Although no hot meals have been served at the Calaveras Senior Center by the Area 12 Agency on Aging crew since last Wednesday, older folks can still find breakfast and lunch in town.

The Station 49 Diner on Highway 49, not more than a couple of miles from the senior center, began offering a senior-nutrition-program menu yesterday morning.

"The Area 12 people approached me," diner owner Mel Schell said. "I didn't have any reason to say 'no.' We'll see how it goes."

The first person to take advantage of the new restaurant-based program in San Andreas was Ron Miller, 70, of Mountain Ranch. He made sure he was at the diner when doors opened at 6 a.m.

He had stopped by the senior center over the weekend and heard from Area 12 officials busy moving kitchen equipment out that he could get a $2.50 breakfast or lunch at the diner.

"I had an omelette, and it was really good," Miller said.

He made copies of the diner's senior nutrition menu and shared them with people at the senior center during a meeting yesterday.

"I wanted to go and try the breakfast out. I was genuinely pleased," Miller said. He particularly liked the idea of going to breakfast or lunch at an hour he chooses.

"The flex hours work well you don't have to be there right at noon," he said.

The diner's senior nutrition menu includes breakfasts such as eggs with sausage or bacon, omelettes, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and more, and the lunch menu offers cold and hot sandwiches, mashed potatoes, fruit salad and french fries.

Station 49 Diner is the second restaurant in the county to participate in the program. The other is in West Point.

The restaurant meals have become more important in the past couple weeks, because Area 12 no longer prepares meals from the senior center.

Area 12 removed its kitchen equipment from the center last week because it has been losing $6,000 a month on the senior nutrition program and could not afford $1,000-a-month rent to the center.