When I think of diner food, the first thought that comes to my mind is greasy spoon, traditional diner food that’s great for comfort but not healthy, and that’s what I said to Robert Giaimo, Founder and President and CEO of Silver Diner, Inc. I have eaten at Silver Diner, but it’s been a while and it’s not a restaurant that comes to mind when thinking about a place to get a healthy meal. Happily, Giaimo and his partner Ype (Ee-pah) Von Hengst have set out to change that.
Silver Diner has not only changed their menu by adding healthy dishes, but they’ve switched to grass fed angus beef and hormone free all natural meats. They’ve added gluten-free dishes and 600 calorie entrees. They’re also buying local and getting farm fresh produce, milk, chicken, and eggs to the table within 48 hours. Their eggs now come from Martin Farms in Pennsylvania; milk comes from Kreider Farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; natural multigrain breads all come from local regional providers, and even the beer and wine come from local regional wineries and beer companies. Their coffee is Greenberry Coffee, which is roasted in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Bloggers from the DC Metro area had a chance to sample some of the new healthy dishes at a blogger event on May 13 at the Clarendon restaurant in Arlington. [Disclosure: The blogger event was hosted and paid for by Silver Diner and organized by Zcomm. The bloggers received a free buffet meal and gift baskets with coffee mugs, fresh local asparagus and strawberries, and Greenberry coffee. They also gave away a few prizes, though I didn’t win anything. The opinions expressed here are my own.] We had a chance to listen to Giaimo and Executive Chef Hengst talk about the changes coming to all the Silver Diner locations and the reasons why, all while tasting a menu that included:
- Healthier Shake Shots,
- Silver Diner Mimosas,
- black bean quesadillas,
- crab dip,
- sliders (Salmon, Pesto Turkey, and All American),
- Tomato Mozzarella Finger Sandwiches,
- Summer Citrus Salad,
- Chopped Asian Salad,
- 600 Calorie Smothered BBQ Meatloaf,
- 600 Calorie Vegetarian Stir-Fry,
- Shrimp Scampi with Gluten-Free Penne,
- Guacamole Pepper Jack Burger,
- Gluten Free Brownie Sundae,
- Apple Pie,
- Double Chocolate Triple-Layer Cake, and
- Coffee, wine, beer.
I tasted quite a few things, keeping my samples to just a bite or two because there was a lot of food and the wait staff kept bringing out more. Of everything I sampled, my favorites were the Salmon Sliders (though I would have liked a little more teriyaki glaze and wasabi), the Summer Citrus Salad (photo below), and Chopped Asian Salad (photo below). I even liked the 600 Calorie Smothered BBQ Meatloaf (photo above), and I really don’t care for meatloaf. The only thing I didn’t sample were the burgers because I was trying to save some room for a few bites of dessert, but they looked very good. The apple pie is beautiful—it looks more like a galette than a pie—and it was my favorite dessert, though the chocoholics would probably vote for the cake.
I made a point, well actually a couple points, to ask Giaimo and Hengst about the children’s menu and any changes they had planned for it, and they assured me that the children’s menu is also undergoing the same changes. The new ingredients are already in place in the menu and there are new healthy entrees, sides, and dessert for children to choose from. The new children’s menu will be revealed in June and I look forward to seeing and tasting what Silver Diner has come up with.
Our family is very concerned about the food we eat, which is why we try to grow our own herbs, vegetables, and fruits as much as possible. It’s heartening to see local restaurants change their business practices by adopting a healthy philosophy and supporting local farms and businesses, and I hope that other restaurants will follow suit. Safe, healthy food should be served everywhere, not just in expensive establishments.
To promote the new healthy menu, Silver Diner is sponsoring a Social Kitchen contest where fans can win a $50 gift card to Silver Diner and one lucky grand prize winner will get their choice of $500 to spend in their local community or a trip for two to a local vineyard, including lodging and wine tasting. The contest ends on May 28 at 5pm ET. Visit the Silver Diner Facebook page for more information on the contest (link below).
Silver Diner, Inc.