Welcome to Mary’s Gourmet Diner. We opened our restaurant on June 4, 2010, but we’ve actually been around for a while. This culinary adventure officially began in June 2000, with the opening of a little place called Mary’s Of Course!, a family-owned and run café that served breakfast and lunch 6 days a week. It had come to Mary’s attention that fresh food made from scratch and assembled while you wait, were practically novel ideas to many people.
So, for ten years Mary built a rabid fan base and thriving business that soon outgrew it’s location. At 10 a.m. the coolers would be stocked to the gills, and by 2 p.m. they were bare! The line waiting for the doors to open eventually grew out into the street, and the wait for empty tables grew long! This was especially true on Sundays, when we dispensed with some of the lunch fare (certain soups, salads and sandwiches), and served that delightful meal that is not quite breakfast and not quite lunch; known as Brunch!
In 2008, after numerous offers to start franchises and open more locations, an offer occurred that finally felt like the right thing to do. Mary was shown an old bank building on the edge of the Arts District that “…appeared to me like a pop-up book the first time I walked in!” She envisioned a new kitchen, multiple dining rooms, and outdoor seating like never before!
The hours would be longer and the menu expanded! In the ten years she had been building her business the grassroots movement toward healthier food had grown too, so she would be able to pursue even more local farms for her Dairy, Produce and Meat needs! It would still be open 6 days a week, but instead of Sunday Brunch…it would be Brunch all the time! Of course, this would all mean three times the work load for the staff.
Mary’s daughter Shama had been helping for years at MOC (both in the kitchen and as the book-keeper), so she could become an official business partner.
Mary has taken the idea of displaying local artists on the walls to a whole new level! Five locals were hand picked by Mary from 10 years of MOC artists for their talent, commitment and fearlessness to decorate our new space. Liz Simmons, Laura Lashley, Daniel VonSeggen, Jason Blevins and John Blackburn were all given the opportunity to participate and most created pieces on a grand scale; much larger than anything they had attempted before!
We should also mention that the original Art-o-mat machine has finally been retired by it’s creator, but Clark Whittington has brought us a new machine that couldn’t possibly be more perfect for our new space! When you walk in 723 Trade Street, you will immediately know that it’s still wild, still funky and still Mary’s place. We encourage you to have a different restaurant experience.
Bring a friend, have a conversation while you eat, take a moment to enjoy your food, make new friends, bring your sufficiently behaved children, absorb the atmosphere and relax.
Over the years, many people have found it hard to believe the food isn’t rigged with some ‘special’ ingredient. Perhaps it’s the LACK of strange ingredients that blows people’s minds and taste buds.
Mary hasn’t changed anything in that department; as nearly everything is still made from scratch and assembled at the time of your order. What goes in the grits? It’s still just water, grits, butter, salt & pepper. Why are they SO good? Because they’re stone-ground grits from a local mill, with unsalted butter, kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Sure, these things are a bit more expensive than instant bleached grits, cheap butter (salt covers up the impurities), and standard salt & pepper; but that wouldn’t be the quality meal Mary wants to serve you. This explanation, applies to the entire menu, of course. Mary’s goal is to make delicious, fresh comfort food that will feed you; body and soul.
As a result, you won’t find any deep-fried items, soups out of a bag, canned fruit cocktail, or dressings out of a bottle. And even though you may think there can’t be THAT much difference between what you’ll get at Mary’s and what you may find elsewhere; your BODY will know the difference. Come to Mary’s Of Course Cafe, and you may find yourself asking, “What did she PUT in this?!?”
Perhaps you have come to our website and never had a Mary’s experience at MOC or the new BOC. If you’re wondering about the groundwork that got us there; we encourage you to browse our old website to find out more about Mary’s Of Course! Keep in mind, that most everything you read about there has been further explored and developed at BOC! Thank you for visiting the official website for Breakfast Of Course!; still the proud home of the Apple Butter Baby sandwich!