Say hi to Mom

By Victoria Johnson

From the outside, Big Ed’s might look like a bar, but inside is a small diner that for nearly 40 years has bred epic conversations and lasting friendships among U students, professors, staff and alumni.

The owner, Linda Lin, bought Big Ed’s from “Big Ed” himself 26 years ago.

“Everyone calls me ‘Mom’,” she said. Indeed, as people stream in and out, there are frequent calls of “Hi, Mom!” or “See you later, Mom” and “Hey, Mom-can I get another side of butter?”

The feeling of camaraderie is everywhere as people talk and laugh in every corner of the dining room. Every so often, Lin joins a conversation by yelling from the kitchen-she does all the cooking.

“It’s a very liberal place,” said Joe Zhang, a junior in business. “You can talk about whatever you want.”

Tommy Mortensen, a senior in anthropology, said he’s been a regular customer since his freshman year.

“It’s like another dimension,” he said. “I don’t know how to elaborate on that. You don’t really know unless you come here. It’s a different kind of place-and they have breakfast for under $5.”

Waitress Nicole Broadhead described Big Ed’s as the “Twilight Zone.”

“I love it. I really do,” she said. “When you’re in here, it’s like you don’t exist.”

Lin said she bought Big Ed’s in 1980 because she had wanted to open a restaurant.

“(My husband and I) asked a realtor, and this place was for sale,” she said. “The first one we saw, we bought. When I was young, I was a waitress, and my mom owned a restaurant in Taiwan. So I know restaurants.”

When Lin isn’t cooking, she sits in the dining room or works behind the counter while talking to customers.

One regular, Carmen Daddow, brought in her 1-month-old son, Dorian, to show Lin. As Lin dried dishes behind the counter, Daddow said, “He’s looking at you, Mom! Did you see that?”

“This place is very friendly,” Lin said. “We’ve had people meet here and get married. They still come here.”

Big Ed’s is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They serve standard diner fare such as burgers, fries, soup and salads.

They are also well known for their breakfast items, including the famous Gawd Awful, which contains hash browns, eggs, chili, cheese and sour cream. Plates range from $2.55 to $7.75.

Christopher Peddecord

Located near campus on University Street, Big Ed’s draws groups of students to enjoy its diverse menu.

Christopher Peddecord

International student Anton Burtsev of Ukraine, sophomore in computer science, enjoys a burger at Big Ed’s Monday afternoon.