The coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for the restaurant industry.
However one Ellicott City diner is being revived. The Double T Diner location in Ellicott City, which was sold to local restaurateurs John Kanellopoulos and Spiros Korologos in March in the midst of state-mandated restaurant closures that month, reopened last week under a new name — EC Diner.
“This is a gamble we’re taking, but we love the food business, the people and the town,” said Kanellopoulos, who also owns By the Docks in Middle River. “This is a great location, and Ellicott City is a great town. As a resident, this is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
The Double T Diner chain has operated locations in the Baltimore area since 1959. The Ellicott City location opened in 1998. Double T locations are still operating in Annapolis, Bel Air, Catonsville, Pasadena, Perry Hall and White Marsh.
Kanellopoulos said EC Diner’s start on July 13 was a “soft opening.” The restaurant will hold a grand opening in about a month, he said.
While opening during the pandemic was “difficult,” Kanellopoulos said, it shows how excited he and Korologos, who also owns 510 Johnnys in Bel Air, are to be in Ellicott City.
“This may be the worst time to open up a restaurant. No one is opening up, but here we are opening up,” he said. “We’re taking all the safety precautions with social distancing and mask wearing. But this will all be over at some point. Life and business will get back to normal.”
Kanellopoulos said once it was rumored that Chick-fil-A or Wawa were interested in purchasing the location, he was disappointed at the thought of a local diner dying.
“Every town from New York down the east coast has a diner that families can call home,” he said. “It was a shame to see this spot not be around, and that’s why we went with the name ‘EC’ for Ellicott City. There’s nothing like using the name of the town.”
During the pandemic, the restaurateurs worked on remaking the inside of the diner. The building’s facade still looks like the old Double T, but the inside has been modernized.
Kanellopoulos said he hopes customers like the changes while also enjoying what hasn’t left the diner — an in-house bakery, a large menu and a local feel.
“All the favorites will still be here, and we’re bringing some other stuff in. The crab cakes from By the Docks will be the best in Howard County,” he said. “It will have that diner feel, where you come to get good food, good portions and great prices.”