Diner Legend Norma Manis Dies at 80
Three memorial services have been announced for the pie-making darling who opened Norma’s Cafe more than five decades ago on Davis Street before she started her latest endeavor, Mama’s Daughters Diner, with her three daughters.
One of the memorial services will be held in Oak Cliff tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. at Laurel Land Funeral Home. The interment is scheduled at Laurel Land following a memorial service at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.
In an interview with Oak Cliff People two years ago for Norma’s Cafe’s 55th aniversary, Manis said that she wanted to be remembered for her last venture, Mama’s Daughters Diner, which she opened after selling Norma’s Cafe in 1986. ”Norma quit her job,” she said. “I’m not Norma anymore. I’m Mama. I sold my name when I sold that business.”
She grew up in Oak Cliff and stayed here years after she sold Norma’s Cafe, but eventually moved to Lewisville to be closer to her family and their business.
Acquaintances say Manis, who was preceded in death by a daughter, had been in a coma after suffering a stroke weeks ago.
Ed Murph, who bought Norma’s Cafe 26 years ago, had this to say:
“I believe Dallas would be without a comfort food institution if it weren’t for Norma’s love here that so many people appreciated for years.
“What I remember most about Norma is her love for her customers, which clearly came from the love she cherished with her own family. When we would talk about how to establish a place people would feel welcome, we agreed that it had to begin with service that feels like family.
“Her spirit will always be at the Oak Cliff location. On behalf of our guests who remember Norma’s warm smile and great laugh welcoming them to the cafe on Davis Street, my family and staff will always appreciate what she started. My heart goes out to Norma’s family during this trying time of loss and grief. May the Lord continue to bless her family as He blessed Norma for so many years.”
Read more in Friday’s newspaper.