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Big Matty’s Diner fills gap left by Rallo’s closing

When the small diner at 838 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point — the legendary Rallo’s — closed in September, many regulars were doubly bereft. They mourned the death of personable owner Vincent Rallo, from lung cancer on July 7, followed by the shut down in September. Enter Matthew Gurczynski. A devotee of Rallo’s, he stepped up and opened Big Matty’s Diner opened this fall and rehired all of Rallo’s cooks and waitresses for what has to be the comeback of the year on the South Baltimore peninsula. The small, homey dining room with its black and white checkerboard floor, lunch counter, booths and tables for four is once again open for business at 7 a.m., serving eggs, home fries and toast followed by soups, sandwiches and platters of meatloaf and crab cakes for lunch. The diner has been a fixture in Locust Point for nearly 100 years. Vince’s father opened the original Rallo’s near Ft. McHenry in 1920. In 1962, the diner moved up to Fort Avenue. The same group of 25 regulars comes in each morning for breakfast. They include developers Patrick Turner and Bill Struever as well as City Councilman William H. Cole IV. Employees of Phillips Seafood’s “world headquarters” offices, located across the street, are also known to partake of the good, solid grub here. ***** The Baltimore Development Corp. is seeking a developer for three properties at Charles Street and North Avenue, including the old Parkway Theatre, which is patterned after London’s famed West End Theatre in Leicester Square.

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