Birth of a Concept
In 1988, Silver Diner co-founders Robert Giaimo and Chef Ype Von Hengst sought to establish an American family cuisine restaurant that bridged the gap between fast food chains and tablecloth restaurants. After touring the country visiting the best diner-styled restaurants, Giaimo and Von Hengst opened the original Silver Diner in Rockville, MD.
Giaimo grew up going to diners, which had always occupied a special place in his heart. With a lifelong passion and interest in diners serving as the ‘neighborhood gathering place’, Giaimo and Von Hengst spent a year visiting more than 500 diner-styled restaurants in small towns and large cities across the country. Their objective was to better understand how the classic American diner had been successful for more than 100 years.
Giaimo and Von Hengst knew that the unique roadside architecture and generous helpings of home-styled food had always been part of the widespread appeal of diners. They understood there was something special about diners - uniquely American, democratic institutions where the very look of the building on the outside – a shiny beacon, invites people in for diverse fare, including everything from homemade pie to a Bison burger. Giaimo and Von Hengst sought to recreate that authenticity.
In 1989, Giaimo and Von Hengst opened the original Silver Diner in Rockville, Maryland. In November of 2010, the flagship location was rebuilt, and now boasts annual sales of $7 million and remains one of the busiest restaurants of its sizes in the United States. It is the largest chain of diners in America with the highest average sales per store of its kind.
From 1990 to 1997, Silver Diner established nine more locations in Maryland, Virginia, and New Jersey. Contributing to the growth was the quickly established reputation as a family gathering place, making Silver Diner the preferred spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. From Blueplate Specials to specialty shakes, the menu was filled with Authentic American Classics and modern tastes.
Silver Diner Development, Inc. now operates 15 restaurants in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States with locations in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and employs more than 1,100 people. In 2007, Silver Diner established its first airport location with the opening of its restaurant in the AIRMALL® at Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport. The Silver Diner Airport at BWI includes a broad and diverse entrée selection featuring American classics, all-day breakfast, a classic American retro bar, and take-out options designed to cater to the airline passenger on the fly.
The Next Generation
With 20 years passed since opening the original location in Rockville, Silver Diner transformed the diner your grandfather knew into a diner for the next generation of guests. By listening to what our guests had to say, the all-new Fresh & Local menu was developed using ingredients from local sources wherever possible and offering healthier options to meet today’s lifestyles. A concept re-born, Silver Diner has positioned itself as the premier destination for families seeking high quality menu options in a friendly diner atmosphere.
In 2010, Giaimo and Von Hengst saw that guests were no longer seeking traditional comfort food. Guests were longing for high-quality, locally sourced options without losing the menu variety of a traditional diner. Chef Ype set out to reinvent the menu by sticking to the basics he learned as a young child: creating flavorful simple dishes using the freshest, local ingredients available.
Today, the Fresh & Local menu uses fresh products from over 15 local producers and offers vegetarian, gluten-free, and low- calorie options. The kids menu has 20 healthier meals and sides that meet strict dietary guidelines set by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program. Of course, classic diner options can still be found on the menu, but with a twist: pancakes using unbleached flour, burgers made from antibiotic and hormone-free beef, milkshakes prepared with milk from local farms, and much more.
At Silver Diner, providing guests with local products and healthier options is an ongoing journey, not a destination. We believe and live this everyday:
We Buy Fresh and Local, You Eat Well!