Less than an hour’s drive from Baltimore and Washington, DC, historic downtown Frederick shines – a bright star offering mountain vistas, a mini metropolis with a vibrant Main Street community, theatre, hiking trails, culinary food tours and a plethora of historic sites to engage all ages.
Over the years, downtown Frederick has become a vibrant restaurant town offering local farm-to-table fare to Chef Bryan Voltaggio’s high end, culinary artistry on a plate at Volt. Each year, the first full week in March, visitors and locals alike can enjoy specialty dining during Frederick’s Restaurant Week kicking off Monday, March 2nd and ending on Sunday, March 8th.
It has been a while since I’ve been to Frederick and a quick walk down Carroll Creek highlighted both the old and the new. Ice sculptures were all along the pathway, remnants of their Fire in Ice First Saturday celebration in February – an annual free event. Grab yourself a reservation at one of 19 restaurants participating in Frederick Restaurant Week and indulge in March’s First Saturday celebration – Shop Small, Shop Local – featuring over 200 shops, galleries and of course, restaurants.
A number of the media met on an unusually balmy day in February at the Visit Frederick Tourist Center where we were introduced to Frederick County’s Distillery Lane Ciderworks and tasted their handcrafted ciders before a walking tour of a handful of the participating restaurants.
My group went to the Wine Kitchen on the Creek tasting the Winter Harvest Salad, Seaside Salt oysters with pearl onion mignonette and for the brave a hit of their W. K. Frederick’s Elixir of Capsicum which contains ghost peppers. We continued our walking culinary tour at the established Italian American restaurant Nido’s Ristorante where their chef has been at the stove for 27 years even though ownership has changed recently. It still holds that 1960 retro feel of an Italian American restaurant with red and white checked tablecloths, pitchers of wine with accompanying old jelly glasses and bountifully filled plates. While there you should pick up jars of Nido’s house marinara and pasta sauce. Nido’s is known for their white pizza and spaghetti and meatballs, a bit reminiscent of the old Italian family Sunday meal, but their pear, Gorgonzola cheese and candied walnut salad and short rib sandwich are very much current fare.
All those on the media tour met up at JoJo’s Restaurant & Tap House for a taste of their deconstructed Yellowfin Tuna Taco and Chicken and Spinach Burger which are on their Frederick Restaurant Week Menu. Frederick County Restaurant Week participants are offering two course lunches $15.15 and/or three course lunches $20.15. Dinner options at most locations are two course dinner $20.15 and/or three course dinner $30.15.
Reservations at the participating restaurants are highly recommended– www.frederickrestaurantweek.com