A customer might expect deviled eggs, fried chicken and “endless cups of coffee” in a diner. But Family Meal , the third Maryland restaurant from celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio, is expanding the notion of comfort food by also offering pig’s ear in a frisee salad; bite-size chicken pot pie “fritters” sheathed in part with pie dough; and a twist on the state cake (who knew?). Smith Island Cake rises high with its multiple layers of vanilla sponge cake, coffee buttercream, crushed Heath bars and chocolate icing.
Patrons will get a chance to try those and other novelties when the doors of the former car dealership open at 880 N. East St. in Frederick Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Family Meal refers to restaurant staffs breaking bread together as well as members of a tribe gathering around a table, says Voltaggio, who owns the nearby Volt and Lunchbox . The “Top Chef” alum hopes to attract both locals and commuters to his 86-seat venue, much of it centered around a counter, with “great food, produced here” plus “a large parking lot.”
Alabama native Adam Howard, a former sous chef at Volt, serves as chef de cuisine. His southern accent finds its way into pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes and that fried chicken, which supposedly picks up punch from a pickle brine. The menu welcomes every appetite, however. Meat eaters can head for a burger, a pork chop with peach relish or flat iron steak offered with French fries cooked in – choose your flavor – canola oil, peanut oil or duck fat. Vegetarians can look forward to rye cavatelli tossed with brocolli rabe, pecorino and arugula from Volt’s garden. A section of the menu called B.F.D., or Breakfast For Dinner, finds buckwheat pancakes bulked up with pulled pork and duck egg poutine.
Family Meal is open seven days a week. Breakfast and lunch service commence shortly. Also on the horizon for Voltaggio: Range , slated for the Chevy Chase Pavilion and now expected to open in October.