Best of Frederick 2019 Winners

By April Bartel, Guy Fletcher and Nancy Luse | Photography by Turner Photography Studio | Posted on 02.08.19 – Feature, Food & Drink, History, Lifestyles, People & Places, Travel

Honoring the best of Frederick County (and, in some cases, beyond) is a 27-year tradition here at Frederick Magazine. But it’s a tradition that has seen quite a bit of change over the years.

That’s because times change, tastes change, the whims of the public change. Categories come and categories go. (We would love to bring back “Best Dance Bar,” but we need some more dance bars!) The current list of categories is 115, our largest ever, but we are always open to adding more, so please keep those ideas coming.

On the following 26 pages you will find what our readers believe are the best things in Frederick County—the best food, the best entertainment, the best services. Sure, it’s open for debate, but the readers have spoken—through thousands and thousands of online votes cast last fall—and here are their results.

To make things easier for you to navigate, we have brought back this year our index below that lets you find the categories that interest you and their corresponding page numbers. Now, on to this year’s winners!


Overall Restaurant: The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room is worthy of superlatives. Known for imaginative regional cuisine, the menu is ever-changing. Everything from small plates to steaks and seafood are exquisitely crafted, paired with sides that are more than an afterthought. The expanded wine tap system is a taster’s delight. The floor-to-ceiling windows peer out onto the heart of the historic district from North Market and Church streets, making it a great place to see and be seen.

2nd Place: Dutch’s Daughter

3rd Place: Ayse Meze Lounge


Steak: The Tasting Room

2nd Place: The Red Horse

3rd Place: Madrones


Sunday Brunch: Dutch’s Daughter

2nd Place: Family Meal

3rd Place: Ragin’ Reef


Special Occasion/Romantic: Dutch’s Daughter

An enduring favorite since 1984, Dutch’s Daughter is known for gracious service, generous portions and plentiful options to indulge in Maryland’s signature crustacean, including the category-winning crab cakes and indulgent crab Imperial. There are five dining rooms, each comfortably appointed with a custom fireplace. On the lower level, the Dungeon is a cozy, casual alternative. Sample numerous specialties at Sunday brunch—decadent crab and cheese eggs, house-made soups, flaky salmon, prime rib and mountains of crisp bacon.

2nd Place: The Tasting Room

3rd Place: VOLT


Crab Cake: Dutch’s Daughter

2nd Place: Ragin’ Reef

3rd Place: May’s


Asian: Lucky Corner

Award-winning chef/owner Pha Huynh honed his skills with family first, then with 25 years at the luxury Grand Hyatt Washington, before finding the perfect place to launch his own restaurant. Now a family affair with two locations, Lucky Corner blends classic Vietnamese favorites with pan-Asian and American influences. Fans come back again and again for the black pepper shrimp and scallops.

2nd Place: China Garden

3rd Place: Lazy Fish


Kid-Friendly: Family Meal

“Family” is right in the name, but the menu boasts elevated comfort food that will please patrons of all ages, sans a cartoon mascot. Duck fat fries, served crisp and golden, and tummy-tempting chicken pot pie fritters are fan favorites. And the adult milkshakes will make you feel like a kid again. Family Meal is about rediscovering the joy of good food in good company.

2nd Place: Silver Diner

3rd Place: Madrones


Seafood: Avery’s Maryland Grille

Fans describe Avery’s as “fresh,” “friendly” and “delicious.” There’s steak and ribs, pit beef and wings, but the real star is the seafood, including all-you-can-eat blue crabs and other daily specials. Hefty and juicy, dusted with Old Bay, picking crabs is a finger-licking treasure hunt. Or, load the table with Avery’s wood-grilled rockfish, ice-cold PBR, shrimp and fried oysters with funnel cake fries for dessert.

2nd Place: May’s

3rd Place: Dutch’s Daughter


Latin-American: Cacique

The word “Cacique” denotes a pre-Columbian tribal chief, which is how this place approaches Spanish/Mexican cuisine—like a boss. The menu lists Spanish classics, like paella de marisco and steak realeza with mushroom-wine sauce, alongside infinitely popular Mexican delights such as enchiladas, tacos and chimichangas. Sizzling fajitas carry an aura of smoky mesquite from the grill. Cacique is part of the Urbana Hospitality Corporation.

2nd Place: Cafe Bueno

3rd Place: Taco Bar


Specialty: Isabella’s Taverna & Tapas Bar

Dubbed “A Slice of Spain” this Downtown hot spot is known for tapas—small plates for snacking and sharing—with a menu that changes regularly, sometimes daily. Diners may find pulpo (octopus), langosta (lobster) or cordero (lamb) among the featured dishes, but the gambas al pil pil (garlicy shrimp with caramelized onions) is always in demand. Paella is served daily.

2nd Place: Ayse Meze Lounge

3rd Place: Sumittra Thai Cuisine


Lunch: Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop

This little shop is about as close to heaven as a cheese lover can get. There’s bottled wine and shelves loaded with other tasty tidbits, plus serving ware, but Crisafulli’s made-to-order menu hits the spot. It’s a tight list of pure, gooey goodness on freshly baked bread. Combinations like gorgonzola dolce and fig jam satisfy with sweet-salty balance while lemony goat cheese plays counterpoint to preserved vegetables.

2nd Place: Crabapples New York Delicatessen

3rd Place: a.k.a. Friscos


Food Truck: Knife & A Kitchen

Classically trained chef Rory Watts II lets his imagination soar, using ingredients from regional farms and food producers. He’s earned a following with creative offerings such as bulgogi burgers, beer-braised brisket with garlic and herbs, and Mexican street corn salad. Fans eagerly await his return to the food truck scene this spring.

2nd Place: Boxcar Burgers

3rd Place: Blues BBQ Co.


Italian: Manalù Italian Restaurant

Manalù is a place where the hand-tossed pizza Napoletana is flash-fired in a custom-built brick oven and the red sauce simmers for hours as the Pontecorvo family shares favorites from their homeland. Pizzas are dotted with authentic mozzarella di bufala, while chef Marco hand-rolls delicate pasta flavored with squid ink, spinach or sunny egg. The manicotti, stuffed shells and ravioli are all made on site.

2nd Place: il Porto

3rd Place: Pistarro’s


Deli/Carryout: Crabapples New York Delicatessen

Established in 1988 by a native New Yorker, Crabapples deli is a fixture in Downtown Frederick … and on the “Best of Frederick” list. Hankering for a knish or Reuben on rye? Enthusiasts love this place for their high-quality meats and cheeses by the pound or in sandwiches, freshly made salads and soups, including gluten-free and vegetarian options. Eat in or take out for breakfast and lunch.

2nd Place: 7th Street Sandwich Shop

3rd Place: a.k.a Friscos


Burrito: Cafe Bueno

Authentic Mexican food begins with authentic ingredients at Cafe Bueno on East Street. Meats are hand-cut and marinated, and a variety of salsas are made in house. Burritos are a particular specialty, hefty and packed with meat, cheese, sour cream and beans, rolled in a flour tortilla. The place also gets high marks for its stuffed tortas (sandwiches), savory tacos and value lunch specials.

2nd Place: Mexicali Cantina

3rd Place: La Paz Mexican Restaurant


Service: VOLT

Creativity and passion earned executive chef/owner Brian Voltaggio a national reputation, but it’s the meticulously crafted food and sophisticated atmosphere that brings visitors back to VOLT time and again. A naturalized garden and regional producers supply seasonal ingredients for a playful, changing menu. Housed in a Victorian-era mansion, everything about VOLT speaks of refined elegance, making it the standard for high-end dining.

2nd Place: Dutch’s Daughter

3rd Place: Madrones


Bagel: Beans & Bagels Coffee Bar

You can’t rush a really good bagel. This specialty requires a quiet rest and a quick dip in boiling water before baking to achieve its signature chewiness. Luckily, Beans & Bagels Coffee Bar knows the trick. Schmear them with cream cheese, load on the lox or pile them with your favorite fixings for the ultimate grab and go meal.

2nd Place: Zi Pani

3rd Place: Panera Bread


Breakfast: Cafe Nola

Any time is good for breakfast, especially at Cafe Nola. The restaurant serves modern American fare with plentiful veg-friendly options and serious coffee in a casual atmosphere. Traditional breakfast dishes like French toast and biscuits under sausage gravy share the spotlight with innovative twists on eggs Benedict, smoked hash and “titan tots” filled with bacon and gouda, bedecked with a sunny side up egg. Lunch and dinner are served, too.

2nd Place: Silver Diner

3rd Place: Glory Dough & Diner


Sandwich: Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop

2nd Place: Crabapples New York Delicatessen

3rd Place: South Market Sandwich Co.


Worth the drive: Antrim 1844

Antrim 1844 is a historic 24-acre Taneytown estate that racks up awards. Steeped in romance, its Smokehouse Restaurant is a sophisticated interpretation of contemporary American cuisine. The wine cellar holds more than 20,000 bottles for perfect pairings. It offers buffet options along with three- or four-course lunches, as well as dinner. It is part of the Distinguished Inns and Restaurants of North America.

2nd Place: Bavarian Inn

3rd Place: Shamrock


Sushi: China Garden

Whether it’s eat-in, take-out or delivery, China Garden satisfies fans’ craving for Chinese specialties and fresh sushi, including dinner specials and lunch combos. The place is known for generous portions, reasonable prices and extra touches like complimentary house-made pickles, crispy noodles, soothing hot tea and sweet orange slices. It’s reputation among regulars earns it a perennial repeat place on the “Best of Frederick” list.

2nd Place: Lazy Fish

3rd Place: Old Dominion Grill and Sushi


Hamburger: Wag’s

Unpretentious and unabashedly American, nothing satisfies like a burger and fries. And Wag’s earns kudos for both. Customized burgers start with ¼ pound of freshly ground beef for flavor that stands on its own. You can load them up with bacon, veggies and a variety of cheeses or send them into overdrive with a generous slathering of house-made chili—another fan favorite.

2nd Place: Beef N Buns N Paradise

3rd Place: Madrones


Chili: Wag’s

2nd Place: Black Hog BBQ

3rd Place: Oscar’s Alehouse


Overall Barbeque: Black Hog BBQ

There are three Black Hog BBQ locations dedicated to sweet-spicy meatiness: South Market Street, Market Square and Urbana Village Center. There is Carolina chopped pork, Arkansas brisket and chicken wings, along with smoked sausage and pit ham. The St. Louis-cut smoked ribs take top honors, too, served Memphis-style (dry rubbed) or Kansas City (wet). The smell alone will make carnivores’ heads swim with delight.

2nd Place: CarterQue BBQ & Grilling Co.

3rd Place: P.I.G.S. (Pork Is Good Stuff)


Barbeque Ribs: Black Hog BBQ

2nd Place: CarterQue BBQ & Grilling Co.

3rd Place: P.I.G.S.


Dessert: The Main Cup

The Main Cup, formerly Main’s ice cream, is an enduring feature along the National Historic Road in Middletown. The place serves a full menu of steaks and burgers, pizza, tacos, salads and brunch, but dessert captures the heart. Selections may include a cozy and satisfying toffee bread pudding or a chocolate lava cake overflowing with decadence. There’s even a version of Maryland’s own many-layered Smith Island Cake.

2nd Place: Cakes To Die For

3rd Place: Madrones


Chicken Wings: Glory Days Grill

The Wing Alarm Meter (WAM) at Glory Days Grill ranks 11 specialty sauces from mild to wild, with teriyaki and honey Old Bay at one end of the spectrum to garlic buffalo and straightforward “hot” at the other. Guests can choose regular, boneless or grilled boneless wings. There’s even a version with fried cauliflower.

2nd Place: Buffalo Wild Wings

3rd Place: Black Hog BBQ


Bakery: Angelcakes

Sisters Lindy Angel and Jolynn Wright are the force behind Angelcakes. Pure, simple ingredients—fresh butter, Madagascar bourbon vanilla and European chocolate—make this bakery a standout. In addition to custom-crafted wedding and all-occasion cakes, patrons can indulge one cupcake at a time or by the dozen. The Shab Row cottage location is open Thursday through Sunday for your buttercream fix.

2nd Place: Cakes To Die For

3rd Place: Stone Hearth Bakery


Cocktail: Hootch & Banter

Lively and sophisticated with a speak-easy vibe, Hootch & Banter’s cocktails are a hit among patrons for their quirky and creative mixes. Local spirits feature prominently. The “Guinevere’s Betrayal” incorporates Dragon Distillery’s Lancelot’s Flaming Love Mango while Tenth Ward Smoked Corn Whiskey livens the winter margaritas. Even the juice is freshly squeezed, and flavored syrups are made onsite. Open late every night.

2nd Place: The Tasting Room

3rd Place: Brewer’s Alley


Ice Cream/Frozen Dessert: Beef N Buns N Paradise

Beef N Buns N Paradise is an old-school favorite for burgers made from fresh, local beef, plus subs, sandwiches and, of course, “real” ice cream, certified hormone-free. Patrons can choose from more than 40 flavors and 30 toppings for malts, sundaes and old-fashioned shakes. Mix it up with flavors such as birthday cake, black raspberry, bubblegum, toasted coconut and creamsicle.

2nd Place: Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream

3rd Place: South Mountain Creamery


Chocolate: The Perfect Truffle

Visually stunning, each bite from The Perfect Truffle is a burst of luscious chocolate that pops with flavor. Chef/Owner Randy Olmstead and his team of chocolatiers craft 60-plus rotating varieties ranging from tangy passionfruit to warmly spiced rum and silky sea salt caramels. Let them melt in your mouth to appreciate the interplay of flavor and texture. Then bring the empty box back for a discounted refill.

2nd Place: The Candy Kitchen

3rd Place: Zoe’s Chocolate Co.


Local Beer: Smoketown Brewing Station

It’s apt that the Smoketown Brewing Station in Brunswick occupies a former firehouse because this place is hot. The family friendly tasting room is open five days a week for samples, full pints or growlers to go. It also sells pub snacks and hosts regular food truck visits, so guests can nosh, sip and be merry among the casks.

2nd Place: Olde Mother Brewing

3rd Place: Flying Dog Brewery


Local Wine: Catoctin Breeze Vineyard

Winemaking is a labor of love for proprietor Voytek Fizyta, who founded this vineyard among graveled, sloping fields in Thurmont’s Catoctin Mountain foothills. Here, kissed by sun and gentle breezes, Cabernet Franc and Syrah grapes grow in complement to Chardonnay and Viognier varieties. Visitors can enjoy the view from a lodge-style tasting room while sampling award-winning wines.

2nd Place: Black Ankle Vineyards

3rd Place: Linganore Winecellars


Coffee House: Dublin Roasters

Corrugated metal and sparkling lights add pizzazz to the creatively converted garage that houses Dublin Roasters. Its funky space jives with a pleasantly relaxed atmosphere where guests can recharge with an artisan-roasted cuppa joe. Owner Serina Roy travels to South America for organic, fair-trade beans, which she roasts in small batches for superior quality. A light menu is also available.

2nd Place: Frederick Coffee Company & Cafe

3rd Place: Cafe Nola


Distillery: McClintock Distilling

McClintock Distilling uses organic grains, milled in-house, to produce craft whiskeys and gins that have roused a strong following. Production methods are sustainable and environmentally friendly, too. In addition to tastings, the company, named for renowned Frederick inventor McClintock Young (1836-1913), hosts classes and special events. The “Inside the craft cocktail lab” is always maxed out.

2nd Place: Tenth Ward Distilling Company

3rd Place: Dragon Distillery


Liquor Store: Riverside Liquors

Looking for libations? Riverside Liquors on Riverbend Way is known for stocking a wide variety of eclectic finds, including craft beer from around the world and new releases, all with competitive prices. Staff is willing to help you find what you are looking for … just don’t forget your ID.

2nd Place: Ye Old Spirit Shop

3rd Place: Gateway Liquors


Caterer: Canapés Catering

Self-taught chef ML Carroll started Canapés in 1989, channeling her early experience as a food and beverage director. Three decades later, she’s garnered awards across the region and a lengthy roster of satisfied customers, including appearances on several national food TV shows. Her 550 Grab & Go Café operates out of Canapés’ HQ in Highland Tech Park weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2nd Place: Love and Dishes Catering

3rd Place: The Savory Spoon Catering Company


Hot Dog: Windy City Red Hots

“Drag it through the garden” if you want the full Chicago-style hot dog experience. That’s a hot, juicy dog loaded with tomato, pickle, mustard, vibrant green relish and celery salt on a steamy poppyseed bun. Better yet, eat two. Or try the other Windy City specialties: Italian beef dripping with juice, polish sausage, pizza puffs and savory tamales. Delivery is available in Frederick through Uber Eats.

2nd Place: Beef N Buns N Paradise

3rd Place: North Market Pop Shop


Fried Chicken: Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers, a locally owned Plamondon Companies’ chain, recently celebrated 50 years since opening its first location in Falls Church, Va. Generations of fans across the region grew up eating Roy’s “big three”—hamburgers, roast beef and fried chicken. Paired with a side of mashed potatoes, baked apples, tossed salad or slow-simmered beans makes Roy’s a hearty, homestyle favorite.

2nd Place: Watson’s Carry-Out

3rd Place: Family Meal


Singles Bar: Firestone’s Culinary Tavern

Firestone’s is always in good taste. It’s been Frederick’s neighborhood gathering place since 1999. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming for singles, couples and friends enjoying time together. The tavern menu is discounted Tuesday through Thursday at happy hour. Savor a bite alongside inventive cocktails, beer and ale, or wine by the glass from the extensive, award-winning wine list.

2nd Place: Brewers Alley

3rd Place: JoJo’s Restaurant & Tap House


Sports Bar: Champion Billiards Sports Bar

Comfortable and spacious, Champions covers sports bar, dance club and billiards lounge. There are rows of pool tables for friendly play or competitive leagues. Throw a few darts, ante up to a poker tourney or track multiple games at once via jumbo TV screens. Then jam to live music when the nightlife heats up.

2nd Place: Buffalo Wild Wings

3rd Place: Glory Days


Overall Bar: JoJo’s Restaurant & Tap House

JoJo’s plays nicely in two arenas. It’s a cozy dining room and a lively bar, partitioned so patrons can choose which side suits their mood. The Tap House side features live music, full bar, daily happy hours and 26 rotating beers on tap. (Aficionados can pour over details on Memorable craft cocktails are on the menu, too. Pair with truffle fries for the ultimate pub stop.

2nd Place: Firestone’s Culinary Tavern

3rd Place: Bushwaller’s


Billiards: Champion Billiards Sports Bar

2nd Place: Belles’ Sports Bar & Grill

3rd Place: Orioles Nest


Reception Venue: Ceresville Mansion

This 1888 mansion consistently earns rave reviews. It also garnered WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award 2014-2018 with a 4.9-star (out of 5) rating. The four-story structure boasts 9,000 square feet, with elegantly appointed twin parlors, fireplaces and traditional architectural elements. The Grand Ballroom seats 200 guests and the outdoor Garden Terrace features a serene reflecting pool and pergola.

2nd Place: Springfield Manor

3rd Place: Morningside Inn


Charitable/Social Event: Leprechaun Luau

Tickets sell out fast for this raucous romp at the FCC Field House. This year’s event is Saturday, March 2 (snow date 3/9). Tickets are $60 and include food, beer/Margaritas, souvenir mug, entertainment and a chance at a 7-night Royal Caribbean Cruise vacation from Cruise Holidays of Frederick. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Frederick’s signature service project. Must be 21 to attend.

2nd Place: Catoctin Affair

3rd Place: Best of Frederick Bash


Festival/Event: The Great Frederick Fair

The Great Frederick Fair is a nine-day celebration of agriculture that draws nearly 250,000 people from across the country. The event features 40 acres of live entertainment, carnival rides, tractor pulls, an equine arena, educational activities, animals and more than 1,000 exhibitors. Fair food is always a highlight. Those with business ID can visit for lunch without a gate fee. This year’s 156th fair is September 13-21.

2nd Place: In the Street

3rd Place: Festival of the Arts


Art Gallery: The Delaplaine Arts Center

Nearly 100,000 people visit the Delaplaine Arts Center each year to explore five on-site galleries showcasing regional and national artists, including students and community groups. There are also three satellite galleries, 50-plus exhibits annually, 250-plus classes and one of the largest public art reference libraries in Maryland. Admission and tours of the historic building are free. It is even (leashed) dog-friendly.

2nd Place: TAG/The Artists Gallery

3rd Place: McGuire Fine Arts Gallery & Framing


Happy Hour: Brewer’s Alley

Brewer’s Alley, Frederick’s first brewpub, opened in 1996 on a site where previous generations of brewers plied their trade. Making beer is serious business here, but drinking it is pure pleasure. Happy hour is a great opportunity to sample the award-winning brews with discounts on year-round, hand-crafted house drafts, rail drinks and margaritas, plus food specials in the downstairs bar.

2nd Place: Firestone’s Culinary Tavern

3rd Place: Wag’s Restaurant


Museum: National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Civil War casualties pushed the limits of medicine, and Frederick saw its share of combat-worn soldiers traversing the area between the battles at Antietam, Gettysburg and Monocacy. With Fort Detrick, the city is still at the forefront of military/field medicine innovations. This museum honors the price of that progress. Exhibits highlight camp life, field hospitals and transportation, as well as dentistry, pharmaceuticals and veterinary care.

2nd Place: Rosehill Manor

3rd Place: Roads and Rails Museum


Entertainment Value: Surelocked In Escape Games

Live action escape adventures are a relatively new phenomenon, conceived in 2006 by Japanese student Takao Kato, and Surelocked In Escape Games was Frederick’s first. Players use wit and creativity to work as a team finding clues, solving puzzles and completing a themed mission in a limited time … while having fun. Don’t worry, they always let you out.

2nd Place: Weinberg Center for the Arts

3rd Place: Maryland Ensemble Theatre


Radio Station: WFMD-AM (930)

WFMD first broadcast in 1936. Its powerful signal brings “free talk” to the region, covering Frederick and Hagerstown, across the Pennsylvania border and down to the Beltway. Morning News Express listeners will recognize host Bob Miller, winner of the Best Radio Personality category. Along with news director Dianah Gibson, Miller’s show is known for spirited debate on pertinent issues. Its signature fundraiser is Christmas Cash 4 Kids.

2nd Place: WFRE-FM (99.9)

3rd Place: Key 103 (WAFY-FM)


Radio Personality: Bob Miller

2nd Place: Dina Carole

3rd Place: Tom Whalen


Blog: Decorating Date Night

Decorating Date Night with Troy and Dina Carole captivates followers with practical decorating advice and personable delivery. The couple enjoys quality time together while helping fans complete décor and renovation projects, in partnership with The Marriage Resource Center of Frederick County. Hear Dina from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 106.9 The Eagle, too.

2nd Place: Housewives of Frederick County

3rd Place: Must Love Shoes


Cover Band: The Reagan Years

You don’t have to be a child of the 1980s to revel in The Reagan Years. The East Coast’s “Original ’80s Tribute Band” plays to sold-out crowds across the region. Th eclectic playlist spans pop, rock, new-wave and heavy metal, so fans can Relax and cut Footloose or breakout in the Safety Dance while reliving the good old days of big hair and MTV.

2nd Place: Guys in Thin Ties

3rd Place: Vinyl Rhino


Theater Troupe/Group: Maryland Ensemble Theatre

Fans love the MET for its dedication to “extraordinary” theater art, with an ensemble of 40 actors, directors, writers, musicians, technicians and designers. Performances utilize a 100-seat black box theatre and a second stage with seating for 60-plus. It’s also home to The Ensemble School, with classes for ages seven to adult. Schools can tap MET for an in-school production program that helps kids create live theater firsthand.

2nd Place: Other Voices

3rd Place: Way Off Broadway


High School Marching Band: Oakdale High School

Oakdale High School in Ijamsville, home of the Bears, gets high marks for school spirit. Opened in 2010, enrollment crests just above 1,250 students and marching band is a popular activity, performing at football games, community events, parades, football games and competitions, including state and national championships.

2nd Place: Gov. Thomas Johnson High School

3rd Place: Linganore High School


Original Music Band: Waste Down Rebels

Frederick’s own Waste Down Rebels are known for high-energy shows and hard-hitting modern rock. Founded by Rick Ayers in 2012, this four-member band is working on their next EP and 2019 tour, dubbed WDR Trois. Find them on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

2nd Place: Hard Swimmin’ Fish

3rd Place: Jack Funk


Men’s Fashion: Men’s Wearhouse

Customer satisfaction earns Men’s Wearhouse a spot on our list. The chain operates more than 700 stores nationwide, each offering free lifetime pressing on purchased suits, sport coats, slacks and tuxedos, as well as convenient while-you-wait hemming by professional tailors, free re-alterations and available 24-hour tailoring service for emergencies.

2nd Place: Hunting Creek Outfitters

3rd Place: JoS. A. Banks Clothiers


High School Sports: Oakdale High School

2nd Place: Linganore High School

3rd Place: Middletown High School


Swimming Pool: Edward P. Thomas Pool

Take the plunge at the City of Frederick’s Edward P. Thomas Pool this summer. It is located in Baker Park (specifically 500 Fleming Ave.) and is open daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The water park features Tumblebuckets and rain drops, a lap pool, shade structures, and a diving well. There are also concessions and dressing rooms. Season passes/punch cards available.

2nd Place: YMCA

3rd Place: Spring RidgeCommunity Pool


Park: Gambrill State Park

This park features 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding along the ridge of the Catoctin Mountain. The High Knob section offers breathtaking views from three stone overlooks, plus wooded picnic areas. Its three picnic shelters and large stone lodge, the Tea Room, can be reserved. The Rock Run area has a family style campground and a small pond for fishing.

2nd Place: Baker Park

3rd Place: Heritage Farm Park


Hiking Trail: Gambrill State Park

2nd Place: Cunningham Falls State Park

3rd Place: Appalachian Trail


Golf Course: Holly Hills Country Club

This 18-hole, par-72 championship course is rated as one the most challenging in Maryland but can be enjoyed by players of all ages and abilities. Fierce competitors can scope out online videos with details and insights about playing each hole. Although a private club, the course also hosts outings for local charities and organizations, so there are plenty of opportunities to play.

2nd Place: Clustered Spires Golf Club

3rd Place: Whiskey Creek Golf Club


Women’s Fashion: Molly’s Meanderings

Molly’s Meanderings is a haven for those who enjoy shopping as a relaxing pleasure as much as the thrill of finding the perfect item. The boutique’s chic, romantic vibe entices visitors to spend hours exploring every nook and cranny. Voters appreciate its curated array of American-made clothing, accessories, handbags and gifts, plus indulgent bath-and-body items as an alternative to mass-market retailers.

2nd Place: Velvet Lounge

3rd Place: LuLaRoe on the Mountainside


Women’s Shoes: DSW

DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) caters to conscientious shoe-lovers who crave the freedom of self-expression, without a designer price tag. The retailer has made a commitment to sustainable practices, too, promising fashion with integrity. The company includes a philanthropic program, DSW Gives, and a customer rewards program for purchases. Find DSW values at its Francis Scott Key Mall location.

2nd Place: Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse

3rd Place: Boscov’s


Jewelry: Colonial Jewelers

Colonial Jewelers is a fourth-generation retail jewelry store, founded in 1920 by the Hurwitz family. The company earns accolades for its overriding philosophy of following the Golden Rule. Fans appreciate the professionalism, technical expertise and value. The shop has two gemologists on site, available in-house financing and full product-maintenance capabilities. Owners Jeff and Patty Hurwitz established the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital in 1999.

2nd Place: Gold Thumb Jewelry Creations

3rd Place: Yaneth Reyes


Antiques: Emporium Antiques

Visitors from around the world stop by Emporium Antiques’ 55,000-sqaure-foot historic building to explore collections and consignments from 130 dealers. The site opened in 1987 with just a handful of local dealers, growing quickly. From fine art to architectural findings, books and ephemera, or Civil War relics and vintage décor, fans return regularly to scope out what is “new.”

2nd Place: Great Stuff by Paul

3rd Place: Cannon Hill Place Antiques


Farmers Market: Frederick City Market

Farmer’s markets elevate our relationship with food. Like peeking behind the magician’s curtain, mere dirt produces rosy radishes, verdant lettuce and brilliantly hued carrots or perky flowerheads raised to the sun. At the Frederick City Market, at the 300 block of North Market Street (May to November) stunningly fresh produce, bakery items, locally raised meats and a multitude of artisan crafts are proffered as nourishment for body and soul.

2nd Place: YMCA

3rd Place: Middletown

Garden Center: The Dutch Plant Farm

The Dutch Plant Farm is a Frederick favorite for its extensive selection of high-quality products and attentive service. This fully stocked nursery is a warren of popular plant life picks interspersed with exotic and hard-to-find specimens, plus gardening and landscaping supplies, tools, planters and unique gifts. Green thumb or not, a walk through the greenhouse is always a treat.

2nd Place: Barrick Garden Center

3rd Place: Stadler Nursery


Home Furnishings: Gladhill Furniture

Gladhill Furniture’s sprawling five-story facility is a long-time Middletown feature and an enduring family owned business that spans more than 100 years. Known for quality craftsmanship and a courteous staff, Gladhill offers custom furniture and design in addition to pieces by more than 50 manufacturers. In addition to custom furniture and rugs, the company offers window treatments, mattresses and other home décor accessories.

2nd Place: At Home

3rd Place: Wolf Furniture


Grocery Store: Wegmans

Grocery shopping while hungry is dangerous, but Wegmans extensive variety of prepared foods makes eating there half the fun. There is a sub counter, coffee bar, deli case and pizza maker alongside the salad/hot bar, soup station, prepared sushi and generous bakery section for grab-and-go or on-site munching. There is even a TV lounge area to relax while you eat, a cheese-monger and a full-service pharmacy. Oh, and there are actual groceries, too.

2nd Place: Common Market

3rd Place: Aldi


Pet Store: Paws in the City

Tails wag for Paws in the City, a local pet food/supply store catering to “the most discerning pets and their humans.” The establishment also provides professional grooming, including breed-specific and show-regulation cuts. Customers say they appreciate Paws’ thoughtful service and obvious devotion to animals. It offers curbside pickup and in-town home delivery options.

2nd Place: Pet Valu

3rd Place: Central Dogma


Veterinary: Buckeystown Veterinary Hospital

It’s a regular Noah’s Ark for the folks at Buckeystown Veterinary Hospital, where they treat not only cats, dogs and other small pets, but also large animals, including horses, cattle, sheep and goats. Services also include on-site pet boarding, professional grooming and dog training classes for every level of skill and handling.

2nd Place: Linganore Veterinary Clinic

3rd Place: Kingsbrook Animal Hospital


Pet-Friendly Venue: Baker Park

Picturesque and pet-friendly Baker Park is 58 acres along Carroll Creek in historic Downtown Frederick. It’s a popular spot for leisurely picnics and friendly gatherings that also hosts some of Frederick’s noteworthy events, including the dazzling Fourth of July fireworks display and festival. There’s a pool and playgrounds, recreation center and seasonal farmer’s market with a line of enticing food trucks. Merry melodies from the carillon are a daily delight.

2nd Place: La Paz Mexican Restaurant

3rd Place: Carroll Creek Linear Park


Bookstore: Wonder Book

Bibliophiles rejoice over the millions of used and overrun books that line the shelves at Wonder Book’s three retail stores, including one on the Golden Mile. It’s a treasure hunt to sort through movies, music, video games and books for that perfect find. Around 1.5 million pounds of books find new homes through Wonder Book’s annual sales. It’s a pinnacle of “recycling.” Order online and pick up in the store for a discount.

2nd Place: Curious Iguana

3rd Place: Barnes & Noble


Gift/Specialty Shop: Olive & Basket

Olive & Basket (formerly Oil & Vinegar Frederick) is a taster’s paradise. A glittering wall of glass amphoras hold colorful oils and vinegars from around the world, with plenty of samples to try before you buy. Recycle the bottle by bringing it back for a refill. Then peruse the neatly arranged shelves, laden with delicacies such as preserved olives, seasonings, imported foods and elegant snacking/cooking accoutrements for a totally indulgent experience.

2nd Place: Camillions

3rd Place: Retro-Metro


Florist: Frederick Florist

Chrysanthemums for fidelity, lilies for majesty and roses for love. If pictures say 1,000 words, this is the language of flowers … and Frederick Florist knows what to say. This company is lauded for its friendly, professional staff and prompt service. The large inventory includes fresh flowers, tropicals and dish gardens, as well as silk and dried flowers for arrangements. Gourmet gift baskets, candles and greeting cards complete the message.

2nd Place: Freesia and Vine

3rd Place: Abloom


Comic Book Store: Brainstorm Comics & Gaming

Gamers and comic book lovers will feel right at home at this East Patrick Street store, open seven days a week. Fans can load up on well-organized reading materials including the latest editions, indie comics, back issues and hard-to-find variants, plus board games and trading-card game packs, dice, mini figures and more. The friendly staff is willing to chat and share insights. Want to play? Check out their game nights.

2nd Place: Beyond Comics

3rd Place: Wonder Book


Nail Care Salon: Thomas Scott Salon and Spa

Hands do so much for us and yet sometimes we take them for granted. That’s where Thomas Scott Salon and Spa can step in and treat the body’s most hard-working part with a relaxing soak, cuticle care and manicure, complete with the latest color of polish. And don’t forget your feet hidden in those winter boots, Thomas Scott can do wonders with them, as well.   

2nd Place: Belleza Hair and Nail Studio

3rd Place: New York New York Hair Salon and Day Spa


Day Spa: Thomas Scott Salon and Spa

2nd Place: NUVO Salon & Spa

3rd Place: New York New York Hair Salon and Day Spa


Barber Shop: Gentlemen’s Choice II

People are talking about Gentlemen’s Choice II, a traditional barbershop conveniently located in the Frederick Shopping Center. “Good people, good conversation and a great haircut for a good price,” enthuses one customer. Another posted an online review that he appreciated a “traditional 10-minute haircut with a neck shave” while yet another appreciated a friendly staff.

2nd Place: Classic Barbershop

3rd Place: All About Men


Fitness Center: IN-FIT Studio

Award-winning personal trainer and Ironman competitor Kip Jawish is the force behind IN-FIT Studio. Launched in 1989, the studio focuses on safe, effective programs to support clients as individuals, from newbie to competitive athlete. The renovated facility offers a full cardio lineup, free towel service, triathlon lab, meeting rooms and a 3,000-square-foot training area. Trainers are certified by the National Association of Sports Medicine.

2nd Place: Pure Barre

3rd Place: Planet Fitness


Personal Trainer: Kip Jawish/IN-FIT Studio

2nd Place: Andrew Simpson/Player’s Fitness and Performance

3rd Place: Barbie Markey


Hair Salon: New York New York Hair Salon and Day Spa

Owner Mary Louise Riser had one objective when she opened her business in 1987—give guests a memorable experience in a relaxing atmosphere staffed by talented professionals. Located in a historic Frederick mansion, there is ample room for the multitude of services the salon offers, as well as offering a place to escape life’s stresses and be pampered.

2nd Place: Thomas Scott Salon and Spa

3rd Place: Belleza Hair and Nail Studio and Sam Wong Salon (tie)


Dry Cleaners: ZIPS

You could probably pay your dry cleaning bill at ZIPS just from the change you found in the pocket of the coat you brought in. The business in Frederick County Square Shopping Center is not only affordable, but each article of clothing carries the same price for cleaning—$2.29. ZIPS staff is professional and does its part to make your clothes look their best.

2nd Place: Magic Touch Cleaners

3rd Place: J&M Cleaners


Photographer: Picture Perfect

If you’re looking to put a house you’re selling into the best presentation, a top choice for a photographer is Picture Perfect. The business can create walkthrough videos and 3D virtual tours so potential buyers can imagine themselves in the space. Aerial photography is also offered to showcase mountain views, farms and large estates.

2nd Place: Engin Photography

3rd Place: Turner Photography Studio


Yoga Studio: Sol Yoga

The mission of Sol Yoga is to infuse and inspire health, wellness and wholeness into daily life through the practice of yoga. One of the ways the studio accomplishes this is by making access as easy as possible, with three large studio spaces, three small ones and more than 70 classes a week. On-site programs are also available that bring the yoga to you.

2nd Place: Yogamour Yoga and Healing Arts Center

3rd Place: Ananda Shala Wellness


Tattoo Parlor: Time Bomb Tattoos & Curiosities

The artists at Time Bomb, located in the heart of Downtown Frederick, have won awards for their work and have pride in making their customers’ tattoos “exactly what they’ve imagined.” They take the time to sit down and discuss the right image, placement and ink colors. This attention to details is carried through with an emphasis on safety and making the customer feel comfortable.

2nd Place: Key City Tattoo

3rd Place: Classic Electric Tattoo


Dance Studio: 24/7 Dance Studio

Founded by Gina Korrell in 2002, the goal of 24/7 is “to provide an exciting, revolutionary performing arts studio where students would leave at the end of the day feeling the satisfaction of hard work, improved health and sense of pride … and greater appreciation for the arts.” The goal continues to be met by the talented staff.

2nd Place: Dance Unlimited

3rd Place: Elite Feet Dance Studio


Hotel: Marriott

Marriott International is a $22-billion global lodging company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. In the Frederick area, four of its brands—Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, and TownePlace Suites by Marriott—are available and owned and operated by Plamondon Hospitality Partners.

2nd Place: Hampton Inn

3rd Place: Clarion Inn Frederick Event Center


Auto Repair: Carriage House Automotive

This full-service automobile repair shop is in its second generation of providing top-notch service not only to Frederick residents, but also those outside of the area. A customer who broke down here while traveling, for example, raved at the kindness of a business that stayed open past its normal closing to get him on the road again. “Honest service at a fair price” is its motto.

2nd Place: East County Auto

3rd Place: Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions


Car Wash: Frederick Shell Carwash

With all the grit and grime associated with winter driving, it’s time to treat your precious set of wheels to the loving hands of Frederick Shell Carwash on the Golden Mile. There you will find friendly service from a dedicated staff, express detailing and a 90-foot tunnel wash to have you back on the road with a spotless vehicle. They have been serving customers since 1984.

2nd Place: Fredericktowne Auto Spa

3rd Place: Dolphin Car Wash


Landscaping: Clearwater Landscape & Nursery

A home doesn’t always end at the door. Instead, there is the possibility of additional living space from a porch, patio or backyard. Clearwater helps you realize the potential, starting with an inspiring design, premium-quality installation and ongoing maintenance from a company that keeps current with design trends, materials and techniques.

2nd Place: Hawkins Landscaping

3rd Place: Landscape Concepts


Heating/Air Conditioning: N.E. “Bob” Waltz Plumbing & Heating

A cold house in the middle of winter from a malfunctioning heating system or sweltering in the summer when you should be feeling cool air are enough to send you into the doldrums, and who better to see at your doorstep than a smiling and competent member of the team at N.E. “Bob” Waltz? The business has been providing residential and commercial customers with stellar service since 1956.

2nd Place: Frederick Air

3rd Place: TriState Home Services


Car Dealer: The Frederick Motor Company

The Frederick Motor Company is family owned-and-operated since 1917. There are three shops under one umbrella: Ford, Subaru and dependable preowned vehicles. Now run by the third generation of the Warfield family, these hands-on owners set the tone for service that delivers. Shoppers can use the free online CarFinder tool to input preferences and get notified when a matching automobile arrives.

2nd Place: Shockley Honda

3rd Place: Fitzgerald Auto Mall


Computer Tech/Repair: Computer Enhancement Systems

Computer Enhancement Systems was founded in 1994, growing from a small computer repair shop to a full-service center including a storefront and mobile service unit to get your office or business up and running. They also offer consultation on such matters as database development, implementation and management, and data forensic recovery.


3rd Place: Geek Squad


Plumbing: TriState Home Services

TriState Home Services is a third-generation, full-service heating, cooling and plumbing contractor. Its plumbers are fully- qualified and trained, experienced in how to meet your needs. Online testimonials included a customer enamored with how the service technician was “on time, cheerful and efficient” while another offered kudos about an employee being “honest and helpful.”

2nd Place: N.E. “Bob” Waltz Plumbing & Heating

3rd Place: Putman Plumbing


Electrician: Provident Electric

With more than 25 years of experience, family owned-and-operated Provident Electric can work on both large and small projects, whether it’s testing an electrical outlet in your home or wiring a large new commercial building. Provident also promotes saving energy with energy audits, inspections and incentive programs. And, did we mention 24-hour emergency service?

2nd Place: Brandenburg Electric

3rd Place: Horn Electric Service


Bank: Frederick County Bank

In an industry seemingly dominated by large, national banks, Frederick County Bank stands out as a local, community bank that collaborates with local businesses, supports charitable causes and has a real, live branch in Downtown Frederick. But FCB also competes with a full range of personal, home, business and commercial services. Check out their creative marketing social media presence, as well.

2nd Place: Woodsboro Bank

3rd Place: PNC


Carpentry/Home Improvement: Talon Construction

Whether you are in the market for a new, custom-built home or want to “fall in love with your home all over again” with a remodel, Talon Construction will make it happen—working with you from design to completion. Once the pros work their magic, you’ll have a house you won’t want to leave. Talon also works with commercial buildings.

2nd Place: Dorman Home Remodeling

3rd Place: Nysa Construction


Financial Planning: McCaskill Financial

The pros at McCaskill Financial know everyone has a unique financial need. Whether it’s supporting a growing family, building a career, budgeting for college or planning for retirement, their goal is to provide the financial independence their customers envision. They sit down with clients and get to know their financial philosophy, values, expectations and tolerance for risk.

2nd Place: Key Financial Group

3rd Place: Dan Schiffman (Northwestern Mutual)


Business Solutions: Mac Business Solutions

Frederick doesn’t have an Apple Store (yet), but it does have the next best thing in Mac Business Solutions. The good news is you can have the same Apple products serviced here that you would normally have to take to an Apple Store. The better news is all the additional services offered for government and business clients, including consulting, sales, service and even financing.

2nd Place: Copy Doc Business Solutions

3rd Place: Frederick County Chamber of Commerce


Real Estate Agent/Realtor: Stacy Reno/Century 21 Redwood Realty

Last year, Stacy Reno finished second in the new category of Best Agent/Realtor,” but she followed that with first place this year. In a competitive business, Stacy prides herself in professional staging, marketing and photography to get properties sold at the best price.

2nd Place: Jim Bass Group of Real Estate Teams

3rd Place: Jill Coleman/RE/MAX Realty Centre


Architect: Proffitt & Associates Architects

Proffitt & Associates Architects was acquired by Kori Purdum Matheis and John Matheis following the untimely death of founder Michael Proffitt. But the new owners vow to maintain the firm’s philosophy that great buildings provide an environment in which human interaction is able to occur with ease, free of distraction or discomfort.

2nd Place: Bates Architects

3rd Place: Caddworks


Doctor: Dr. Ali Afrookteh

It’s back-to-back “Best Doctor” wins for Dr. Ali Afrookteh of Mid-Maryland Internal Medicine. An internist whose warm personality makes him a favorite among patients, Afrookteh is also certified in sports medicine and has won numerous awards and honors in his 36 years of practicing medicine.

2nd Place: Dr. Edward Fisher

3rd Place: Dr. John Vitarello


Lawyer: Seymour Stern

A well-known name in local legal circles, Seymour Stern is currently a principal with Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law. He concentrates his practice in three related areas: business transactions, estate planning and administration, and real estate transactions and land use. He also has experience counseling entrepreneurs from start-up to transfer or sale.

2nd Place: Arthur Crum

3rd Place: Scott Alan Morrison


Dentist: Dr. Amaris Little

Dr. Amaris Little is one of two dentists at Woodsboro Dental, where the goal is to improve the overall health of patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with teeth and gums. The practice is well-versed in an array of dental services—from routine care to cosmetic dentistry—and even provides emergency care.

2nd Place: Frederick Pediatric Dentistry

3rd Place: Terrace Dental Group


Alternative Health Care: Holistic Health Associates

Holistic Health Associates boasts the highest-quality holistic, non-invasive treatments in a setting where you can relax, de-stress, and restore balance in your life. Treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition coaching and natural detox. Specializations include chronic pain management, allergy relief, anxiety treatment, stress, depression help, natural fertility, headache relief, soft-tissue injuries and weight-loss programs.

2nd Place: Hauser Health

3rd Place: The Turning Point


Senior Living Community: Homewood at Frederick

Homewood at Frederick is a continuing care retirement community just north of Frederick City where more than 140 acres of rolling countryside offer residents spectacular views of the mountains, plus a variety of amenities. Residential offerings range from spacious, open floor plan homes with two-car garages to the comfort and tradition of apartment living.

2nd Place: Buckingham’s Choice

3rd Place: HeartFields Assisted Living at Frederick


Senior Living Services: Oasis Senior Advisors

Moving from a private residence to a retirement community can be daunting, emotionally and physically. Oasis Senior Advisors bills itself as a service for families to help them find senior assisted-living options in Frederick, Carroll and Washington counties in Maryland and in Loudoun County, Va.

2nd Place: BAYADA Home Health Care

3rd Place: Visiting Angels


Neighborhood: Downtown Frederick

We may be biased, but we think every corner of Frederick County has something to crow about … from soaring mountain views above idyllic valleys to bustling, historic towns alive with the spirit of community. As the county seat and a commercial hub, the City of Frederick, especially its tight-knit Downtown area, hosts numerous festivals, events and shared resources that bring us together throughout the year.

2nd Place: Spring Ridge

3rd Place: Lake Linganore


Best “I wish Frederick would bring back…” Freez King

For years, Freez King was the year-round cruise-in for a burger and a shake, chili dog and onion rings, and all sorts of creamy frozen treats. It warmed fans’ hearts with the right mix of nostalgia and indulgence for decades until it closed (for the second time) in early 2013.

2nd Place: Roller skating rink

3rd Place: Frederick Towne Mall


Best “I wish Frederick had…” Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s has a few locations in surrounding areas with a stretch of driving—Rockville, Bethesda and Silver Spring—but fans agree it would be great to have one nearby. This market chain is known for high-quality foods at ultra-competitive prices and unique, exclusive selections, including organic and special diet options.

2nd Place: Cheesecake Factory

3rd Place: Top Golf