The Building Behind the Name

The building where Nora’s is now established was once A.C. Nickel’s Tin Smith and Hardware Store.  The back of the store turned tin for duct work in heating/cooling applications while the front sold items ranging from fishing hooks to chinaware. 

The building’s first incarnation as a restaurant was George’s Coffee House.  Originally located next door, George purchased the AC Nickel building when AC retired.

When it opened, the restaurant featured walls adorned with tapestries, comfort foods, hot coffee and cigar/cigarette/pipe smoking was welcomed.

George’s Coffee House, 1960’s
George’s Coffee House menu cover

The building has been a restaurant since that day, under different proprietors.  To name a few in succession before becoming Nora’s Diner:

JT’s Coffee House, Annie’s Cafe, Audrey’s and Punky’s Place.

The store was named after its owner, Anton Nickel, born in 1899 and passed away in 1967, still living in Gretna.  He served as Mayor in Gretna for one term, 1946 - 1953, and once lived at 554 Berlin Avenue here in Gretna.  The house, like this building, still stands today.

Some interesting trivia on AC Nickel Hardware Store: Nora’s Head Chef Jeff Dyck’s uncle Menno Hruda once worked for AC Nickel, helping with the duct work manufacturing, then eventually in 1956 became a business owner himself with a plumbing service.

In 2007, Red Seal Journeyman Chef Jeff Dyck and his wife Kathy moved back to Jeff’s home town of Gretna and noticed the local restaurant for sale.  It would be 2 years before a deal was finalized and Jeff and Kathy have been constantly investing in restoring the eighty-plus year old structure.

Dining Area, BEFORE

Dining Area, AFTER

Kitchen Area, BEFORE

Kitchen Area, AFTER

Chef Jeff tears it up
Kathy pulls a nail

Dave & Mike from K-Team Electrical (Gretna)

Bernie Penner from Blow-Out Fire & Safety (Plum Coulee)

Installers from Foremost Floors (Altona)

Doug and Adam from Doug’s Plumbing (Gretna)

Friends John Isaak and Jerry Friesen were a very big help in the Kitchen... although their wives may say different!

Now that some of “the big stuff” is out of the way, we continue with revitalizing.  We are always changing for a better way to do what we do, whether it be work station layouts, interior design, customer service or menu items.

This page is a very big thank you to friends who participated and companies that were contracted in the revitalization that has now become

Nora’s Diner!


Companies not photographed in action were equally important in the revitalization process.  They were/are Pratt’s Wholesale for the kitchen equipment, Russell Foods for the dishware, Superior Seamless Exteriors (Altona) for the new shingles, soffit, fascia and eavestroughs,  Robert Loewen for the new front deck installation, Co-0p Building Centre (Altona) for the composite decking and Quality Stone product, Sawatzky’s Furniture (Altona) for the dining room chairs,  Zack and his crew at Blumengart Colony for the custom stainless work, Pete’s Garbage and Recycling Service (Gretna) and John Wahl at Pembina Appliance (Gretna).

The building has a lot of history and we are very proud to have become a small part of it!

Restaurant frontage, BEFORE

Restaurant frontage, AFTER

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