Tastee Diner is a small franchise of diners in the suburban Washington, DC area established in 1935. There are three Tastee Diner locations in the US state of Maryland: Bethesda, Laurel, and Silver Spring. Tastee Diner serves a wide variety of authentic American food, with a heavy emphasis on breakfast, and pie. They are all open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and rarely close, if ever.
The Silver Spring branch of the diner was made an historic landmark in Montgomery County in 1994. It received national attention on June 17, 2000 when it was moved from its original location on Georgia Ave. to its new location on Cameron St. This was done in order to free up the land for use by Discovery Communications, which had purchased the property to serve as the site of their headquarters building.
Tastee Diner is one of the last original, authentic American diners. The atmosphere and cuisine are classic Americana. The diners all include a front area with a counter bar and stools bolted to the floor, a juke-box with access from every booth and acerbic, yet efficient wait staff. Menu items include classic hamburgers, an array of melts (tuna, chicken, etc.), french fries served with various condiments, endless cups of coffee and, more recently, beer and wine.
Tastee Diner's influence on the mainstream culture in the Washington area has been the subject of various news articles, including several from the Washington Post, which labeled it "The Most Famous Diner in Montgomery County."
The Bethesda location was the first one to open in 1935. On June 21, 2002, it suffered extensive damage in a fire, and re-opened approximately two months later.
Silver Spring location
The Silver Spring location, currently owned by Gene Wilkes, was originally installed in 1946 at the corner of Wayne Ave. and Georgia Ave., and was built by the Jerry O'Mahony Diner Company.
In June 2000, the original railcar portion of the diner was moved to a new location on Cameron St. in a scene immortalized in Bill Griffith's famous comic-strip, Zippy the Pinhead. The move was necessary to save the diner after Discovery Communications (owner of the Discovery Channel) purchased the land that Tastee Diner's owners had been leasing for over 50 years, but did not actually own.
Since the original building (not counting expansions built, over the years) was listed as an historic landmark in Montgomery County, local and state money was funneled into the construction of a new restaurant to which the original railcar module was attached.
The current Tastee Diner in Laurel was constructed in 1951, having been prefabricated by Comac and delivered by truck from Vineland, New Jersey. The building has a 3-bay structure, with its stainless steel rectangle attached to a yellow brick kitchen and service wing. Originally owned by three members of the S & T Realty Company, the diner was sold to M & W Tastee Foods in 1982. This property is said to be one of only two surviving Comac diners, the other in Albany, New York.
- Taylor, Susan L. (May 1998). "Tastee Diner Property". Inventory of Historical Properties. Maryland Historical Trust. Retrieved 28 August 2010.