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Family Meal, Updated American Classics in an Upscale "Big Boy" Atmosphere - N. East Street in Frederick


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There are lots of reasons why a restaurant could be having a slow evening.  It's summer and people are busy.  It's a gorgeous Friday evening and people outside.  Ashburn trends more toward families and people dine on the earlier side.

But I was surprised to walk into Family Meal in Ashburn on Friday night a few minutes after 8 and only see three tables occupied.  It WAS a gorgeous evening, so I didn't expect that we would be alone on the patio from five minutes after we sat down through the end of the evening.  And 8pm isn't that late.

The food was ok.  We couldn't really figure out why the pepperoni cheeseburger ($14.99) was named as such, with no identifiable pepperoni characteristic but it was an ok burger nonetheless.  The fried chicken was still good and a pretty good deal for 2 people to have dinner for 18$.  The green bean casserole was... uneaten - something was not quite right with it.

Except for the green bean casserole (which I've had there before and liked), it was an ok meal but even in Ashburn there are better options.  Unless Friday was an aberration I don't appear to be the only person that feels that way.

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Looks like Voltaggio is re-concepting his space in One Loudoun to be Aggio.  I couldn't tell you why Family Meal didn't work in the space - there were some inconsistencies but there are certainly worse restaurants at One Loudoun.  The last two times I was there to get takeout, there were never more than 2 or 3 tables seated.  The food remained ok until the end, but you would run into the type of problems you would expect with such little kitchen turnover (lengthy wait times for certain dishes, biscuits that weren't as fresh as they could have been, etc).

We could really use a good Italian restaurant - hope this is more of a commercial success.

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On 7/20/2016 at 8:46 AM, genericeric said:

Looks like Voltaggio is re-concepting his space in One Loudoun to be Aggio.  I couldn't tell you why Family Meal didn't work in the space - there were some inconsistencies but there are certainly worse restaurants at One Loudoun.  The last two times I was there to get takeout, there were never more than 2 or 3 tables seated.  The food remained ok until the end, but you would run into the type of problems you would expect with such little kitchen turnover (lengthy wait times for certain dishes, biscuits that weren't as fresh as they could have been, etc).

We could really use a good Italian restaurant - hope this is more of a commercial success.

Thanks for the heads-up. We hit Family Meal a while back, and while the meal overall was good, it just didn't have that "we need to get back there stat!" certain something. Execution was just a bit off. So why are the same people going to be running Aggio?

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After an impromptu drive up to Frederick on Saturday, we stopped at Family Meal on the way home. It had a 30 min wait at 6:30 for a table, but we grabbed the last 2 seats at the bar.  We pondered something more healthful, but the fried chicken called our name. For $15 you get 4 pieces with 2 biscuits, pickles and hot sauce. I was not charged more (as I expected to be) when I requested all white meat. My boyfriend also ordered the duck fat fries, which I tasted and were really good with some nice dipping sauces (ranch, old bay, and siracha mayo.)  The coating of the chicken was nice and crispy.

Sitting at the bar we were able to watch Bryan Voltaggio on the line for the first half hour or so. He either left or was in an office after that. I imagine he may have gone over to Volt. We also got to watch the bartender shake some great looking cocktails. I wished I was not driving, I would have definitely had one. The desserts looked great too, but that seemed like too much after chicken. I had enough for lunch the next day and a snack after that.

I would definitely go there again to try more of the menu if headed up that way.

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On 7/21/2016 at 11:00 AM, Bob Wells said:

Thanks for the heads-up. We hit Family Meal a while back, and while the meal overall was good, it just didn't have that "we need to get back there stat!" certain something. Execution was just a bit off. So why are the same people going to be running Aggio?

Well, the menu looks good but whoever reviewed the dessert section was asleep.

DOLCE | DESSERT

APPLE COBBLER pie crust, cinnamon sugar, maple ice cream | 8

SMSRETTO BRULE amaretto custard, cranberry gelee | 8

THREE TIER TIRAMISU espresso rum, mocha ice cream | 8

NEOPOLITIN ICE CREAM | 8

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15 hours ago, ArlFred said:

We should amend the thread title, since all the other locations closed and only the Frederick location remains. 

You are correct, ArlFred, and thanks for the tip about BonChon in Frederick also.

Now that both Family Meal and Graffiato have closed in Richmond, I wonder if Richmonders have a feeling similar to we do in DC with numerous New York closures.

On 10/4/2014 at 7:58 PM, DonRocks said:

Family Meal has just announced that they're planning on opening a third location in Baltimore (this, before opening their announced second location in Richmond).

The restaurant has been downgraded from Italic to Neutal - that's the bad news.

The good news is that in anticipation of it being something better than Sweetwater Tavern -  at least for now - Family Meal is being tentatively listed as the top American restaurant chain in the Multiple Locations Dining Guide, just ahead of Nordstrom Cafe.

Congratulations.

Now that Family Meal has discontinued its operations in Ashburn, Baltimore, and Richmond - a clear attempt at regional, if not national, expansion - I'm going to go ahead and raise it back to Italic in the Dining Guide. Reading through this thread, it's clear to me that people feel the quality had taken a hit with expansion; I'm giving the extremely talented Bryan Voltaggio the benefit of the doubt with this upgrade, as he's now better able to supervise quality control.

When this restaurant first opened in Frederick, it was really, really good - much better than Unconventional Diner is now. This is near the top of my list of restaurants outside the DC area for a return visit. Doggone if I didn't drive right by it two weeks ago; we decided to hit the Park-n-Dine in Hancock, instead (possibly the only two people in history to hit Park-n-Dine and Cantler's in the same weekend).

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Dinner here Saturday night was underwhelming. The deviled eggs tasted like they had been waiting in the fridge for a day too long. The fried chicken was tasty, and a generous portion, but the hanger steak I ordered was brought to me rarer than rare and it was a 4 or 5 oz portion at best. I've never been served such a tiny steak. When I sent it back because it was under-cooked, the same sliced steak was returned to me after having been warmed up. Was it wrong to expect a new steak? 

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The one remaining Family Meal location has been closed for months. Frederick County and City have permitted restaurants to open indoors at 50% capacity, and have given restaurants great leeway in outdoor dining (this location has a huge parking lot). Their email mailing list was never very active but there's been nothing for months.  I have a sneaking suspicion FM is closed for good. If so, RIP. 

(More info: I live in the neighborhood, and have personally not seen it open at all since the shutdown orders in March. )

Edited by ArlFred
More info.
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