Ma Fischer's opened at its current location, 2214 N. Farwell Ave., as Fischer Sandwiches in 1932. In 1975, George Panos bought the business and today, the iconic East Side diner is owned and operated by his son, Peter Panos.
And after almost 90 years of business, for the first time ever, Ma's has a patio.
"This is something I always wanted," says Panos. "COVID actually pushed me to finally do it."
Although Ma's has had a liquor license for decades, very little alcohol was actually served. This, too, has very recently changed and the eatery now serves beer, wine and spirits.
"We had Bloodies and mimosas on the weekends, otherwise it was mostly people drinking coffee," says Panos.
The new patio, which is located on the south side of the building in what was formerly a portion of the parking lot, safely seats 15 people.
"Most of my customers are taking COVID very seriously, and so are we," says Panos. "Both on the patio and inside the restaurant."
Throughout the summer, thanks to a new program called the Active Streets for Business and the support of the East Side BID, a variety of East Side venues expanded with patio dining, sidewalk cafes and parklets.
Ma Fischer's is also known as a place to go at bar-time. However, due to the pandemic, Ma Fischer's is not currently open third shift. This is unprecedented for the beacon of drunk eats, and something that will change again in the future.
For now, hours at Ma's – including the patio – are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Soon, the hours will expand to 11:30 p.m. and eventually Ma's will be a 24-hour spot again.
"Our customers have been great through all of this," says Panos. "Times are tough for a lot of restaurants, but even with all the restrictions, we've been pretty happy."
For OnMilwaukee's complete guide for outdoor dining, go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.