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Silver Spring’s Treasured Tastee Diner Suddenly Closes to Make Way for Housing

The all-day breakfast institution just sold to a D.C. developer

Octave 1320 in Silver Spring Maryland
Tastee Diner’s retro-styled locale in Silver Spring served its last hot cake this week.
Photo by Benjamin C. Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Real-estate bigwig Roadside just scooped up a coveted stretch of downtown Silver Spring where the iconic Tastee Diner has called home for decades.

The old-school omelette stalwart abruptly closed on Wednesday, March 23, which was news to both staff and regulars. “Thank you for the opportunity of letting us serve you for so many years,” read a sign taped to the door (8601 Cameron Street, Silver Spring, Maryland). Established in 1935, the local chain maintains two Maryland locations in Bethesda and Laurel that continue to operate daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The diner’s longtime owner Gene Wilkes says he decided to sell the Silver Spring original “due to personal medical reasons,” per a release, adding he’s been in talks with Roadside for a year. The diner’s 800-square-foot dining car will be incorporated into the facade of the future mixed-use project, which calls for residential units and retail.

Roadside is behind such high-profile redevelopments as Shaw’s City Market at O, upper Northwest’s City Ridge, and Capital One’s glossy Tysons headquarters. “[Gene] has entrusted us with this opportunity and Roadside is honored to be able to breathe new life into the block,” says Roadside partner and Silver Spring native Jeff Edelstein, in a statement.

Built in 1946, Tastee Diner’s classic railroad car design sat at the first Silver Spring location at the corner of Wayne and Georgia Avenues. Wilkes assumed ownership in 1988 and moved a portion of the dining cab to its final resting place in Silver Spring in 2000.