Tastee Diner in downtown Silver Spring, one of the area’s longest running 24-hour diners, will sling 3 AM pancakes no more. At 2 PM today, March 22, it abruptly and permanently closed. Employees at the Silver Spring and Bethesda locations confirmed the shutdown, but did not provide any further details about it. The closure was first reported by Source of the Spring; the Washington Business Journal reports that the site has been purchased by Roadside Development—the real estate firm also behind City Ridge and the Market on O projects—which will turn it into a mixed-use residential development. A Roadside press release says that the historic diner’s structure will be incorporated into the new site, and that its owner, Gene Wilkes, is retiring for personal reasons.
The original art deco-style diner was constructed in New Jersey out of steel and formica, and in 1946 the prefab structure was trucked to the corner of Wayne and Georgia Avenues where it made its debut. In 1988, the diner closed to make way for the Discovery Communications complex. Employees and customers fought to save the popular local spot—in 1994, it was declared a Montgomery County historic landmark—and in 2000, the original dining car (sans restrooms and kitchen) was loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved to its current location at 8601 Cameron Street.
There are few classic, 24/7 diners in the area. Two of them—the Bethesda and Laurel locations of Tastee—remain open.