My husband and I checked out Barbara Fritchie's place when we first moved to town, thinking, "Oh, what a quaint little local restaurant. Let's get into the local culture." Big mistake! This place is run down and the service is SLOW. The slogan outsdie says to stop in for a story, but our waitress didn't feel like talking. She was gruff. For a long time I wondered how this place stayed in business, but I actually met a man in the grocery store who told me he goes there every day for coffee. I held my tongue and smiled. Maybe they have good coffee?
Yeah -- it's a diner. Therefore -- diner food. I have been to this restaurant only once (my father's idea), and I wasn't impressed. The food seems processed, greasy, and overcooked. I swear the green beans I got were taken from the can and overcooked. The staff is really friendly, though, and the diner atmosphere is kind of fun. So, I guess it depends what you want -- good food, or good fun. Frankly, I would look for a place with both.
This is a decent barber shop for a quick haircut, but don't go on Saturday -- they are mobbed. The waiting are is small, cramped, and uncomfortable, too. You can even end up standing for a while. I think you can make appointments, but they basically do walk-ins. My husband likes it, but I have not been happy with the haircuts they gave my son. The staff varies from very friendly to downright grumpy, so it's pot luck there. You can request specific people, but your best bet for a quick cut is to take what they give you.
I Made This is a drop-in ceramics store that allows you to pick your own pre-made ceramic piece, glaze it anyway you like, and then they fire it for you. It is kind of pricey, though. You can't do much of anything for less than $20. They offer a birthday party package for children that limits which pieces the children can choose. The staff doesn't help you much, and it is actually kind of tough for children to do, so I don't recommend taking a group of kids there, unless you have adults to help. Come to think of it, the staff is not particularly friendly, either. My daughter loves to go there, but I quit going because I didn't like the people.
At the recommendation of our builder, we used Innerspace for our cabinets and flooring. They have a wonderful selection, and they offer good prices to builders. We were lucky enough that our builder did not mark this stuff up, but I do not think that is common practice. My biggest compaint about them is their hours. They are open only during the day, and they have short Saturday hours, as well. For my husband and I, that was very difficult while we were trying to pick stuff out, since he works during the day, and Innerspace wasn't exactly convenient for us to get to anyway. They guy they had for tile installation was the most skilled, most helpful and most courtious man I have every met.
The city buffet is a Chinese food fest that seems to encourage you to overeat. They offer a wide variety of foods at the buffet -- most are high-fat and unhealthy -- particularly for a Chinese place. The atmosphere could be more cozy, and they layout makes it feel more like a feeding trough to me than a restaurant. There are other Chinese buffets in town that I would go to first. Their prices are comparable to everywhere else, and the decor is stark.
This nursery has a wonderful selection of plants and trees that have been cared for properly and lovingly. The owner is almost always there to answer questions -- though I wish he would label things a little better. I have to constantly track him down and throw questions at hime, and after a while, I can tell he gets tired of it -- but nothing is labeled as to its name or with a pricetag. Their prices are great, lower than most other places. It is definitely worth the drive.
Surreybrook is a place you have to visit at least once. The most fabulous thing there is something you cannot buy. Thye have a beautiful children's garden with a bush-maze and a treehouse. They offer Easter Egg Hunts in the garden each year. The actual shopping area is nicely stocked with unique offerings, but nothing is labeled and it is hard to tell what you are looking at and for what price. You have to constantly badger the woman there for this information, and you won't like the prices she quotes you. I bought some stuff there once thinking it was perrenial, but since it didn't come back -- I guess it was annual. Some labeling would be nice.
Panera Bread makes your mouth water when you walk in the door. The one in Frederick is a little smaller than others I have been to (for example, the Leesburg, VA, one is quite large), but the quality is there. They offer almost anything you can imagine, from Frapaccino-like drinks, to hot chocolate and coffee, sandwiches, cookies and delicious treats, bagels and breads. It is a great place to meet up with a friend, but they are often crowded.
This store is nice for me because it is close and convenient. I tend to prefer the much larger stores I have been to, like Family Christian (Gaithersburg) or Provident (Hagerstown), BUT there are none of those in Frederick. Christian Light has very helpful and friendly staff, and since they are small and cannot carry as much, they are more than willing to order things for you. Their prices are a little high, but they do run sales on some items. I am often pleasantly surprised when I got to check out that the items I am buying is one sale -- perhaps as an improvement suggestion they could mark them better in the first place?