Mockingbird Diner in Dallas, Texas, is turning into a cafeteria in March 2019.

Mockingbird Diner in Dallas, Texas, is turning into a cafeteria in March 2019.

Lawrence Jenkins/Special Contributor

Mockingbird Diner, a breakfast-lunch-dinner place near Love Field Airport, is letting its servers go. Starting on Tuesday, Mockingbird Diner will be a cafeteria-style restaurant, where customers will walk down the line with a tray.

"We'll have some pushback from people; we know we will," says owner Jack Perkins. But he hopes that the new format will feed customers faster.

The Mockingburger and Tots is a popular selection on the menu.

The Mockingburger and Tots is a popular selection on the menu.

Lawrence Jenkins/Special Contributor

"With this, you could be eating in 5 minutes," he says.

It also solves another problem, Perkins says: "We just can't find good servers."

Mockingbird Diner has been open since December 2017, and Perkins says staffing has always been an issue. "We haven't had a stable waitstaff for more than a couple of weeks for the entire time we've been open," he says. He doesn't have the same trouble at his other restaurant, Maple & Motor, because it's an order-at-the-counter burger joint.

Mockingbird Diner will continue to sell "meat and three," a popular menu format for Southern restaurants where diners choose a protein and three side items, like mac and cheese, glazed carrots, green beans and the like.

The restaurant's cafeteria line will be a little similar to, say, Luby's. Perkins says he was inspired by Arnold's Country Kitchen in Nashville, where customers grab a tray and get in line.

Mockingbird Diner will close after service on Friday and remain closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Perkins says. He plans to reopen the new cafeteria-style restaurant on Tuesday, March 12, at 7 a.m.

Mockingbird Diner is located at 3130 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas.

Mockingbird Diner is going to keep the same menu and turn into a cafeteria instead of a restaurant with servers.

Mockingbird Diner is going to keep the same menu and turn into a cafeteria instead of a restaurant with servers.

Lawrence Jenkins/Special Contributor
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