Chef Bryan Voltaggio and co-owner Hilda Staples put Frederick on the map as a fine-dining destination when they opened Volt in 2008. While the nationally recognized restaurant remains a go-to for gourmands, a growing group of eateries, food shops, breweries and distilleries gives visitors many more reasons to eat (and drink) there.
As Maryland’s second largest city with a population of about 70,000, Frederick radiates hipness, history and small-town charm all at once. The city has seen a recent influx of millennials and retirees, thanks to its quality of life, affordability and proximity to major cities and airports. With the new residents have come a raft of craft beers, sophisticated cocktails and trendy menus that include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free fare.
Food and drink are far from the only draws, as Frederick offers a host of other attractions, including historic churches and homes, hidden courtyards, antiques shops, parks and public art (don’t miss local artist William Cochran’s trompe l’oeil murals, such as the one on the southwest corner of West Church and North Market streets). With so much to do, it’s easy to spend a weekend in Frederick, and there are a few bed-and-breakfasts downtown in Victorian mansions (see visitfrederick.org/places-to-stay/bed-and-breakfasts). The Barbara Fritchie House on West Patrick Street can even be rented through Airbnb. (Fritchie was a devoted and outspoken Unionist during the Civil War.)
There are plenty of places to refuel between your meanderings. Here are some of the newer and notable restaurants, markets and beverage companies that have opened in the last few years.
Restaurants and Markets
This well-stocked and multipurpose cheese, charcuterie and wine shop is run by three generations of hometown women (Betty Gardiner, daughter Sharon Crisafulli and granddaughter Caitlin Crisafulli). They offer a rotation of more than 200 cheeses, pantry items (crackers, olive oil, jam and more), refrigerated antipasto, cheese boards, wine and gifts; hold cheese-tasting classes; assemble catering platters and gift baskets; and field online orders, including cheese-of-the-month clubs. Sandwiches (with cheese, of course) are served at lunchtime, and for those who aren’t carrying out, two tables provide seating for enjoying such options as The Betty Brie (double crème brie with ham, Dijon and cornichons on ciabatta).
8 E. 2nd St., Suite 104, 301-631-2439, crisafullischeeseshop.com
Glory Dough & Diner
This vegan doughnut and lunch shop is quaint, welcoming and out of the ordinary. Aside from freshly baked doughnuts that come in flavors such as rosewater, salted Earl Grey and French toast, the menu includes Belgian waffles infused with Pabst Blue Ribbon lager, huevos rancheros made with a tofu fried “egg,” and salads, tacos and vegan burgers. Located in a renovated townhouse, Glory has limited seating and funky music—and a line for doughnuts that can wind out the door.
244 E. Church St., 240-651-3467, glorydoughnuts.com
Hippy Chick Hummus
What started as a stand at Frederick-area farmers markets in 2016 turned into a vegan café and draft kombucha bar in 2017 for 28-year-old Erika Brown. A native of Frederick, Brown graduated from Towson University in 2013, then lived in Greece, traveled around Europe, volunteered on organic farms, and hitchhiked around Kauai, Hawaii, before starting her business. Decorated with belongings from her college bedroom (with walls painted the same yellow, orange and green as her Towson digs), her colorful shop includes a handful of counter seats and a peaceful back patio for enjoying hummus platters, rice crust pizza, tacos and falafel or acai bowls. Rotating hummus flavors, such as coconut curry or everything bagel, are creamy and flavorful, and also available in containers to go.
237 N. Market St., 240-815-7175, hippychickhummus.com
Hootch & Banter
This dark, clubby eatery features Maryland beer on tap and unfussy cocktails, some made with local libations. For brunch, the classic Bee’s Knees (here spelled “Beez Knees”) is shaken with Forager Gin from Frederick’s McClintock Distilling Co. and is an unexpectedly good companion for the buttermilk lime pancakes. The restaurant recently doubled its bar space, with a morning coffee station on the second floor transforming into a lounge in the evening that serves cocktails and small plates.
49 S. Market St., 301-732-4971, hootchandbanter.com
The Pasta Palette
It’s hard to imagine you couldn’t find a pasta to please your palate at The Pasta Palette, an Instagram-worthy shop that showcases 100 varieties of dry and fresh-frozen noodles from Pappardelle’s, a Denver company. The garlic chive, basil garlic and Italian pesto blend pastas are three of the top sellers, and there’s high demand for the almost two dozen gluten-free options. Co-owners Terri and Mike Winder also own four other downtown Frederick food businesses; the newest is Good Juju, a smoothie and juice bar that serves vegan and gluten-free breakfast and lunch.
White Rabbit Gastropub
There’s a lot to like about this hip two-story gastropub that opened in July 2017. Thick slabs of candied bacon and a terrific take on avocado toast are among the appetizers, while inventive iterations of steak frites and steak sandwiches share menu space with plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. There are 38 beers and four wines on tap. The tap handles, affixed to a background mural of pennies, are made from antique Victorian cabinet handles. On the second floor, doors from old row houses in Baltimore serve as tables, while the seats are pews from a Washington, D.C., church.
18 Market Space, 240-651-1952, whiterabbitgastropub.com