Silver Diner celebrates 20th Anniversary

Silver Diner, photo circa 1992 by Larry Cultrera

The Silver Diner opened their flagship restaurant 20 years ago on the Rockville Turnpike in Rockville, Maryland. This was the beginning of a chain that currently numbers 16 outlets in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. The original diner shown above is the only one built in a factory while all others were either built on-site as freestanding buildings or at Mall locations.

Built by Kullman Industries in design collaboration with Richard J.S. Gutman and Charles Morris Mount, this diner lead the way in the retro-diner movement that developed subsequent to its completion. in 1989.

It was announced in the news within the last couple of days that the chain is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new expanded menu as well as a brand-new 10,000 square foot diner that will replace the 1989 flagship as the headquarters. Here is the text from the Business Wire story….

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After 20 years of continued growth, Silver Diner is responding to evolving consumer tastes by refreshing its brand of diners. In June, the company will roll out an expanded menu with healthier choices, 20 new “Blueplate” value meals, updated jukebox selections and a fresh look for wait staff.

Silver Diner also announced plans to open its largest restaurant in 2010 as it relocates from its flagship Rockville Pike location to a new site in Federal Plaza a quarter mile down the road. The new $4.5 million, 10,000-square-foot location will allow for expanded seating capacity, a newly-designed kitchen and advanced technology to serve its growing customer base. It will also become the company’s new corporate headquarters.

“From the boxcar to their current form, diners have always evolved to changing consumer needs and tastes,” said Robert Giamo, CEO and co-founder of Silver Diner. “In this economy, people are yearning for authentic comfort foods they know are a great value. At the same time, they also want healthier options for an on-the-go lifestyle. We are mixing the best of the old and new to ensure our brand remains timeless for a new generation of diners.”

As a thank you to its customers, and a throw back to the original diner days, Silver Diner will commemorate its 20th anniversary by offering cups of coffee for 20¢ on Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7. Proceeds from every cup of coffee sold will benefit Share our Strength, a non-profit organization that helps feed underprivileged children.

Silver Diner will kick off its 20th anniversary celebration on June 5, 2009, by rolling out its biggest menu ever. Twenty new “Blueplates” will feature classic favorites and healthier, contemporary choices, all at modest prices. With Breakfast Blueplates starting at $3.99, and Lunch and Dinner Blueplates at $5.99 and $8.99, Silver Diner’s menu will feature 95 items for under $10.

The new, healthier menu selections include Grilled Wasabi Salmon and Aloha Veggie Sliders, Mega Life Salad with Hummus, Grilled Flounder, Cajun Mahi-Mahi and Asian Skewered Chicken. Other new options offered are the Avocado Bacon Burger, Pesto Turkey Sliders and Bar Harbor Fish and Chips ― complementing Silver Diner’s popular selection of “Authentic American Classics” such as Big Bowl Chicken Pot Pie and “Major” Meatloaf.

“We spent a year traveling the country and examining emerging consumer and food trends ― like healthier comfort foods, lighter sauces, portion size options and fresher ingredients ― to create exciting new choices,” explains Ype Von Hengst, co-founder and Executive Chef. “Our new menu meets the changing tastes of our current guests, and is designed to attract a new generation of diner-lovers.”

Silver Diner hasn’t forgotten its littlest customers either, adding six new healthy kids’ meals, including Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Strips, Grilled Salmon, Barbeque Turkey Sliders and Flatbread Pizza. With 20 items, it will be one of the largest kids’ menus available at any restaurant.

Many other Silver Diner traditions have also been refreshed, including its famous shakes and floats. There is the new Acai Pomegranate Shake – for the health conscious – and the Peanut Butter Heath Bar Shake for everyone else.

Silver Diner is also responding to the wishes of its customers for a more diverse music selection by updating its tabletop jukeboxes with the best sounds of the 70’s and 80’s. The restaurant is giving all of its servers a mini-makeover as well, with new, retro-style uniforms.

In 1989, the original, iconic Silver Diner opened on Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland and was an overnight sensation. Today, it is among the busiest restaurants of its size in America, serving more than 10,000 customers weekly. Since then, Silver Diner has grown into one of the largest chains of diners in the country with 16 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.

The 20th anniversary comes on the heels of the opening of two new Silver Diner divisions. In November 2007, the company launched Silver Diner Airport at BWI Airport. The concept “took off” and is on target to generate more than $5-million in annual sales. Last month, Silver Diner opened the second of its METRO locations in Annapolis, Md. METRO is the “Next Generation Diner,” a fast-casual concept for today’s healthier on-the-go lifestyles.

The Silver Diner family of 19 restaurants generates more than $50-million in sales and employs more than 1,500 people. For more information and a complete directory of locations, visit

My question is, what is going to happen with this original diner?

2 thoughts on “Silver Diner celebrates 20th Anniversary

  1. Yikes! I hope they don’t just tear it down. It’s a neat place, one of the few “new” diners I like, and an important one in terms of setting the tone of things to come. I’ll run down that way within the week to get some pictures of it.

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