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“Can't wait to go again” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Family Meal

Family Meal
880 North East Street, Frederick, MD 21701
+1 301-378-2895
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Ranked #30 of 322 Restaurants in Frederick
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: American, Diner
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Chef Bryan Voltaggio's modern American diner offers affordable all-day meals in a former Frederick car dealership transformed by clever design and raw, natural materials into an open, airy space, with a long counter fronting an open kitchen; its menu elevates the comfort-food canon, while adult beverages include boozy milkshakes as well as wine, beer and cocktails. Signature dishes include Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits, Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy and Duck Fat Fried Potatoes.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Can't wait to go again”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

Considering the price tag for the extremely tasteful and unusual meal we were served, Family Meal deserves five stars, but, unjustly, I give it four because of it unattractive surrounding.

This was our first visit to Frederick, and following our friends' recommendation we went to Family Meal for lunch. We were disappointed by the setting, which was outside the lively atmosphere of downtown Frederick, and seemed very uninspiring, even shabby. However, through the glass walls, we could see the place was packed and the smell of the food inside totally swayed us - we decided to wait, with two kids, for an hour. Fortunately, our table was ready in half an hour, before that we drove through the downtown deciding where to walk after lunch, and we were back in time not to miss our call, as we were told we would lose the table if we are not there.

Family Meal was worth the wait. We liked the modern, clean design, the casual atmosphere, with many couples with kids, the service was excellent, but most of all we LOVED the food. Almost every order was a hit - fried chicken salad sandwich was fantastic - moist, fresh and delicious. The grilled chicken sandwich with Gruyere cheese, mushrooms and red pepper was just slightly too heavy for my taste but I finished every last bite, my Dad was very pleased with his eggplant sandwich. I regret we didn't order fried chicken plate for our kids, I could see it on many tables around us. The spaghetti and meatballs for kids was tasty, with nice addition of fresh fruit salad, but probably the most average thing we tasted, everything else had a twist that was a clear sign this was no ordinary restaurant, but had a touch of chef magic. The duck fat fries was yummy.

Finally - desert. By all means try the Earl Gray chocolate doughnuts... Lemon tart was delicious too, apple cobbler was fine but I expected more because you quickly develop high expectations from this restaurant. Bear in mind that menu on the website does not totally correspond the actual offer, the waitress, who was friendly, attentive and offered good recommendations, told us the menu changes, depending on the season and ingredients available.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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211 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    72
    41
    16
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Elllicott City
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Didn't live up to expectations”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2013 via mobile

It was a fast food joint. Fries were supposed to be excellent except the were soft. My chicken sandwich was basil infused and to overpowered there. Been there, done that and won't be back.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Delicious break off the interstate”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2013 via mobile

We stopped on our way to Pennsylvania for lunch--- and will be stopping on our way home for dessert!! For lunch I had the fried chicken salad-- the menus online weren't the same in the store--- my husband hd the BBQ and we shared the duck fat fries. Everything was full of flavor and rich!

We were sitting at the counter and watched all of the desserts being hand prepared. Wow -- what a selection. The cheesecake, sundaes and shakes were works of art.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Wow”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

The food here is fantastic. I had the fried chicken, the duck fat fried french fries, biscuits, and sampled my wife's BBQ sandwich, my mother-in-law's mushroom risotto, and my son's huge kids meal cheeseburger, which was more like a small(ish) bacon-onion tomato gourmet cheeseburger on a sesame bun and came with fruit, salad, and french fries. For dessert, we had the hazelnut donuts with coffee ice cream. They also have great beers on tap. This is the first place, for example, I've ever seen that had Hell or High Watermelon on tap (not to mention Rogue Dead Guy and local Flying Dog). Usually, you can find Hell or High Watermelon in cans -- great summer wheat beer.

My only complaint -- and it's not really a complaint because I brought it on myself -- is that the food is very fatty, and I ate way too much. The other thing is that while this is marketed as a "family" restaurant, I didn't notice anything particularly kid-friendly. They're not unfriendly to kids, but there's nothing special done for them like at other places. There are wipes in the restroom and you can be as loud as you want. But that's not exactly catering to families. Free stuff for kids - face painting and balloons are big draws at, say, Silver Diner in Rockville, etc., and they have great local food as well.

But I'd go back to Family Meal... and it'd be even better without the kids.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Acton, MA
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
80 helpful votes 80 helpful votes
“Not Exactly Top Chef”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

Bryan Voltaggio, the owner of this place, was the older of two brothers who contended for the title of Top Chef several seasons back, on the TV coking competition. Bryan's brother, Mike, won, though Bryan acquitted himself well.

I was in town to attend an evening wedding, but reckoning dinner would be less than memorable, I went to Family Meal for brunch, this being Sunday. This is meant to be downhome cooking with some touches of both French cuisine along with the prevailing Southern style. The menu has shrimp and grits along with Southern fried chicken and biscuits, but they also serve potatoes fried in duck fat, a Southwestern (France) specialty. There is a pretty decent roster of mainly local craft brews, a menu of elaborate cocktails I steered clear of, and a very short wine list (one Cava and about 5 reds and 5 whites, all served by the glass or bottle). I went for the chicken and biscuits, which was served with a small cup of very good homemade pickles of different varieties and a cup of hot sauce. I asked for all dark meat, and got two drumsticks and two thighs, along with two biscuits. Craving more greenery, I also ordered the field greens. The chicken was good: crispy skin and moist interior, but little to distinguish it from Popeye's or Bojangles'. The greens were terrific: cooked for a long time with a pot liquor redolent of smoked pork. It was a mountain of food, and I ended up taking home two pieces of chicken and a biscuit to eat on the plane ride home the next day.

It is a big and fairly noisy place in what was once a car dealer's showroom, but redone in a clean, modernist style. The service was friendly and efficient and the price tag not too painful: $23 with tax and tip (I had only iced tea to drink, so a beer or two would push you up into the mid-thirties).

For what it is - a place to go for a casual, satisfying lunch or brunch - it is better than OK, but if you are looking to experience the cooking wizardry of a Top Chef finalist, you won't find it here.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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