After a months-long hiatus, the city-owned Hollywood Diner has reopened under new operators.
Formerly known as the The Hollywood Diner presents Thomasino's, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays, and on Sunday mornings during the Baltimore Farmers' Market. The breakfast menu includes omelets, pancakes and platters. The lunch line-up features panini, sandwiches, pastas and wings.
Late last year, the city terminated its lease with the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, the nonprofit organization that ran the diner since 1991. In July, the city announced that it had selected the bid of Thomasino's Pizza Subs & Pasta, LLC, owned by Richard T. White.
White said he plans to use the diner in the evening for special events like spoken word and poetry gatherings. There are plans, too, for outdoor seating and movie nights.
The diner, which was built on New York's Long Island, gained cinematic fame as the principal setting for Levinson's 1982 ensemble movie about a group of Baltimore guys on the verge of adulthood. The building was subsequently used as a set in other movies filmed in Baltimore and by Levinson again for scenes in "Tin Men" and "Liberty Heights."
The diner was purchased in 1982 by WBAL radio for $34,000 and donated to the city. Its remodeling was financed with nearly $1 million in cash raised by private donations.
Funded entirely by private donations and opened to great fanfare in 1984 as the Kids' Diner, the restaurant was originally run by the city schools and the mayor's office as a job-training program for youths. It was leased to the youth center beginning in 1991. The nonprofit ran the restaurant until 2009, when it began working with a series of outsider operators, none of whom succeeded.
The Hollywood Diner is at 400 E. Saratoga St. For information call 443-872-4370.
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