REVIEW: Double T – A Catonsville Classic from the 1950’s (2009/Feb)

diner_catonsville

The Catonsville “Double T” is a classic, original diner that’s first opened its doors in the late 50’s.   

“Back in the 1950’s, Thomas Doxanas along with his partner Tony, opened the first Double T restaurant that was named after the two T’s in their first names. Originally, Nick and Angelo Napolas managed the business which was sold in 1987 to John, Tom, and Louie Korologos. The brothers currently own and manage all eight locations with help from their family and partners.”  (Quoted From Double T home page)

Seemingly popular ever since it opened, there are always an amazing number of customer cars parked in front even in the middle of the night.   It’s gone thru a series of renovations and enhancements over the years and has now acquired the perfected, slightly up-scaled, polished chrome look of wannabe retro diners that have popped up around the area over the past 10 years or so. If you haven’t been here in awhile, you’ll find it that’s it significantly bigger than it used to be.  There’s a very large new foyer added to the front that provides space to queue up for a table at prime time dining hours and it looks  like office space has been added to a new second floor.  The booths in front still have the small coin operated juke boxes that fascinated me as a kid (and still tempt to read thru the pages to see what songs are available)

The menu is at least 10 BIG pages long and has a full gamut of breakfast, lunch and dinner options that are available at any time of the day depending on what you’re feeling like (i.e., a perfect place to satisfy your craving for a western omelet or pancakes at dinner time!)    If you don’t come in the door knowing what you want, reading through the menu can take you awhile.  One nice thing is that the specials of the day appear on little business card size pieces of cardboard in a special two-sided clear plastic page in the menu (while its great not to try to listen to a server rattle off that many specials, my mind boggles at the amount of effort required to update all the handwritten cards in all those menus).  Big as it is, the menu is not for everybody – you find a pizza to satisfy your craving, there are limited vegetarian options and only a side salad for the serious vegan.   You’ll find out quickly that there is a definite focus on value for the dining dollar here –there are a lot of “combo’s” on the menu that are bargains and a half!

A good example of the “bang for the buck” factor is the “Blackened Tuna” ($13.99) special that I ordered which came with 2 “sides”, a cup of soup, a side salad and bread and butter as well as choice of coffee or ice tea.  Our friendly efficient server made the choices easy – I opted for broccoli  and green beans for sides, Maryland-style crab soup, no-fat/low-cal Italian dressing for my salad (It was nice to have 5 different types of no-fat, low-cal dressings to pick from in addition to a dozen regular dressings), and an ice tea.  The food turned out to be surprisingly good – the crab soup was tasty but not too spicy and I could see real crab in the soup, the salad was fresh and crisp (the dressing came in pretty large foil packet but was right good too).  I was impressed by the main course – two large pieces of blackened tuna nicely positioned against a couple of large dark lettuce leaves, several stalks of broccoli (nicely done) and greek-style green beans in a tasty tomato sauce.  The tuna was really good (I ended up taking one of the slices home and enjoyed it for lunch the next day)    My friend ordered a Chicken Wrap ($8.99) which came with fries and a cup of soup (he opted for the Maryland Crab too!).  Even though his wrap was large, it was bursting with chicken and greens.  We both enjoyed the crab soup (and we both felt that it was better than the crab soup at Gunning’s in Odenton that we had tried the week before)

Double T has dessert temptations thru the wazoo but we were both full (and then some!) and passed on dessert.  (Hey, leaving a “doggie bag” is a common experience here!)  But there is a big glass display case of desserts on your way out near the cash register that are available for “take home”.  Service was traditionally from “Howdy, Hon” waitresses but now you’ll find younger women (and men!) as servers.  If you’re in the neighborhood and you’re in the mood for lots of good food at reasonable prices in a classic diner, you could find yourself becoming a regular!

FACTS?    Double T Diner – Catonsville; 6300 Baltimore National Pike, 410-744-4151, www.doubletdiner.com, Open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.  Full bar;  Vegetarian Options;  Breakfast served 24 hrs/day.    Located less than a mile west of Beltway/695 Exit 15, it’s open all-the-time schedule makes it a classic place for something to eat after a night on the town for folks on the west side.   Heads up:  a mandatory service fee/tip is included on all checks; No reservations accepted.  (Review originally published 2009/Feb)

Double T Diner on Urbanspoon

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