Silver Diner’s rocky Ballston start (and now a free shuttle)

Rockville-based Silver Diner enthusiastically promoted the opening of its newest location in Ballston — with a ribbon cutting that was attended by members of the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce and the Ballston Business Improvement District — only to have to close the new Virginia location early on its grand opening day Dec. 14.

Rather than a kitchen fire or permitting issues, the problem was a technical glitch with the restaurant’s payment system, which was resolved.

The Ballston location at 4400 Wilson Blvd. replaces another Silver Diner location in Clarendon, which simultaneously closed, with employees transferring to the new restaurant.

The Clarendon location was a popular after-hours destination for the late night crowd, so Silver Diner is making it easier for them to patronize the new location, with a free, late night shuttle.

The Midnight Express is round-trip service between the old Clarendon location and the new Ballston location, with departures to and from both locations every half-hour, Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. until Dec. 31. The Ballston location is 1.4 miles from the old Clarendon location.

The shuttle brings Silver Diner customers to the new location. (Courtesy Silver Diner)

“Some customers have been frequenting the (Clarendon) restaurant for more than 25 years and are more comfortable going to the old location,” a company spokesman said.

The Ballston Silver Diner is much larger than the Clarendon location, with full bar, outdoor cafe and patio, and garage parking.

Silver Diner recently opened a restaurant in D.C.’s Navy Yard, with a second floor restaurant and bar above it named Silver Social overlooking Nats Park. It will open locations in National Harbor and Chantilly in 2023, with restaurants planned for Maryland’s White Marsh in Baltimore County and Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 2024. It currently has 20 locations.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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