Ozzie's to reopen Nov. 1, owner says

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A popular Norman eatery will re-open early Nov. 1 after nearly two months of renovations, its owner said.

Ozzie's Diner, at Max Westheimer Airport, has been closed since Sept. 1 for electrical, plumbing and draining improvements and the installation of new cabinets.

Owner Derek Van Nostrand, who assumed operations of Ozzie's from his father Mart Van Nostrand, said he's "excited and nervous" about being the sole owner of an iconic Norman restaurant that has been around for 34 years.

"It's an overwhelming experience," he said. "But, I've been running it the past six years after coming back."

Previously, Van Nostrand worked as the lead general manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill and also served as the general manager at Iron Skillet in Oklahoma City. In addition, he was the food services director at the Village on the Park retirement center.

"I was raised in the food services business and I've worked under some great chefs so I know the value of a dollar and what it takes to be successful," he said.

Ozzie's doors will open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 1 to serve its all-you-can-eat breakfast, which is popular among many of the longtime and faithful customers, floor manager Michele Williams said.

"We have a large group of regulars who come in every day and then we have a group of gentlemen who have come here every Tuesday morning since they graduated from college," she said.

The customers, Williams said, have been understanding since Ozzie's closed for renovations.

"They (customers) are like family. If we see them outside of Ozzie's, they give us hugs and we know about their children and grandchildren and and they know about ours," she said.

Breakfast is served 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

When Ozzie's began operating as a full-service restaurant, the all-you-can-eat breakfast was $2.29. Now, the all-you-can-eat meal is $6.99.

"That's not much of an increase in 34 years," Van Nostrand said.

Ozzie's offers select specials throughout the week, including Wednesday's all-you-can-eat fried chicken plus sides for $6.95.

"We cook and sell about 300 pounds of chicken on those days," Van Nostrand said.

A majority of the food prepared at Ozzie's is homemade.

"It's something we pride ourselves on," Van Nostrand said. "I would say about 75 to 80% is prepared right here. There is no buffet. Most everything is made fresh as the customer orders it."

Normal business hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant hours on Sunday are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The diner is located at 1700 Lexington Avenue, which is on airport property.

Individuals can receive updates about the restaurant by texting "Ozzie" to 95577, Van Nostrand said.

Tim Farley can be reached at tfarley@normantranscript.com or 405-366-3539.

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