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Hollywood Diner may close Friday – but maybe not

The famed Hollywood Diner — donated to the city of Baltimore after its use on the set of Barry Levinson’s 1982 movie “Diner” — may, again, be closing its doors to customers as soon as Friday.

But owner Cheryl Townsend, who is also the proprietor of the Red Springs Cafe and catering company (formerly on Calvert Street), said she’s not entirely sure they will be closing despite reports to the contrary.

“I haven’t made my final, final, final, final decision,” she said, sitting in a booth Thursday afternoon in the nearly-empty diner.

The catering side of her business will go on regardless of whether the diner stays a diner, she said.

When the Hollywood Diner reopened in March under Townsend, it was featured in “Sweat Equity,” a Daily Record series about small business start-ups. And, from the beginning, things seemed to be going great for the cafe, located on the corner of East Saratoga and Holiday streets.

The restaurant met sales projections every day in the first few weeks but business started to slow as summer set in. Townsend attributes it to her inability to properly market the diner to downtown lunchers and partly to Baltimore’s growing food truck business.

In one case, a truck parked on the street right next to the diner. The food trucks charge a little less, she said, but she never wanted to sacrifice quality by resorting to buying cheaper food.

Townsend said she expects to know whether or not she will keep the diner open in the coming days.

Watch the video about the Hollywood Diner from March, part of “Sweat Equity,” The Daily Record’s series about small business start-ups.

2 comments

  1. Her problem isn’t the food trucks, it’s the location. I’ve wanted to try her diner so many times, but I couldn’t figure out how to get to it or where to park once I’m there.

  2. Hey Cathy,

    Please come by and have lunch on me. Please call me so I can give you directions.