Howard County Times
Howard County

Lunch at La Palapa and other signs of a comeback [Mostly Main Street]

It really is true—it’s one thing to see the photos, but quite another to see it for yourself.

My husband Tom and I ventured past Rogers Avenue and down Main Street recently for the first time since the flood. While we abhor ‘disaster tourists,’ we didn’t feel like we fit in that category as we had a purpose—lunch at La Palapa.


To get there we drove past the chasm that was Ellicott Mills Drive. The size of that trench is amazing, and I know the county is diligently studying the situation so they can make intelligent repairs that take care of the road and protect important landmarks like the Thomas Isaac Log Cabin just east.

If they decide to move the log cabin and rebuild the tiny old courthouse building elsewhere, it’s really okay—they got moved from their original locations to these spots decades ago and they can carefully be moved again.


Anyway, we traveled past the roll-off containers, heavy equipment and industrious workers and parked in the lot in front of La Palapa.

All around us people continued the hard work of restoration. I don’t know how many original businesses will return, but I do know that businesses will return. They always do.

La Palapa’s staff greeted us warmly, and we were glad that plenty of tables were taken. To add to the festive atmosphere, two guitarists roamed the dining room, strumming and singing familiar Mexican songs—you know, the ones we can all sing along to even if we don’t know what the words mean.

This visit to town made us hungry for the burgers at The Phoenix, the pate at Tersiguel’s and the popcorn at E.C. Pops. Hope they come back soon. In the meantime, check out the taco salad bowl at La Palapa. You won’t be sorry.

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I am so happy that our national treasure—really—the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City Station, has reopened with limited hours. It is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

It will continue with these hours until Main Street is reopened. Admission is free.

On July 12, a program originally scheduled for the station, “Colorful Characters of Ellicott City,” will be presented at the Museum of Howard County History, 8328 Court Ave., starting at 7 p.m. For tickets go to

Also at the museum, the second Saturday of each month brings Movies at the Museum, featuring the works of local legend Lee Doll. The next presentation, “Power of Balance: Tales of the Fixer” will be on July 14, starting at 8 p.m. Admission is free.


And on July 21, at 8 p.m. the museum will offer a concert featuring Willie Poole and the Durham Station Bluegrass Band. Tickets are $10, free for Historical Society members with a reservation. To reserve call 410-480-3250.

If you missed the “Paint It Ellicott City Plein Air Event” held last weekend, you can still see the results at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, through Aug. 17. The gallery is open daily. For more information call 410-313-2787.

Don’t forget to patronize the Old Town Farmers Market, currently being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the grounds of Mt. Ida. There is plenty of free parking at the court house next door, and a group of Main Street merchants are participating, along with the usual farmers and craftsmen. The last time we were there, we scored some of the best blueberries I have ever tasted. We used some for our Fourth of July dessert—along with strawberry cake and vanilla ice cream we had a very patriotic dish.