New Flexible Dining Service Launches on the Silver Star
January 9, 2020
By Carolyn Cokley
After a nearly 5-year absence, first class dining on Amtrak’s Silver Star is returning on May 1, 2020. The same flexible dining menu that is currently available on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited and Silver Meteor will also be served aboard the Silver Star. Love it or hate it, this is Amtrak’s wave of the future.
As with all routes that serve the flexible dining menu, this menu will not be made available to Coach passengers. The Lounge Car continues to be available for both Sleeping Car and Coach passengers, offering meals, snacks and beverages. We continue to petition Amtrak to figure out a way to make dining car meals available to Coach passengers.
I have traveled aboard the Capitol Limited nine times in 2019 and have had the opportunity to sample all entrees from the flexible dining menu. While breakfast continues to be my most important meal of the day, I have grown used to the limited breakfast menu. Breakfast for me while traveling usually consists of oatmeal, yogurt and coffee. While I have become used to it, I still prefer my eggs in the a.m.
What I have found to be true is that the edibility of the food depends upon the attention the attendant pays to heating it. I have had the same meal coming and going and the quality has been completely different. One was heated to perfection while the other turned to rubber and left a lot to be desired. The one meal that I have not had that problem with is the Asian Noodle Bowl. This dish is also vegan and a healthier option. A Rail Passenger member and very frequent Amtrak traveler who is allergic to garlic says that this is the only entrée that she can eat, sans the garlic-chili sauce, because all other entrée options contain garlic.
I am traveling later this month and have finally remembered to pre order my Kosher meal and I’m excited to finally have the opportunity to taste the quality of the entrée. If you did not know, Amtrak offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner Kosher menu that must be ordered 24 hours, in advance, for Acela first class and 72 hours, in advance, for those select overnight routes. At this time, you must call 1-800-USA-RAIL to reserve your Kosher or vegan meal. You can locate the nutritional data of all meal options at www.amtrakfoodfacts.com. When I called Amtrak to verify the availability of the Kosher menu, I was told by Customer Relations that as of this week, all long-distance routes now offer Kosher options and asked that this very important information be updated on www.amtrakfoodfacts.com. I called back the following day to confirm the information and have been told that only those overnight routes that currently serve the flexible dining options also serve Kosher options. Still working on the right answer. Kosher entrées are lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbs and sodium compared to non-Kosher entrées on both the flexible dining and traditional menus.
I’ll give you my feedback next month when I return from my trip.
"The National Association of Railroad Passengers has done yeoman work over the years and in fact if it weren’t for NARP, I'd be surprised if Amtrak were still in possession of as a large a network as they have. So they've done good work, they're very good on the factual case."
Robert Gallamore, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University and former Federal Railroad Administration official, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University
November 17, 2005, on The Leonard Lopate Show (with guest host Chris Bannon), WNYC New York.