Fun Food

The Akron Beacon Journal, June 28, 1991


‘Nothing over five bucks’

*Unpretentious diner draws a varied clientele by Mark Faris, Beacon Journal staff writer

Unless you’re talking pie fights – and we’re not (at least not today) – fun food usually means good food – high-grade chow that tastes great and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, let alone a wing and a thigh.

That’s why Fred’s Diner is today’s main course.

Nestled among the engorgement of machine shops and construction companies that line Home Avenue in northeast Akron, Fred’s is the brainchild of one Fred Spencer, a ’77 Cuyahoga Falls High grad who is no stranger to the local restaurant-nightclub scene, having served some 14 years in establishments ranging from Iacomini’s and Billy’s to Hilarities and “anyplace that’d hire me.”

But through the years, Spencer always had harbored a yen to open his own place – “a little breakfast-lunch place where folks could come for inexpensive home cooking.”

His ship came in July 11, 1989, when he leased the little 50-seat edifice at 930 Home, spruced up the interior, slapped a coat of paint on the exterior and began laying in the fixin’s that would become his bread and butter.

He started with the staples – bacon, eggs, home fries – then added the daily specials – meatloaf, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, baked chicken.

“Nothing fancy,” he says, “nothing over five bucks. Two eggs and toast are 99 cents.”

As far as can be determined, the building always had served as a restaurant, most recently The Horn.

But it wasn’t until Spencer took over that it really began to cook.

At first our customers were mostly the blue-collar workers from around here,” says Spencer. “But now we get people from all walks of life – businessmen, secretaries, retirees, you name it.”

From the opening bell at 6 a.m. each Monday through Saturday, Spencer says the place is pretty much filled.

With CNN’s Headline News locked in on a TV above the eight-stool counter, customers assemble in the diner’s two rooms, reading newspapers, checking the tube and chewing the fat, so to speak.

“Everything’s very casual,” says Spencer, “very light, upbeat. Just think of those old-time diners, and that’s pretty much what we have here.”

Phone: 535-FRED (3733).