Church stages protest at Catonsville's Double T Diner

August 16, 2010|By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun

A church's protest Sunday at the Double T Diner in Catonsville ended with the restaurant's owner offering an apology and free meals to the dozens of people who came to express their concerns.

In a nod to protest strategies during the civil rights era, about 100 members of Bethany Baptist Church of Baltimore arrived around lunchtime, prepared to pay their tabs with pennies and hoped to draw attention to the experience of 10 female members of their congregation during a July 31 visit to the restaurant.

Those patrons, ranging in age from 11 to 75, said their breakfast that day was interrupted by several men at a nearby table who repeatedly and loudly used profanity. The women claimed in a police report that two diner managers did little or nothing to stop it.

The group of women paid their $109 tab. They claimed that their requests for an apology and refund — both then and a day later — were met with insults and refusals by management staff.

On Sunday, diner managers called police after some protesters attempted to hand out fliers critical of the restaurant but no one was charged or arrested.

When owner Ioannis "John" Korologos arrived from his church, he met with the church's pastor, Rev. Therm James. Korologos said he had been out of the country during the July 31 incident and only learned of it late last week.

When the meeting ended, both sides said they were satisfied. The protesters received a free lunch and the $109 bill was refunded. In addition, the women involved in the July 31 incident received a gift certificate and Korologos made a donation to the church and apologized, the pastor said.

"You take action, you get results," James said. "Really, this could have been avoided when we came the first time for $109 and a written apology."

Korologos said he's never had an incident such as the one alleged by the church group in his nearly 25 years of running the restaurant. He added, "They're happy, and I'm happy because they're happy."

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