Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sad times for Norman, Oklahoma Diner

Mark Amspacher, owner since 1996 of The Diner in Norman Oklahoma, died Monday, February 1, 2010 in Norman Regional Hospital. He was 56.

Amspacher is best known for his award-winning chili, which won the state's chili championship cookoff twice. Here's the recipe for his Southside Chili, submitted to the Food Network.

Southside Chili - click here for recipe by Mark Amspacher, owner of The Diner in Norman, OK

Focusing on old-school staples like omelets, pancakes and burgers, Amspacher's diner won national attention when it was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-in and Dives" in November 2009, Diners Times Three.

"His scrambled eggs are probably the best ever. He did something different to them. Put water or something in them. He had the magic touch," said friend and customer Ben Benedum, thoughts lingering on the eggs' custard, buttery lightness accompanied with bacon.

Long-time friend Doug Burns said many of the specials featured at The Diner, scotch onions baked in butter and garlic and a number of wild quail dishes, were birthed while cooking around the campfire of his ranch.

The family asks that memorials be sent in Amspacher's memory to Norman's Food and Shelter for Friends, 104 W. Comanche St.

Condolences can be sent online at

Sarah Amspacher, 27, Mark Amspacher's second oldest daughter, said The Diner, which is temporarily closed, will reopen soon.
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