When Ype Von Hengst wanted to give the kids’ menu at Silver Diner a healthful bent, the co-founder and executive chef didn’t turn to white-coated R&D experts, trendwatchers or even parents. Instead, he went straight to the source, conducting tasting sessions with 31 diners ages 5 to 12. After listening to the young diners’ reviews of a dozen or so items, the 14-unit chain launched its new kids’ menu with more than 20 new entrées last April. The menu ...

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