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“Good place for meals with a friend but I would not take my kid.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Family Meal

Family Meal
880 North East Street, Frederick, MD
301-378-2895
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Ranked #29 of 319 restaurants in Frederick
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Newest restaurant by top chef, Bryan Voltaggio....a local sensation!
Frederick, Maryland
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Good place for meals with a friend but I would not take my kid.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

My first visit to Family Meal was with a friend. She made a reservation for us but when we got there the place was packed and we were told we'd have to wait if we wanted a booth, which we did. Okay, fine. We waited. And waited. And waited. Meanwhile other parties came in and were seated, including a large party who did NOT have an reservation and made a fuss about it being busy (on a Saturday night!) saying they could not believe there was no place for them to sit. So, of course the squeaky wheel was seated. Meanwhile we two (who had thought ahead and made a reservation) were still sitting. Waiting.

Finally we were told a booth was ready so we were seated. Our service was decent, although a little slow. The server himself was nice. He was friendly and always had a smile for us. And it was a busy night so I forgave the slow service somewhat. It gave my friend and I time to catch up. Although we did sometimes have to shout because this place is LOUD.

We both ordered cocktails and iced tea and water. The water situation is strange. Glass bottles of water sit in sweaty tubs of ice throughout the restaurant. But no ice is served with the drinks. So you get somewhat chilled water poured in your glass but it doesn't stay chilled for long. Not so good on a hot summer night. Add to the fact that we were seated in front of huge glass windows (the whole place is huge glass windows) which (despite the lowered blinds) had us sitting there sweating in the evening sun.

We ordered the chicken pot pie fritters as an app. These came highly recommended by so many people that I guess my expectations of them were too high. They were tiny. Not really a big enough portion to share (aren't apps generally for sharing?) and they were not quite what I was expecting. I think I assumed they would have some kind of pastry crust (pot pie crust) but they did not. It was a battered and deep fried ball of pot pie filling. Tasted good but did not live up to the hype.

My friend ordered breakfast (which is served all day) but when she saw my fried chicken she regretted her menu choice. Their fried chicken is delicious. I would definitely go back and get a carryout order of the chicken. The hot sauce was a nice touch and the cheese biscuits were great. The house made pickles were kind of blah. I normally love all varieties of pickled vegetables but I left some of these behind. The chicken portion was hearty and, I thought, worth the price. I like a strongly seasoned chicken so I didn't mind the saltiness.

Dessert for me was amazing. I got the Earl Grey donuts and they were delicious. My friend's dessert (lemon raspberry tart) was too sour for her to finish, so I shared the donuts.

The meal was a bit expensive but it was a special occasion and we both looked at the menu online first so there was no sticker shock. Overall it was a good meal. The fritters were the only disappointment for me and even so they were still tasty.

The restaurant itself is small inside. Not a lot of seating, in my opinion. Certainly not enough seating to live up to the name "Family." This restaurant is trying to be a diner but also trying to be upscale and the combination doesn't really work all that well. The reason I would go back for carryout chicken is because eating at the restaurant itself wasn't all that pleasant. I would rather take that delicious food and enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. The place is hot and loud and (despite the presence of some children) I would not take my own child there. He has a low tolerance for loud noises so I think he would be overwhelmed. And the kid's menu seems like a bit of an afterthought. Standard kid food. Not the concept food that the grown ups get. And no kid cups either. Children get large glass cups like everyone else. I saw more than one parent helping their child take a drink because the cups were too big and the adults were afraid of them being broken. While I understand Voltaggio's disdain for the typical plastic kid's cups....smaller cups for kids would be nice.

The bathrooms are very nice. Changing table complete with diapers and wipes is available in the ladies' room. I can't speak for the men's room though I would hope, as a dad, that Chef Bryan thought to put them in there as well.

So overall, A- for food and drinks, C+ for atmosphere.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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190 reviews from our community

70% Recommend
    70
    63
    38
    14
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Excellent choice in Frederick”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

This is our second time eating here; both times the service and food were very good. The Shrimp and Grits was excellent and my burger was cooked perfectly, albeit not very flavorful. The fries and special sauces are out of this world - a must try for fry lovers.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Family Meal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

Five of us dined there last week, including two from out of town. Everything was wonderful. I had the linguine with clams and mussels - the pasta was divine. The fried chicken was perfect! Another in our group tried grits for the first time and loved them. And the brussel spouts were the best brussel spouts I've ever eaten.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“A Welcome Surprise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2013

Looking for a simple lunch before antique shopping in Frederick and stumbled upon this lovely place. Bright and sunny, huge windows, open kitchen. A feeling of energy. Very attentive staff. And really good food -- had a great eggplant sandwich, unexpectedly tasty. Will definitely stop here the next time we're in town.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Don't let the name fool you..”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

This place was awesome! For some reason I wasn't sure what to expect based on the name of this restaurant... We recently went with a large group(18 of us) for Sunday brunch and the staff was extremely accommodating, the food was excellent and the atmosphere was unique. The menu offered both traditional entrees (fried chicken) and some unique options (duck fat fried potatoes and chicken pot pie fritters). It is obvious that the ingredients that are used are fresh and high quality. They offer a "share plate" which allows for a family style meal if wanted. The kids meals were very reasonably priced and were huge (grilled cheese, salad, fries and fruit). My husband got the shrimp and grits and there were 7 large shrimp included. I got the fried chicken and couldn't finish all of it - the portions are large! All of this in an atmosphere that is sophisticated, welcoming and simple. Would definitely go here again when visiting Frederick.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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