted in preserving its rich legacy while staying connected with the community. He plans to maintain the diner’s traditional charm and historical significance, ensuring that it continues to be a beloved gathering place for years to come. “I don’t plan on changing anything dramatically. I just want to get in and give back to what everybody has given to this place over the years,” Rob stated during the interview.

His commitment to preserving the diner’s history and legacy is clear. Rob wants future generations to experience the same warmth and nostalgia that have defined Hamburger Inn for decades. “I want people to remain connected and hold those memories they have, knowing that they can come back here,” he added.

Looking Ahead

As Hamburger Inn approaches its centennial, Rob is excited about the future. He envisions the diner continuing to thrive, deeply involved with the local community and maintaining its reputation as a cherished local treasure. With plans to introduce new ideas that align with the diner’s historic charm, Rob is dedicated to ensuring that Hamburger Inn remains a beloved institution in Delaware.

You can view the WOSU video here.

Source: WOSU; Image: Creative Common License

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