HOWARD COUNTY — At a time when businesses are struggling all across the country, two restaurant owners decided to open a new one.
John Kanellopoulos, owner of By the Docks in Middle River, and Spiros Korologes, owner of 510 Johnnys in Bel Air, came together to open the EC Diner.
"We combine what I do great what he does great and make this diner great," said Kanellopoulos. "I brought my seafood, my jumbo lump crab cakes. He's brough wings, classic burgers. He's bringing music"
They bought the diner after the Double T Diner shutdown before the pandemic. It's been open since the 90s.
"I couldn’t see a local landmark go," said Kanellopoulos.
Korologes added, "I couldn’t see a diner leave from this community. I grew up here."
They've had their fair share of challenges, especially when it came to hiring a full staff.
"Unemployment was a big issue. It was the first time ever, in how many years we've been in business, that we couldn’t find people to work. Nobody wanted to come out," Kanellopoulos explained. "July, August was very difficult. We're working in the kitchen. We're working in the lines. We had family coming in because people didn't want to come to work so our biggest thing was finding people to work."
Since then, their kitchen has been busy. They have a full case of amazing desserts. You see it right when you walk in the door.
"My favoite is the brownie bottom cheesecake. Oh, chocolate peanut butter moose. I can't keep up with our baker. He's coming up with new recipes every week," said Korologos.
They're staple, crazy milkshakes! It's a shake with an entire piece of cake on top!
They're serving people inside at 25 percent capacity and even created an outdoor venue.
It's not the best time to open a restaurant but the owners knew they had to keep a diner in this community.
"We're gambling and saying by next year this time were gonna be back to normal. Everyone's gonna have their lives back to normal. We're investing in the future not today," said Kanellopoulos.