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The Orchard on Market Street in Frederick - Dietary-Restriction Sensitive Open Since 1988


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For me, the trifecta is interesting food, good service and fair pricing. Add in some scenery for bonus points. The Orchard in the middle of downtown Frederick hit the trifecta and then some.

The Orchard is Vegetarian and Vegan friendly while offering a pretty wide selection of fish, shrip and chicken dishes. What's neat is that they aren't really tied to a particular food genre like Italian, rather they build their menu generally around fresh vegetables, then around the preparation type. So for instance, you have a few main groups, including Entrees, Salads, Stir-Fries, Sandwiches and Pita Melts. Within the Stir-Fry group you have Indonesian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, etc.

The onion ring appetizer was nicely done with thin rings and light batter. It suffered from being not enough for my hungry group of 5. The Monkfish over quinoa special had some spiciness to it and was excellent. We tried 2 Stir-Frys: The Polynesian was blessedly NOT that jarringly sweet; it allowed the vegies to shine through. The Indonesian was very good, maybe I could have added some more of the lime to my taste. My daughter got a chicken dish over brown rice that was also excellent. In all the dishes, the veggies were cooked but not to death. There are times when I understand that lightly cooked vegetables are the ideal; ones with snap. Other times, like here, I like a balance - our brains evolved in part so (and because) we can cook things - and The Orchard does.

Service was spot-on, as good as I would expect at the very best restaurants. Nothing missed and an enhancement to the experience.

The prices were very nice. We had an 1 app, 2 wines, 3 sodas, 4 meals, 1 soup, 1 salad, 1 kids meal - all for $20 a head pre-tip. Given the level of service and overall food quality, this was a very nice surprise.

As for scenery, the inside of the place is just sort of average. The entrance is right in the middle of downdown, across from the tasting room and near Volt. On a late afternoon like we had Saturday, it makes for a really nice walk and downtown experience.

The Orchard has been around for 25 years (how did I miss this place until now?!?!) and it shows. They really know their stuff and I look forward to returning.

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So glad to see your post on The Orchard in Frederick. I lived and worked in Frederick for almost 20 years, from the late 80s to the mid-2000s. The Orchard was the go-to spot for lunch for me and my professional colleagues for all of those years. I doubt that a week went by that I didn't have lunch there at least once. While they do serve meat, it is very vegetarian-friendly and most of the meals I had there were meat-free. I loved their Sesame Vinaigrette dressing so much that I wrote to Bon Appetit magazine to please acquire the recipe for their RSVP feature. I once bought a large container of the dressing from the restaurant while having lunch there, and a day later realized that I had left it under the table. Sad day. Their soups were also fantastic -- spiced with the flavors of the world. The stir-fries, as you point out, are really versatile and very good. The young, enthusiastic wait staff were always efficient. I have few regrets for having moved away from Frederick 7 years ago, but, not having The Orchard available for lunch, is one of them. I've been back from time-to-time for lunch with friends over those years and the quality and experience remained the same.

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While they do serve meat, it is very vegetarian-friendly and most of the meals I had there were meat-free.

...

Their soups were also fantastic -- spiced with the flavors of the world.

Yeah, I forgot to mention the awesome Moroccan chickpea soup that was a highlight, even on a warm summer day.

We chose the place as my wife really likes to keep as vegan as possible while my mother likes her burgers on the rare side. This place pleased them both without being .limiting to either.

When I met my wife....I dunno, about 15 years ago....our first date included dinner right across the street at a place that has changed hands a few times. My wife was vegetarian at the time and we've been back to frederick 100 times. How did I miss this place? I swear, I never even knew it existed until I couldn't get a Saturday ressie at Alexander's in Buckeystown.

I'll never have the culinary vocabulary that some of you have, so I'll never be able to write specific reviews about how a particular soup compares to a similar one served across the street or around the world. That's not me. I can easily tell, however, when and how a place is focused. What standards they have and how they survive. This seems one of the few places that isn't a chain, does things really well in all areas and thus has survived 25 years on a fair deal that isn't just more Sysco french fries. This is the kind of place that will do a person very well on a tuesday and not break the bank. Those, to me, are the real rarities, and worth a mention.

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We chose the place as my wife really likes to keep as vegan as possible while my mother likes her burgers on the rare side. This place pleased them both without being limiting to either.

How did I miss this place?

The Orchard opened at a time when there weren't that many good options in downtown Frederick. Over the years it has been overshadowed by the opening of newer, hipper, trendier, flashier places. Meanwhile, the Orchard trucked on and its value was always recognized by those of us who sought a flavorful, healthy meal in a laid-back setting and that offered something for everyone.

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[Yes indeed, thank you for posting this - I knew virtually nothing about The Orchard until you did. And don't be so hard on yourself as a reviewer - this was excellent.]

It really sounds like the company philosophy is, 'Care About The Customer.'

A pretty sad day-and-age when that's a novel thing, but these days it is.

My next visit to Frederick will be hopefully include a meal here - should The Orchard be in Italic?

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