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Eats and Drinks

Best Diner

Rallo's Restaurant

838 E. Fort Ave., (410) 727-7067

Posted 9/13/2000

Diners are about good, cheap food for the people. A place where you can get a cup of coffee and a cup of gossip at the counter before your day's labors; where you can lunch on a hamburger and fries for less than five bucks and make it back to work with time to spare; where you can get a nice plate of spaghetti or a respectable crab cake as the sun sets; where you can take over a booth with your friends and nurse a plate of gravy fries for hours. There have been a lot of diners springing up around Baltimore in recent years that emphasize form over function: They have the retro-diner look right, but their prices are sky-high, their vibe chilly and not conducive to community. Rallo's gets it right. Housed in a handsome rowhouse on the border between two blue-collar-but-listing-upscale neighborhoods (South Baltimore and Locust Point), Rallo's has been dishing out hearty, inexpensive fare for 59 years. The service is swift and solicitous, the menu both vast and very regional (try the cod cakes), the tables and booths always full of moms with kids, working people on break, and retirees laughing over coffee. One quibble: Rallo's doesn't give as much attention to dessert as to the rest of its menu; some homemade pies would be welcome. But you can still have a seat at the counter and get a burger with everything--including some zingy hot peppers--for nearly the same price as a latte uptown.

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Other Awards for Best Diner:

Broadway Diner, 9/16/2009

Broadway Diner, 9/17/2008

Forest Diner, 9/19/2007

Happy Day Diner, 9/20/2006

Holiday Restaurant, 9/21/2005

Overlea Diner, 9/22/2004

Sip and Bite, 9/17/2003

Sip and Bite, 9/18/2002

Boulevard Diner, 9/19/2001

Star Light Diner, 9/15/1999

Star Light Diner, 9/17/1997

Double T, 9/18/1996

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