The present location of the Barbara Fritchie restaurant with its landmark two story tall Candy Cane signage opened in 1960 and is just to the west of Frederick on Route 40. (The original Barbara Fritchie opened as a candy store in downtown Frederick around 1910!)
Who was Barbara Fritchie? She was a real person who lived in Frederick, Maryland. She became a legend as a result of poem named “Barbara Fritchie” after her which was written by John Greenleaf Whittier. The poem describes the moment when the elderly Fritchie waved a US flag in the face of confederate troops who marched thru Frederick as part of Robert E. Lee’s great Maryland campaign of 1862 which ended in the singularly bloody battle at Antietam. Perhaps the most famous line of the poem was Barbara declaring as she kept her flag in the air:
‘Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,’ she said.”
The Barbara Fritchie restaurant is a large low slung single story building. The front doors with an odd steel locking mechanism left us with some trepidation about the place as we entered. Inside the doors, there was a huge oval counter with seating with an interesting display of all sorts of pies and cakes in the middle. Along the windowed front wall, there’s a long row of free standing booths while at one end of the building is a small private dining room which appears to be a favorite meeting place for the local Rotary club.
The menu was as large and diverse as any diner that we’ve eaten at. Breakfast is served all day regardless of the hour and eggs, omelets, and pancakes range mostly from $3 – $7. A half dozen “made here” soups are $3/cup and $4/bowl. Six large entree salads range from $8 – $11 (and you can a cup of soup added for just $2.50). Two dozen sandwiches mostly $4 – $8 include chips and pickle with optional no cost lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo available (a side of hot fries will set you back an additional $1.50). Most entrees were in the $9 – $12 range (but with crab cakes or surf n’ turf priced at $18)
A separate sheet of specials caught our eye (and particularly the Chicken ‘N Dumplings for $10 which my friend Tom opted for). Paul decided on the Turkey Pot Pie ($9 – with choice of regular creamy cole slaw or “pepperslaw”; Paul went for the “creamy”) while John settled for the Summer Grilled Chicken Salad with seasonal fruit ($10).
At the last minute, we all decided to get a cup of the special soup of the day – Kale Potato Sausage. All three of us were mighty impressed and thought it was one heck of a tasty soup! Definite Thumbs Up!
Paul’s Turkey Pot pie was good and satisfying and put a smile on his face. It looked like that there was a good amount of Turkey inside the pot pie and he also liked the creamy cole slaw!
Tom’s Chicken ‘n Dumplings came with a hefty garden side salad. Regretfully, the amount of chicken in his Chicken ‘n Dumplings could have been a lot more plentiful. It also was a bit on the bland side (at least judging from the amount of hot sauce that Tom stirred in! <Wink>) Fortunately, his meal also came with a couple of “baked here” rolls and butter that he managed to finish off.
John’s salad though proved to be a “Thumbs Up!” hit with him. There was a fair amount of chicken but there was also a generous helping of pecans, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries added on top of the fresh greens. Our server even tossed in two big packet’s of Ken’s brand low fat ranch dressing and some special crackers.
The cost of our meal was so reasonable that despite the decent portion sizes, we decided to opt for dessert. Tom and Paul decided to share a piece of blue berry pie
By the time we finished up, we had been taken by good food, retro atmosphere, friendly and attentive waitress and very reasonable prices that felt like value for money spent. If you’re in Frederick and looking to escape the crowds downtown, the Barbara Fritchie restaurant could be just the place to try!
FACTS: Barbara Fritchie Restaurant; 1513 W. Patrick Street (aka Rte 40); (301) 662-2500 ; http://barbarafritchie.wordpress.com/ ; Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 am to 9 pm (Breakfast served all day); No alcohol; Adjacent free parking lot in front