Frederick city has some great restaurants, but “great” is not limited to downtown establishments.
The Braddock Inn, atop Braddock Mountain, is just a few minutes beyond the Golden Mile. Built in 1903 as the Camp Schley Inn during the heyday of Braddock Heights as a resort community, it later became the state’s first ski resort (Braddock Heights Skiway). The ski resort closed in the mid-1980s, and since then, a few other establishments have come and gone.
Owner/operator Carlo Dan, who has more than 20 years of restaurant experience under his hat, reopened The Braddock Inn earlier this year. Along with his chef de cuisine, Sam Neubauer, they have created what Dan describes on the website as an eclectic, seasonal and smoke-driven menu influenced by his Cuban roots and Neubauer’s Southern upbringing.
Neubauer told me that the owner has been working on renovating the building, foundation to roof, since purchasing it in 2014, and that it is the first time the property had changed ownership since the 1970s.
My husband, Rick, and I had dinner there on a weekend night earlier this month. As a Frederick County native, I knew of the inn but had never been there to ski (back in the day) or for a meal.
It’s a wonderful two-story building with a five-dormer attic, a wide porch that offers outdoor dining in season, and two comfortable dining rooms inside. Our server said the long bar, from the ski resort days, is still in the lower level, and there are plans to reopen that to the public, too.
We were seated in the back dining room, with walls painted a warm peach, old yellow pine floors and large windows (unfortunately, we were there at night and the curtains were closed, so I don’t what the view is like). In one corner was a decorated Christmas tree. Another area displayed old photos, letters and other memorabilia about the inn and “The Heights.” Two alcove areas each had a table for seating larger parties.
Our server presented the menu and shared the specials of the day, which included Maryland blue catfish and twice-baked potato soup. Rick ordered a Bud from the beer menu, and I got a soda.
The menu is seasonal and changes, and on this night the entrees consisted of comfort foods, like meat loaf, fried chicken, pork chops and pasta — but with a chef’s flair. The chicken is orange brined, the rigatoni is lemon parsley rigatoni, and the pork chop is served with an apple-cranberry chutney.
I ordered two things from the menu that I have never ordered in a restaurant: chicken livers and meat loaf. I generally don’t eat liver of any kind, and meat loaf — I can make that at home.
We started with a cup of the day’s soup, twice-baked potato ($3.50), a creamy soup topped with bits of bacon and grated cheese. My grandmother used to make the best potato soup (with rivels), and this reminded me of that.
From the appetizer menu, which also included arepas (a corn pancake), stuffed chilies and sweet potato fries, I was intrigued by the description of the chicken livers ($8) — “hard fried chicken livers topped with Swiss, capicola and orange marmalade.” Artfully arranged on a white plate and golden in color, the livers were double-dipped in a mix of corn starch, corn flour, and salt and pepper, Neubauer told me in a followup phone call. The coating was crisp and delicate, and the orange marmalade took it over the top. Never thought I’d say I enjoyed eating chicken livers!
I had the bacon-wrapped meat loaf ($15) with two thick slices resting on a bed of scratch-made mashed potatoes and topped with crispy and browned Brussels sprouts. This is not the meat loaf recipe on the back of the oatmeal box. This is tender ground beef with a hint of tomato and topped with a slice of bacon.
Rick had the Flat Iron ($26), an 8-ounce, cold-smoked beef cut, served on a bed of mashed potatoes, and a side salad ($3.50) with fresh greens, cucumber slices and halved grape tomatoes, with bleu cheese dressing on the side. The beef was nicely prepared medium well, as he requested.
From the long list of desserts, we shared the apple cobbler ($8). It was served in a small, hot, cast iron skillet filled with apple slices and an oatmeal crumb topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is likely not a year-round dessert, but since apples are my favorite dessert ingredient, it was perfect.
The menu also has “quick eats,” burgers, pulled pork, etc. and a kids menu. The front dining area includes the bar, with a variety of wines, cocktails and beers available, and happy hour Tuesday through Friday, with live music on some nights.
The Braddock Inn also serves brunch with items including omelets, buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken gravy, duck scrapple, shrimp and grits and deviled eggs filled with egg yolk and smoked white fish salad.
Our total tab for dinner was $74.50, plus tax and tip.
We’re looking forward to revisiting Braddock Inn to 1) check on the renovation progress and 2) enjoy another great meal.
The Dish reports on unannounced dining experiences in and near Frederick. Send us your tips at 72Hours@newspost.com.