• On the Fork: Lunch at Silver Diner

    Springfield has a vibrant restaurant scene. Want Thai? We’ve got it. Afghan? You can get that too. We’re a culinary map of the world.

    Sometimes, though, you don’t want the world. Nothing but meatloaf and a shake will do along with individual jukeboxes on the table for that 1950s vibe. In that case, Silver Diner has got you covered. Calling itself a ‘next generation diner,’ in 2013 the restaurant revamped its menu to include vegan and gluten-free options. Food is locally sourced and the menu’s classic offerings have a contemporary twist. You can choose heart healthy, no trans-fat and entrees under 600 calories or you can go all out with fries, shakes, burgers and desserts. Wine and beer are also available and breakfast is served all day.

    My dining companion and I picked a blustery early winter day for our diner lunch. We split appetizers of Rhode Island-style fried shrimp with sriracha aioli and banana pepper relish and a Firefly Farm goat cheese bruschetta with a basil pesto and balsamic glaze. That was one of the heart healthy options—and it was delicious. Somehow, the sriracha aioli shrimp accompaniment never made it to the table but the pepper relish was so good that we didn’t realize the aioli was missing until we’d finished the shrimp. I ordered the Hickory Smokehouse Cheddar burger served with barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and bacon and my friend got the Huevos Rancheros served over ground bison. (Meat options include beef, bison, lamb, turkey, chicken or veggie crumbles.) While they won’t send you gasping to your water glass, the eggs do provide a nice little kick.

    Servings are more than ample—although my fries were tasty, crispy and greaseless, they went back to the kitchen mostly untouched. No one leaves Silver Diner hungry.

    After all this, prudent diners would have settled for coffee or tea but we were there for a restaurant review so we felt duty bound to order dessert. We could have ordered the Greek yogurt parfait with local honey…we could have—but we didn’t. I got Maryland’s official dessert, Smith Island Cake with thin layers of white cake and ribbons of caramel icing. (Much of it went home with me where my husband took one look at it and polished it off in about 30 seconds.) My friend ordered a peppermint patty shake with vanilla ice cream, mint syrup, and Oreo Cookie pieces.

    If you’d like a side of community support with your meal, Silver Diner excels. It partners with eleven Springfield area schools and supports numerous other community activities. More information is available at silverdiner.com/community.

    Silver Diner is open Sunday to Thursday 7 a.m. to midnight. Friday and Saturday they're open until 2 a.m.

    Linda Waller, a longtime resident of Springfield, enjoys dining in her community and believes the experience is just as important as the food.

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