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The last days of the Hollywood Diner

The Hollywood is an empty tin can diner in Baltimore, under I-83 at the southwest corner of the farmer’s market. I’m guessing that it most recently shuttered in 2017, having closed and moved several times over the years. Long ago, it provided a memorable setting for several scenes of the movie “Diner.” I snipped it from the downtown Baltimore landscape and moved it to an open field in Santa Ynez, CA, and filled it with people from Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. I hope it’s doing well.

Every day, a world-weary waitress with her hair piled into a bun, serves the best coffee you can get and keeps your cup filled to the brim. People meet there, make their plans, forge relationships, start ventures, say goodbyes, and fall in love. No one falls out of love at the Hollywood Diner. It’s never happened and it never will. Once, a couple tried to break up in the corner booth, but the bearclaw pastry and the hash browns convinced them that it was best, perhaps, to give it another go. On a snowy winter day in someone’s memory, twins were conceived in the other corner booth.

The owners are a mysterious bunch. Is it an old married couple, he a veteran of some foreign war, she a correspondent who still posts anonymously? Or is it a consortium composed of American, Japanese, and Brazilian interests, a partnership forged in the interest of money laundering? Or is it a publicly held trust? It’s hard to tell. The staff are rumored to be paid in their choice of cannabis greenhouse shares, crypto, or exotic conscientiously-sourced chocolate, though most enjoy the work so much they’d do it for free. That’s what they say.

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