John Kanellopoulos knew he was taking a big risk opening his EC Diner in Ellicott City near Baltimore, but it paid off, with Howard Magazine readers picking it as a big favorite – along with Xenia Greek Kouzina in Columbia.
“This is a gamble we’re taking but we love the food business and the town,” he told the magazine. Readers dubbed the EC Diner a “Pandemic MVP,” in a nod to how it provided sustenance during the coronavirus crisis that closed many restaurants.
Taking over the former Double T Diner on Baltimore National Pike, Kanellopoulos and business partner Spiros Korologos kept the diner’s retro exterior while revamping the inside décor and menu.
Xenia got raves. Guests come from far away for an escape to Greece. “I love seeing people’s reactions when they walk through the front door,” said server Meredith BonGiorni. Blue glass accents and blue lights pay homage to Greece, while wavy glass installations overhead call to mind the sea. “It takes your breath away.”
“Everything we do, we try to do the best,” said bartender Kristina Markman, voted Best Bartender by the magazine’s readers.