Mary’s Gourmet Diner has been a Trade Street staple in Winston-Salem for 20 years, and it’s where everyone in town knows you can get an unbelievable breakfast in an environment that has the perfect homey feel.
Recently, Mary Haglund invited Michael Millan to be a partner in the business. Since then, Mary’s Gourmet Diner has continued to serve all the food it’s known for and provide even more exciting offerings going into the future. They sat down with us to dish what’s in store at the diner in 2020.
1. What are some new offerings at Mary’s?
Mary Haglund: “We’ve always served breakfast, lunch, and brunch. We added beer and wine fairly recently, [and] the menu has been streamlined.”
Michael Millan: “We had a major menu overhaul about six months after I purchased into Mary’s. My goal was to play on the things that Mary did in the past and put my twist on some old favorites. We are still keeping that theme going. However, I have been putting a funky twist on things, such as, changing our espresso blend to taste more like a Cuban coffee. We call it ‘Mary’s Miami Blend.’ Mary has been very supportive as a partner in my changes. I have made sure to respect the past and what she has built, and she has given me a lot of freedom and space to push us into the future.”
2. Why is this year particularly exciting?
MH: “2020 is a very exciting year to me because the businesses’ 20th anniversary is this summer.”
3. Is there anything special in the works for this anniversary year?
MM: “There have been some upgrades to the dining room recently. We painted the restaurant, added some cool new lighting, and generally brightened the place up a bit. We will be focused on perfecting brunch downtown in 2020 and making delicious food that speaks to the changing culinary scene.”
4. What is your favorite dish at Mary’s and why?
MH: “My favorite dish is the huevos rancheros. I brought Hatch chiles to the restaurant about 12 years ago when I got back from my honeymoon in New Mexico. We continue to get some chiles from Santa Fe. They produce a flavor like nowhere else and it’s one of my favorite flavors ever.”
MM: “My favorite dish is the eggs Benedict. It takes a lot of work [and] shows a certain level of skill and culinary technique to pull off a memorable Benedict. The health department prefers restaurants use a packaged sauce mix [but] we make ours from farm fresh eggs and really high quality clarified butter. That’s a recipe for delicious and rich hollandaise.”
5. Where are your favorite Winston-Salem spots?
MH: “I have so many faves around town, but my all-time favorite is La Botana. They feed my soul. It’s very important to me to eat at locally-owned restaurants. I think it’s vital to the health and wealth of our community.”
MM: “Miss Ora’s Kitchen on Trade Street is my go to for a quick lunch. A perfect fried chicken in cast iron is a magical thing. Another one of my favorite spots is West End Coffeehouse; owned and operated by two of my favorite people in town, Dana and Jim Moody. I never had a tomato pie until I moved to Winston. I never ate another after Dana’s.”