Almost three years to the day after it opened, Meme’s Diner in Prospect Heights announced yesterday that they'll soon be closing their doors.
Co-owners Libby Willis and Bill Clark made the announcement on MeMe’s Instagram page, writing, “with heavy hearts, like so many other small businesses, we made the tough decision to close our doors for good.”
Beneath Meme's giant twinkling disco ball, diners idolized the establishment as much for their delicious comfort food (potato chip-crusted mac and cheese with hot sauce, a meatloaf sandwich, and a slice of everything-bagel babkha) as they did for their LGBTQ+, inclusive approach to hospitality. champions queerness and equality
“Queer hospitality is something we really cherish, Bill Clark told Time Out New York back in August. It was always important for us to create an environment anyone could feel comfortable in, whether you’re queer or not.”
At MeMe's, employees were trained from day one to use gender-neutral language at all times, including genderless greeting language to groups like "ya'll" or "friends" or "folks.”
“Now more than ever we all need to lead with our ethics,” Willis added in. “Our ethics are a reflection of our identity. There was no way MeMe’s wasn’t going to be a queer restaurant because what is authentically us is our queer community, and we wanted nothing more than to show how important that is to us.”
MeMe's has always been an active voice in the Brooklyn community. Back in 2018, the Prospect Heights diner hosted a party series to raise money for community organizations called Queer Soup Night, an LBGTQ+ non-profit that formed in direct response to the rise of the Trump administration.
At the height of Black Lives Matter protests across New York following the death of George Floyd, MeMe’s sprung into action with Queer Soup Night to offer free food to protestors.
During Pride month this past June, MeMe's Diner started a mutual-aid initiative Totes Gay, where they sold tote bags full of food, drinks and other mystery items—made by Brooklyn's queer chefs and makers. 100% of funds went to The Okra Project, a collective dedicated to improving the lives of Black Trans people.
The inclusive diner has touched many hearts during it's three-year run in Brooklyn. Many have taken to social media to share their love and feelings on bidding farewell to the Prospect Heights staple.
MeMe's Diner was maybe the restaurant I enjoyed going to most in the entire world and I am so, so sad it's closing— Jean-Luc Bouchard (@jlucbouchard) November 13, 2020
I am not ok. MeMe’s Diner forever. pic.twitter.com/Rra50q13mA— Cool Shorts (@coolshorts22) November 13, 2020
MeMe’s diner is closing...... pic.twitter.com/4zhHGNOnNJ— jessie (@baby_baba_yaga) November 13, 2020
26 unread texts from people asking if i’m okay because meme’s diner is closing. obviously i’m nOT OKAY— maya kosoff (@mekosoff) November 13, 2020
i am so sad that Meme’s Diner is closing — I will miss their party melt, having casual queer spaces in the neighborhood, the little cheese balls, meeting friends on a Wednesday night for dinner, and the everything bagel babka pic.twitter.com/VHPyLTFqSS— alex duner (@asduner) November 13, 2020
Meme’s Diner has been the center of a beautiful, little, queer world and I’m so thankful to have had a such a lovely neighborhood spot in my life. https://t.co/VLVUZR4ITi— Bedder (@itgetsbedder) November 13, 2020
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The restaurant will serve its last meal on November 22. Pour a bowl of cheeseballs out for Meme's Diner, and stop by for a few slices of cake and a patty melt on rye while you still can.
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