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Charles Carroll

Shuttered Forest Diner in search of a home

Shuttered Forest Diner in search of a home

They peeled the facade off the old Forest Diner on U.S. 40 in Ellicott City, revealing an American classic. Stainless steel, glass, and compact as a caboose, the restaurant's original core from about 1950 sits in a vacant dirt-and-gravel lot behind a chain-link fence.

"I wish it was gone because it looks so sad sitting there," says Barbara Carroll, who worked at the diner as a waitress, then hostess, for 43 years — from 1969 to the end of May, when the last meal was served.

Now, from her spot at the hostess stand at Jilly's Bar & Grill across Baltimore National Pike, she cannot see the place, but she can recount the details from memory:...