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Silver Diner, a Rockville-Based Diner-Car Concept with Locations in MD, VA, and NJ


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Ok so I apologize to the Leleboo in advance, I am sure my lackluster searching skills must be incorrect, but for the life of me I cannot find a thread on the Silver Diner, in multiple locations under diners or American food, or in Virginia in Clarendon. I then google searched to no avail.

I just wanted to state that I am really liking their new menu. It's not a regular spot for me, but when you want down home comfort food, which I did, don't want to pay a lot, which I didn't, and wanted it delivered to my door, it really was good. Things seem to be made fresh with more care then in past times. Stepping things up I would say. We got take out last night. I got meatloaf with mashed potatoes, corn and veggie mix with a choice of soup or salad side, got veggie chili. The meatloaf was well seasoned and tasted good, the veggie mix were carrots, broccoli, and butternut squash (really... I really think it was), they weren't mush they tasted quite nice. The mashed potatoes tasted very real. Nothing tasted like it was from a box or prepared ages ago. All in all I was really happy with it.

So much food I haven't eaten my veggie chili yet, but will have it for lunch tomorrow.

Hubby got a burger and said it was a surprisingly good burger.

The menu has lots of choices, healthy, not so healthy and lots of gluten free choices. I will be back (or at least order delivery) more often. I was really impressed. It seemed a lot different than in times past. Anyone else tried the new Silver Diner?

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My partner used to live very near the Silver Spring location near the metro. Silver Diner was the place we went when we were tired, pissed off, feeling low or otherwise depleted. It was perfect for a burger and a beer, totally free of attitude with a gentle price. I kind of miss it now that I live in Southwest and don't get back to Silver Spring much.

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Ok so I apologize to the Leleboo in advance, I am sure my lackluster searching skills must be incorrect, but for the life of me I cannot find a thread on the Silver Diner, in multiple locations under diners or American food, or in Virginia in Clarendon. I then google searched to no avail.

No need to apologize. First and foremost, I don't maintain the Dining Guides -- that's all Rocks. :)

Googling ' site:donrockwell.com silver diner ' yields only several posts in other threads that mention it, but no official thread. Basically, if you try Multiple Locations (which I think, but am not sure, is where it belongs), and then Google, to no avail, you're probably right in thinking there's no extant thread, and can go ahead and start one.

(This post may self-destruct in 24 hours so there's not too much explanation in this thread, but you get the point. :) )

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Do they still have mozzarella sticks wrapped in egg roll wrappers? That was a favorite when I was a teenager

I don't think they do, but I have to agree with you that this was one of the greatest incarnations of the mozzarella stick - at one point they completely f'ed it up by putting spinach in it.

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I don't think there's a Silver Diner in Silver Spring. There's a Tastee Diner, which is an institution but not great.

The Silver Diner in Rockville was a go-to place for an easy lunch or breakfast with the kids. The one thing I never liked there was the coffee - it was always wretched, no matter how fresh.

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Heather, as part of their makeover, they switched to Greenberry coffee. Pretty decent.

We don't go very often, but it has been a remarkable makeover from undistinguished diner chain, to a place that is really making an effort to focus on fresh, local, and sustainable agriculture.

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Credit where credit is due: Todd Kliman discovered Silver Diner 1 1/2 years ago - whether it was the result of a tip-off or his own forées up Route 1 is not important; his was the first major publication in town to write about it. Click.

I used to dine at the one in North Arlington in the mid 90s, and enjoyed it well enough, but it (and the others) had declined precipitously. Despite Todd's shout-out, I laughed and rolled my eyes when I saw their signs; maybe they had indeed made a concerted effort to improve quality. Maybe they still do. However, they are no longer in his list of personal favorites, so perhaps he thought they were merely worth one (or a few) mentions.

I'm heartened to hear our own brethren saying flattering things about Silver Diner. It has been said that Wal-Mart has done more for the organic movement than any individual small farmer. I'd like to think that's not true, but then there are financial realities. I don't know the answer to any of this; I'm merely posing questions.

Cheers,

Rocks

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I'd have to agree that the local/sustainable revamp has helped; their food used to be really pretty awful, and it's improved considerably since the menu change. The blueberry pancakes are actually worth going there for, which is saying something since SD used to be on my "avoid unless there's no other alternative" list, and the Greenberry's coffee is a huge, huge improvement over their prior coffeelike substance.

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Credit where credit is due: Todd Kliman discovered Silver Diner 1 1/2 years ago - whether it was the result of a tip-off or his own forées up Route 1 is not important; his was the first major publication in town to write about it.

Since 1989, anyway. I thought I heard about it through Phyllis Richman; the google came up with this.

The chocolate milkshake is pretty decent. Last couple of times, though, I've had to describe the "black and white" in order for them to make it.

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It has been said that Wal-Mart has done more for the organic movement than any individual small farmer.

I've read they are the single largest purchaser of organic produce (not at all surprising given their market share) but I don't think that's quite the same as what you said.

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I'd have to agree that the local/sustainable revamp has helped; their food used to be really pretty awful, and it's improved considerably since the menu change. The blueberry pancakes are actually worth going there for, which is saying something since SD used to be on my "avoid unless there's no other alternative" list, and the Greenberry's coffee is a huge, huge improvement over their prior coffeelike substance.

You know, we've been going to Silver Diners (mainly the one in Fair Lakes) for years, although we probably haven't been during 2010, and you all are absolutely right about how crappy their coffee was. I guess I never really thought much about it because, after all, they were trying to replicate the authentic diner experience. :)

Still, I'd trade authenticity for better coffee in a heartbeat, so this upgrade is good news. This thread is a good reminder that SD is a good place for us to take the kids.

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I have to add some cold water to the lovefest, but I don't consider Silver Diner to be a real diner. It is a chain that has a gimick. A real diner had a huge menu, running to 10 or more pages. Silver Diner has a very limited menu. A real diner offers lots of breakfast options, all day long, Silver Diner has way too few. Etc.

The food is OK, and I like the local produce/sustainable focus, but it just ain't a diner in my eyes. Good shakes however.

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I went to the one in Tysons this morning for a business meeting.

I probably misread the menu, but I was surprised when my Country Griddle showed up with everything in a bowl. Eggs, sausage, sausage gravy, cheese, potatoes, peppers and onions - oof. I felt bad for hours afterwards, though having approximately one bazillion cups of black coffee (and 1 OJ) with it probably didn't help.

Our service was also not so great.

Sigh. There's a reason why I don't CHOOSE to go there - I hadn't been there in years, and even with the changes in the food, I don't feel any urge to go back.

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I had a Silver Diner gift card--how it came to be in my possession involves a long irrelevant story-- but I decided to use it for lunch at the new Rockville branch, after I got my hair cut next door. I ordered bison sliders-- the meat was advertised to be coming from Monkton, MD. Two were on the plate, served on whole grain rolls that were chewy and dense, but definitely held up to the meat, pepper jack and guacamole inside. The patties were 3/4" thick, medium rare and with a generous percentage of fat, making them juicy, with a bit of that greasy mouthfeel you get from a Ray's Hellburger. The flavor was deeply beefy with an edge of funk that I've come to expect from grass-fed meat. There was a small portion of "vegan slaw", although it's beyond me why anyone eating bison would care if the slaw's mayo had eggs or honey in it or not, but it was nicely crunchy and leaning toward overly sweet with dried cranberries mixed in. A generous serving of thin-cut unpeeled fries stayed crisp right to the last bite of the sliders. Quite a respectable plate of food for $8.99, I thought . Especially since I wasn't paying cash. B)

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Silver Diner? I can't tell you how often I've eaten at these places, mostly because my kids like bulk food as opposed to quality, the shakes are decent, and the places are convenient. The faux-50s look is off-putting to me personally, since I recall the real deals, and the sticky-floor lack of cleanliness is evident at the Springfield and Fair Oaks locations.

Surprising fact -- the breakfast go-to places for meetings involving the IT community are the Silver Diners in Herndon and Tysons Corner. I am personally aware of billions of dollars of IT deals being consummated over coffee and omelets at these two restaurants. I am not aware of any other restaurants in the entire DC metropolitan area where that magnitude of business is done.

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Silver Diner? I can't tell you how often I've eaten at these places, mostly because my kids like bulk food as opposed to quality, the shakes are decent, and the places are convenient. The faux-50s look is off-putting to me personally, since I recall the real deals, and the sticky-floor lack of cleanliness is evident at the Springfield and Fair Oaks locations.

I guess you haven't been recently and seen the changes that they have made with their menu. They are using as much locally produced meat and produce as they can buy, which is more than most places. Are they going to prepare a life changing meal? No, but they provide a competent meal at a decent price.

And those real deal diner places you mention from years ago are, as I am sure you know, alive and kicking and really don't provide much better food.

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I think Silver Diner used to be a public company and I think I used to own some shares and I think I got burned for a good deal (to me) of money. But I think that was a long time ago and I think they've changed their menu and I therefore think I may have to give it another shot. Despite the fact that I think I won't be getting that money back.

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I grew up around the Fair Oaks location and remember when it opened, there was a line out the door all of the time. My family would go there occassionally for breakfast and, even though I was a dumb kid and didn't know anything, I did know that I wasn't eating anything special. I will say, however, that we go maybe two times a year for breakfast, over the past few years, and have always been very happy with going there.

And, I agree about the Tyson's location. It has been several years since I have worked in that area, but when I did, I was usually the only one not wearing a suit in that place.

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Really? That's amazing! To think that Guy Fieri created a whole television series around them!

Well, that's a little facile. If you recall, Gillian Clark was on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, remember? Like the show or not, it didn't just cover diners. Also, I have been to the Silver Diner in Arlington recently and endorse the change wholeheartedly. As far as area diners go, I like it more than any I have visited. Note I have not been to Bob & Edith yet....

Rob

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Well, that's a little facile. If you recall, Gillian Clark was on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, remember? Like the show or not, it didn't just cover diners. Also, I have been to the Silver Diner in Arlington recently and endorse the change wholeheartedly. As far as area diners go, I like it more than any I have visited. Note I have not been to Bob & Edith yet....

Rob

FYI, Bob and Edith's is best, for both the food and ambiance, at 3am after a night out. B)

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OK, by virtue of this thread and the opportunity to grab lunch with my kids in Dale City, I decided to give Silver Diner a try. It wasn't bad. I had the basket of turkey sliders with an indistinct wasabi sauce and a nice vegan slaw on the side. Lady Kibbee went with a very nice salmon-topped caesar salad, and the kiddies had a typical assortment of burgers and shakes. At least one thumb up, and when the kids are in the equation, it's a near certain return.

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Took some visiting relations here for breakfast on Sunday. The staff is really showcasing the new local menu, and they've grouped all the heart-healthy/under 600 calories meals on one menu page. There are also several gluten-free selections to choose from. I had a basic waffles & eggs & sausage platter, but the sausage was a couple of very decent, plump pork links. Sister in law got the black bean & egg burrito with guac and said it was good, brother had some of hers and said it was excellent. Brother got an omelet with goat cheese for his entree and devoured it in seconds and loved it. All the mains have gone up a buck or two since the menu update, but the better ingredients make it worth the cost, IMO. Service was very good and friendly. SD has also instituted a rewards card, so you get a point for each visit that at least 1 entree is ordered, and after five visits, you get $5 off your bill.

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Met some visiting friends at the Merrifield branch here last night. They have a 2 and 4 year old and were looking for someplace fast and kid-and-adult friendly. This was walking distance from their hotel, so it seemed perfect. It was a few minutes after 5:00, so also not busy and if the kids were loud/rambunctious, they wouldn't disturb folks. And except for major service glitches, it would have been perfect. All the food was good -- everyone got the crab and corn chowder, made with Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and local corn -- to start. Very nice, although a bit heavy on the corn side of the equation, so a little sweeter than my preference, but you could definitely taste the crab. 3 of the adults at the table got the same special -- bison chopsteak with mashed & veg, and 1 got a burger & fries. They had ordered pancakes for the kids with a side of bacon and milk, and asked that the kids' meals be brought out as soon as they were prepared b/c they were getting antsy. The pancakes came out right away by a runner, but no milk, no bacon, and no waitress to be seen. And we waited and we waited and we waited. The kids ate the pancakes and colored and got antsty again and we were still waiting and no service. One of our group could see down the length of the resto and she had 2-3 tables at the far end of the building from our table. I don't know what she had done to piss the hostess off to divide her territory that way. We flagged down someone else to get her, and she came over all apologetic and saying she couldn't trust the runners, but she also showed up empty handed and it was another 15 mintues before we got our entrees -- and then the burger was 3-4 minutes behind the rest of the order, and the fries were stone cold, so we had to get a new order of fries. The kids ate the cold fries, so helpful in that regard that they didn't have to wait for a cool-down period, and the milk and the bacon were also finally brought over. Oh, and from the time we sat down, the waitress was pushing their new dessert, a red velvet & pumpkin cake, every time she came to the table "save room for cake!" yada yada. We decided at the end of the meal to get a couple of slices to go since we wanted to get the kids out of there b/c by then it was TWO HOURS since we had been seated, and it was another ten minutes before she came back with the checks and *one* slice of cake because they had sold out., so then whose bill does it go on, and she comped a bowl of chowder and whose bill did that come off, etc., and another five minutes getting out of there. So, closer to 2.5 hours from seating to leaving, which is totally ridiculous. And from what I could tell, the kitchen wasn't the problem, it was all FOH.

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We have had some decidedly lousy meals at the lake forest location over the years and haven't been back in over a year. Today I needed to kill sometime with the little guy so we checked out the rockville location. Better than average breakfast (all that is left on his plate is crumbs) and good coffee.

Is it the difference in locations? Or is there improvement overall? And am I willing to be the one who tries lake forest again????

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I have to admit to becoming somewhat favorable towards Silver Diner of late. I have long accepted the fact that the Tysons and Herndon locations, and to a certain lesser extent the Fair Oaks location, are the "power breakfast" scenes of the IT tech community, and I have enjoyed more than a few there myself. They make a decent omelet and brew a decent cup of coffee.

I tend to frequent the Springfield location on occasion, and for breakfast recently I enjoyed a respectable egg white omelet with a quite refreshing strawberry-banana smoothie, and I couldn't have been more satisfied. I also recently enjoyed a basket of bison sliders at the Rockville location so my experience outside of breakfast is also favorable. Not too long ago a turkey burger at the Potomac Mills locations was juicy and flavorful and topped with astonishingly fresh tomatoes, lettuce and onions.

They seem to be doing something right here....there are other local chains where the food is just not as good right now, and where the menu is not as interesting or varied -- they will remain nameless here, but you probably know who I'm calling out. WIth kids in tow and economy in mind, I'll stop at a Silver Diner before opting for certain other venues.

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We have had some decidedly lousy meals at the lake forest location over the years and haven't been back in over a year. Today I needed to kill sometime with the little guy so we checked out the rockville location. Better than average breakfast (all that is left on his plate is crumbs) and good coffee.

Is it the difference in locations? Or is there improvement overall? And am I willing to be the one who tries lake forest again????

I can only attest to the Rockville location (which has moved twice in the last few years), but along with their move a couple of years ago to local/sustainable produce, there's been a marked improvement in quality across the menu. Still just an upscale-ish diner, but better than you'd expect for the menu and prices.

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I have to admit to becoming somewhat favorable towards Silver Diner of late. I have long accepted the fact that the Tysons and Herndon locations, and to a certain lesser extent the Fair Oaks location, are the "power breakfast" scenes of the IT tech community, and I have enjoyed more than a few there myself. They make a decent omelet and brew a decent cup of coffee.

I can only attest to the Rockville location (which has moved twice in the last few years), but along with their move a couple of years ago to local/sustainable produce, there's been a marked improvement in quality across the menu. Still just an upscale-ish diner, but better than you'd expect for the menu and prices.

I recently stopped at Silver Diner in Fredericksburg on the way to Richmond, and had a perfectly fine breakfast. It's a standard eggs, pancakes, bacon, waffles, omelets, IHOP type of menu, but it was executed well. Honestly, neither Matt nor I even remember what we had; only that we thought it was pretty good (and I remember abandoning my sliced strawberry).

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Sigh...

After the positive experience at the Rockville location we have tried the Tuesday Kid's Night at both Rockville and Lake Forest mall and at least one regular dinner at Rockville.

The good: there is a free milkshake for kids on kid's night. The little guy LOVES the jukebox and he usually enjoys the entertainer.

The frustrating: the screaming kids, the insanely loud parents, the face painter who insists that there are "boy" designs and "girl" designs and who doesn't seem to get that I'm reading the list out loud to my kid without sharing the options I'm not going to let him get (i.e a skull over his entire face...)

The bad: The service. At least at Lake Forest. We have yet to receive a correct order there. Mr. BLB had a very odd tuna melt recently that didn't resemble a tuna melt at all but was a tuna sandwich with unmelted cheese on it. He also tried a chicken dish that had zero flavor...

On the bright side, I have a certificate for a free kids meal that expires soon so we're tackling it one last time.

And then we go on vacation and I hope the little guy forgets about it!

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The latest menu change at Silver Diner has brought some vegan dishes in (only lunch and dinner, but better than nothing). There was a Washington Post article about it, and here's a link to a PDF of the new menu.

As someone whose girlfriend is vegan, this is kind of nice. I'm surprised they can't figure out any vegan breakfast items though. I mean, tofu scramble isn't that hard.

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We were there last night at the Clarendon location and got the new menus. However, we just had our old standbys: burgers and fries. I like the sweet potato fries. The lettuce is arugula (yay!) Their burgers are pretty good and SD now my go-to place for casual burger. Also surprising was how good their organic malbec wine was. Way better than their other 2 reds plus they have new stemless ware too. My husband likes their citrus salad. BTW, don't get the pot roast - not very good with powdered mashed potatoes.

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We had a late brunch at the Reston location on Sunday - our first visit in a couple of years. Like the new menu, and the myriad of local suppliers.

The goat cheese bruschetta app was very good, but as is so often the case, the ratio of bread to toppings was off -- could have used two more pieces.

Our table was loaded with food. I tried the gluten-free qunioa coconut blueberry pancakes with grilled bananas. They were... interesting. The french toast was a hit with my kids and wife. Chicken tenders were too salty, but nicely crunchy. Homefries were good. My daughter got a bowl of veggie chili and it was too spicy for her, even though there was no indication of that on the menu (so our fault for not asking heat level).

The kids also got small "health shakes" to go, and both liked them.

We will be back.

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Nothing like seasonal out of season Brussels Sprouts... they are a winter item.  Thankfully, the industrial agribusiness complex can make anything seasonal!  

If restaurants can serve tomatoes in January why not Brussels Sprouts in May?

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Interesting that you focused on seasonality.  I saw it as an example of trickle down: ingredient becomes trendy, the best places innovate with it, second-rate restaurants catch on and start offering their innovations which go to show why they're second-rate restaurants.

ps: to be fair, they do now have "black and white" milkshakes on the menu

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Interesting that you focused on seasonality.  I saw it as an example of trickle down: ingredient becomes trendy, the best places innovate with it, second-rate restaurants catch on and start offering their innovations which go to show why they're second-rate restaurants.

That's why I thought you highlighted it: several different trendy items/concepts all thrown together in a combination that sounds absolutely disgusting. I say that even though I like all of the components individually (but I'm not sure what "southwest ranch" is and how it differs from regular ranch dressing).

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Someone in my neighborhood email list mentioned they went to the Silver Diner in Laurel a few days ago and discovered it was now closed. After knocking on the door, there were people inside after all, the employee explained the landlord significantly increased the rent so they chose to close up shop since the rent was too high. I think it is a hoot since there are two closed restaurants right around it.

That said, I have not been there in years and years.

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Back in the early years of this century, MrB and I would occasionally go to the Silver Diner for breakfast -- which I found to be ok, but nothing special.  At that time I would never have dreamed of going there for lunch or dinner.  Fast forward 15 years and include the SD's transformation of its cuisine to fresh, organic, locally-sourced and throw in the fact that MrB and I have been displaced from our home (due to extensive water damage) and are living in a hotel in downtown Springfield, not too far from the Silver Diner.  The Silver Diner has suddenly become our restaurant of choice when we want a reasonably healthful meal, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner!  

Their Chicken Noodle Soup is good!  Not Tom Power-good, but like a really good homemade version -- the noodles are actually shells, which makes it easier to eat and the chicken appears to be white meat and is not dried-out. Terrific comfort food, which I need right now. I also liked their Veggie Chili -- it's got some spice, but nothing too strong.

I never thought I'd order a salad in a diner, but their Greek Salad is good -- way, way, way better than the 'Greek salad' I had at the Greek restaurant, Eleni's, a while back.  The romaine is very fresh and it is a generous serving, containing chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and black olives.  The dressing is tasty.   I've also had the Roasted Local Veggie Salad: which contains beets, squash, brussels sprouts, red peppers, basil, arugula, kale, sunflower seeds, pecans, dried apricots and their house-made champagne dressing. I like this salad a lot. It provides a lot of vegetables, and under our current living situation, that's really important to me.  The Summer Citrus Salad consists of baby spinach, mangoes, strawberries, dried cranberries, pecans, carrots and a fat-free citrus vinaigrette.  This came as a side to something else and I found that it was a bit too acidic for me.  On the other hand, the baby spinach was really fresh.

For breakfast, MrB almost always orders the Bison Huevos Rancheros, which he loves.  I often order the Oaxaca Omelette that contains black bean salsa, pepper jack, salsa roha, cilantro, and mashed avocado.  We like these dishes a lot. 

Two nights ago we went for dinner and MrB ordered the Meatloaf which he thought was fairly pedestrian.  I ordered the Fish Tacos (never imagined myself ordering fish tacos in a diner).  This was not Taco Bamba quality, but they were not bad either.  The fish was grilled halibut.  

Anyway, we'll probably be working our way through the menu over the next several weeks until we can re-occupy our home. We'll report in if anything is worthy of note.

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I love the bison huevos rancheros. Unfortunately the Laurel location recently closed. I am pretty disappointed. Just as you described it was my reasonable option when I was coming home from teaching late and needed something reasonably healthy, responsible and tasty. 

If it's still on the menu I like the flat iron steak, and the chicken pot pie is pretty freaking delicious. Also the brussels sprouts appetizer with the dried fruit and nuts and spicy aioli. 

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