ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)—Tears and hugs were on the menu Monday at a Howard County landmark. After more than six decades, the Forest Diner on Route 40 is closing.
Ron Matz reports on an emotional day for a place that always considered customers their family.
For 66 years Forest Diner meant great food, good friends and a hot cup of Joe.
Now the diner is closing. Customers crowded in for one final meal.
“I’m going to miss it. It’s been so nice every time we come here. It’s like family. As soon as you walk in they know you right away,” said Dorothea Cox, of Arbutus.
Waitress Ellen Jackson has been here 19 years.
“It’s starting to hit me now. I knew it was going to happen. This is my family. I think I’m gonna make it. I have to. I’m hoping they’ll all come across the street. That’s what I’m waiting for,” Jackson said.
At this beloved Ellicott City landmark every customer has a story.
“It’s a little sad. It’s the end of an institution. I’ve been coming here 25 years. There’s a lot of history and our kids came here,” said Bruce Peen, a customer from Ellicott City.
Forest Diner employees will not lose their jobs. They’ll move across the street to Jilly’s, where the menu will be the same.
“I’m trying to be brave,” said Barbara Carroll, an employee for 43 years. “It’s like losing part of the family. This is my second home. I have so many customers that I love who are like family to me.”
That family came out in force Monday for the food and the memories.
“It’s very sad. It’s the end of an era. I’ve been here for 15 years. It’s been great. It’s like a family, and the people who are all grown up now are bringing their children,” said Mary Harrell, Forest Diner employee.
The brothers who own the Forest Diner will create retail space and 38 apartments on the property.