The Hollywood Diner

400 E. Saratoga St., (410) 244-6806

The restaurant business is tough, we know, but maybe no place has been so cursed as this one. The Hollywood Diner, as it's been called in several of its incarnations, has incomparable history on its side: Barry Levinson had the boxy, retro-sleek diner hauled on a flatbed from a junkyard in New Jersey to Fells Point and shot Diner there in 1982. After shooting, it was moved to its current downtown location, where it spent several of the years since as a culinary academy for kids, in one format or another. It has, by our count, opened and closed seven different times in 30 years, but things have been in even crazier flux lately: It's been opened and closed three times, by three different operators, in the last three years. It's been vacant since March, but the city, which owns the property, has been sorting through a variety of new proposals from potential operators, so you'll probably get your annual visit sometime before spring.

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