Upscale diner prepares to open in Cathedral Commons after resolving disputes

Silver will be located in Cathedral Commons on Wisconsin Avenue NW. (rendering courtesy of Silver)

Silver, an all-day upscale diner, is set to join a growing collection of Cathedral Commons restaurants come August.

The restaurant recently passed a final hurdle with Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C (Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights) by winning support of its alcohol license. Provided safety inspections run smoothly, Silver will open at 3404 Wisconsin Ave. NW for dinner Aug. 28, and add breakfast and lunch after Labor Day, according to the company’s vice president of real estate and development Mark Russell.

The Cathedral Heights location will be the second for Silver. The first of the upscale diner model currently operates in downtown Bethesda, but the company also owns 14 casual Silver Diner establishments along the East Coast.

The community support for the liquor license came after “extensive negotiations” largely regarding operation hours and outdoor music, commissioner Angela Bradbery said at Monday’s ANC meeting.

“It is a good balance between the community’s concerns, and what Silver wants,” Bradbery said of the settlement agreement her ANC worked out with the restaurant operators. The commission agreed to permit outdoor music — acoustic only, between 4 and 8 p.m. — on a conditional, six-month trial basis for two days a week between Thursday and Sunday, and on federal holidays.

“The idea is to keep noise contained for those involved in the outdoor cafe, not those living above or across the street,” said Bradbery, whose single-member district includes Cathedral Commons.

Silver plans to operate between 7 a.m. and midnight Sunday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. According to Bradbery, those hours conform with that of Silver’s neighbors, new arrivals Barcelona and Raku.

During Silver’s year of negotiations, the restaurant has confronted several bureaucratic obstacles. The mixed-use complex at Cathedral Commons is permitted a maximum of 20 percent of streetfront space for restaurants — and Silver’s addition will exceed this limit by 3.4 percentage points. However, the restaurant secured zoning relief last August in exchange for several parking concessions, including 90 minutes of free parking for patrons of certain Cathedral Commons retailers, 20 spaces for Eaton Elementary School teachers and staff members on weekdays, and overnight parking for residents.

In meetings and interviews throughout the year, Russell had said he’d rather change Silver’s location than make certain concessions. For example, despite the demands of several ANC 3C members, the diner held strong with plans for its 30-inch blade sign.

Nonetheless, Russell told The Current he is eager to move into the fast-evolving area. “We are neighborhood friendly, a neighborhood-based concept. We know Wisconsin Avenue very well,” he said.

Spokesperson Matilde Ott told The Current that Silver received positive responses at four public meetings for residents and retailers over the past year, including from merchants excited that the breakfast menu would attract an additional wave of customers to their businesses.