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Sam’s Morning Glory Diner has offered cheery brunch on a South Philly corner for 25 years, but you couldn’t tell that by going to the restaurant’s website.
The URL — themorningglorydiner.com, which was registered by the diner’s owners in 2008 and is still listed on its Facebook page — instead sends users to a campaign site promoting Donald J. Trump for president.
It’s been that way since shortly after the 2016 election, when the establishment was targeted by Trump supporters, proprietor Carol Mickey told Billy Penn, and they haven’t been able to invest resources in getting it fixed.
The website getting redirected to a Trump site was just the tip of the harassment the diner faced.
“They interfered with our phone service. They would call and order food and never pick it up,” Mickey said. “They would do everything to try to torment us… And the last thing they did was interfere with our Facebook and our Instagram and our Google websites.”
Mickey has been running Morning Glory for just over a decade, when her daughter, who opened the Bella Vista spot in 1997, fell ill and died. “I just couldn’t let it go,” Mickey explained.
After taking over to continue daughter’s legacy, she began using the place of business as a microphone for public opinion, naming menu specials with political statements. In 2015, one of them referencing the historic U.S. Supreme court decision on gay marriage went viral.
“Our first one ever was ‘Scalia Is a Douche,’” Mickey said, “which was right after he wrote a dissent in the gay marriage debate.”
The dish, a frittata with andouille sausage, tomato, scallions and monterey jack cheese, not only sold out in record time, it also gained the diner national fame — and kicked off a new tradition.
Over the past several years, Morning Glory has offered a variety of politically-named items. Recently the menu featured “Hate Makes You Hungry” tacos and a “Gov Shapiro is Pro-Life” scramble.
“We also have ‘Larry Krasner eats free’ and we have ‘No classified papers here,’” Mickey said.
Naming specials isn’t the only way the diner does advocacy. The staff has designed window posters with messaging about everything from supporting democracy to advocating for Ukraine relief efforts.
Many of these things are “not about politics,” Mickey said. “It’s about love and hate. About us getting together and getting along.”
Her grandson Cotton James Mcgowan, who works at the diner as a manager, recalled experiencing harassment during the pandemic.
“My grandma brought me on [during] COVID,” McGowan told Billy Penn. “I graduated high school in 2020 right as that was all happening. It was just crazy… just me, my grandma, and my little sister working here.”
He recalled being threatened by a Trump-supporting to-go driver who said they would blow up the establishment “after the police became fully defunded.” So far, no physical threats have been made good on — but the diner’s website is still hacked to point to a Trump donation page.
Morning Glory staff say they keep pushing forward to keep Mickey’s daughter’s dream alive, and because they feel supported by a large portion of the community.
“People tell me it’s like a haven,” McGowan said. “For every single person there that doesn’t like what we do, there’s like three more that love it, support it, and tell everybody else about it.”
Morning Glory Diner is open daily at 735 S. 10th St. from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.