CLOSED: John’s City Diner, iconic Birmingham restaurant

pat12 CLOSED: John's City Diner, iconic Birmingham restaurant
John’s City Diner mural in downtown Birmingham. (Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

In a post on Facebook this morning, John’s City Diner announced the restaurant has closed after almost 20 years. The beloved spot in the heart of downtown Birmingham was known for its local charm, iconic mural and wide range of Southern comfort food.

79 years in the making

John’s City Diner was owned and operated by self-taught chef Shannon Gober. A native of Birmingham, Gober took over John’s City Diner with his wife Shana 19 years ago.

The original restaurant, however, dates back almost 80 years to 1944 when it was opened by John Proferis. Over the years it was operated by Proferis’s nephew Phil Hontzas and other family members until the Gobers took over in 2004.

mac and cheese
The famous not your mama’s mac ‘n cheese trio. (John’s City Diner on Facebook)

John’s City Diner was beloved for several dishes, such as the famous meatloaf, “not your mama’s” mac ‘n cheese and John’s slaw.

Even if you never “got some” at John’s, Birmingham locals will surely recognize the “It’s nice to have you in Birmingham” mural on the building’s exterior, which has become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

A final farewell

pat13 CLOSED: John's City Diner, iconic Birmingham restaurant
The farewell note on the door of John’s City Diner. (Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

The announcement was also posted on the door of the former restaurant, thanking their patrons, his wife and son and employees who have been there since the beginning of John’s.

This beloved local spot will surely be missed by the City of Birmingham.

“Thank You Birmingham. It was “Nice” to be with you,” said Gober.

Did you ever visit John’s City Diner? Let us know on Instagram + Facebook.

Grace Howard
Grace Howard
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