Showtime picks local diner as backdrop for new series filming in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Hollywood was in town this week. Showtime is filming a series, and they picked local diner, Don’s Diner, to be part of it.

Channel 11 News’ exchange partners at Trib Live said that the series will star veteran actor Jeff Daniels.

“It is amazing how they transform it. The size of this place doesn’t matter. When you see it on TV it looks 10 times bigger. I love it!” said Marcie Kemmler, owner of Don’s Diner.

The diner in the Woods Run neighborhood of Pittsburgh is marking its 25th anniversary this year with its 10th production. Owner Marcie Kemmler says the following movies/shows were filmed there over the years:

  • Warrior
  • Bridge to Nowhere
  • 12/24
  • American Pastoral
  • Mindhunter
  • Next Three Days
  • Justified

There was also a Lifetime movie, a music video, and a college documentary. It all started in 2009 when the first movie, Warrior, was filmed there.

“Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy were so amazing, down to earth,” said Kemmler.

Also, a movie shoot set to close a stretch of a road in Ross Township on April 23.

So how did Hollywood find Don’s Diner?

“A scout from the South Side had come in and said ‘you’re on the list. We wanted to look. You’re the perfect location,’” said Kemmler. “They loved the structure, they loved the bridges, the trains, the lots where they can set up their stuff.”

The Showtime production crew set up the diner for their liking a few months ago and filmed this week. Kemmler says it’s for a new series that’s set to air this fall called American Rust. It’s set in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

She takes good care of the productions who choose her, because she says they take good care of her: one added a window, another added new countertops, and the most recent replaced some lights and a doorknob.

On filming day Kemmler says it’s organized chaos.

“You see the people, here, there, on the walkie-talkie, cameras,” Kemmler said. “And everything is like done, boom, boom, boom.”

She thinks the whirlwind day will resonate with audiences for years to come.

“It’s really going to help us when people see us on the screen. People will say, ‘Oh I want to go there. I know where that’s at.’”

It is just Marcie and her stepdad running Don’s Diner; they haven’t been able to afford paying anyone else during the pandemic. Because of state restrictions, they’ve only been able to have six people inside at a time and many of them are their regulars.

“I can’t thank them enough for always sticking with us through these rough times and I really appreciate everybody,” said Kemmler.