12250 Fair Lakes Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22033
CUISINE Diner, Comfort Food, American
PRICE Under $12
HOURS Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily.
NVM AWARDS None
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESBreakfast Weekend
By Warren Rojas
Distilling down the nation’s preferred dessert lineup was no easy task.
But Silver Diner cofounder Ype Von Hengst said that’s exactly what he and his partners attempted to divine during their exploratory tour of pre-existing diners so many years ago.
They discovered that homemade apple pie, carrot cake and chocolate cake were near-universal favorites, so they brought them all together under one roof for the launch of the original Rockville, Md., Silver Diner in 1989 and haven’t looked back since.
“These are the standards that are always popular,” Von Hengst stated of his core dessert line, listing the chocolate cake as the perennial leader, then quickly adding “but it’s a close race between all of them.”
He credited original baker Martha Sanchez with producing the first pies and cakes for the local chainlet and commended her for keeping at it nearly 20 years later. “She has always been my best baker,” he said of the veteran sweets queen.
Von Hengst estimated that they sell around 400 to 500 whole apple pies and maybe 200 to 300 whole carrot cakes per month at their combined 16 locations. And while shakes and ice-cream fare tend to rule the summer months, Von Hengst noted that pie and cake sales always spike leading into the holidays.
What cause for celebration.
Their signature apple creation is easily two apples high. The thick, cinnamon-sprinkled skin battles to contain giant chunks of tart, crunchy green apples that have stopped just short of caramelizing, releasing their natural sweetness without slapping you in the face with sugar.
Von Hengst described the breakdown of their monolithic pie as approximately four pounds Granny Smith apples to roughly one pound of sugar and dough (crust).
“With a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s to die for,” he said of the fruit-filled favorite.
The carrot cake yields moist spice cake loaded with chunks of real pineapple, golden raisins, chopped nuts, shredded carrot and lush cream-cheese frosting (boasting a dreamy blend of cream cheese, butter, lemon and vanilla), all drizzled with caramel sauce.
No word on where exactly the fluffy carrot cake fits on the government’s updated food pyramid, but it’s an easy way to boost your fruits and veggies intake for the day.