A diner has been open at 838 E. Fort Ave. since 1941, originally as Rallo’s, named after the late Vincent Rallo, and more recently as Big Matty’s Diner. However, that will be changing this spring. Brothers Nick and Steve Karvounis, owners of Big Matty’s for the last year and a half, were looking to revamp the diner as parts of the restaurant needed significant improvements, but after a meeting with their landlord, they got the impression a different direction was eyed for the corner property.
“It was getting old and beat up. We wanted to stay, but didn’t see it in the cards,” said Nick Karvounis.
After a positive meeting with their landlord, a buyout was negotiated on their lease, which opened up a new opportunity for the brothers. They will now be moving across the street to Suite 24 at Southside Marketplace, located between Pet Valu and H&R Block, and opening a new diner called Southside Diner.
“We’re using the money from the buyout to open the new restaurant. We’ll have about 300 extra square feet and everything will be brand-spanking new, other than a couple of televisions. The decision to move across the street seemed like a no-brainer and we are really excited,” said Nick Karvounis.
The brothers are hoping to open Southside Diner on June 1st and they have some big changes in store. Big Matty’s is open from 6am-3pm, but Southside Diner will stay open until 8:30pm on Monday through Saturday and will likely close around 3pm-4pm on Sundays. They will be adding new items to the menu to go along with their current favorites including steaks, chops, seafood, Greek dishes and more. The new diner will feature outdoor seating and they are hoping to eventually get a beer/wine license.
Nick and Steve Karvounis have been in the breakfast and diner industry around Baltimore for most of their lives, and they couldn’t be more pleased to be in the South Baltimore community. “I’ve never seen another community like this. Everyone is so nice and courteous, it’s awesome,” said Nick Karvounis.
Construction on Southside Diner is scheduled to begin in about a week.