Carrry Out Chaps

Josh VerStandig, owner of Chaps Pit Beef on Buckeystown Pike, holds a pit beef sandwich and fresh cut fries Friday afternoon.

When Frederick native Chris Martin started a “Frederick County Take Out” group on Facebook to help highlight the restaurants, breweries and distilleries in the county, he hoped to get 500 members in a month.

Instead, 20,000 members joined within three weeks.

“I thought this could be cool. We’re in a dark time right now, so I figured this is a way to pass the time,” said Martin, who works in restaurant marketing. “People love food so it brings people together.”

Members post about the take-out meals they got from different Frederick County restaurants, often including photos. Other members then get inspired to order something similar or try out a new restaurant they never have gone to before.

The way Martin sees it, the group functions as a free marketing tool for restaurants, who can post details about their menus including specials and instructions on how to order to a group of people who are likely to get take out.

“So it’s a way for them to really showcase what they’re still doing during the pandemic, just because a lot of places are reopening now,” Martin said. “A lot of them have changed their hours and the way they operate.”

People also post on the page to ask for recommendations, asking where to get the best crab dip or reuben sandwich. Some people even just ask for an underrated restaurant they may have not gone to before.

“I haven’t stopped eating long enough to take pictures,” said group member Joan Strawson. “But, thanks to this group, I’ve eaten out more in the past few weeks than I ever did before and tried new places that I never would have tried before.”

Several restaurants have seen an influx of traffic from the page. Gambrill Mountain Food Co., which opened its brick-and-mortar location in April has been consistently selling out of items and have had their phones ringing constantly, according to their Facebook posts.

Chaps Pit Beef has also gotten a lot of love from the group. General Manager Shayne McIntyre said the first couple of weeks of carryout-only were tough on the restaurant, and they didn’t get many sales. Over time, their regulars began to return.

But in the last few weeks, the customers coming in have specifically said they’ve come from the Facebook group. The phone has been ringing off the hook on Friday and Saturday nights.

“It’s great to have local people coming in,” McIntyre said.

Sweet and Savory Bake Shop, which is in a residential neighborhood in Worman’s Mill, has also benefited from the group. Owner Meghan Gourley had to close the bakery, which only opened a year ago, and lay off her three employees when sales dried up during the first few weeks of the shutdown.

But after getting a Paycheck Protection Program loan in mid-April, she brought her employees back and planned to reopen. Before their first day open, Gourley shared on the Frederick County Take Out page that they were taking pre-orders after her friend invited her to join.

“So as soon as I posted that on the takeout site, we suddenly got all these orders,” Gourley said.

She and her employees were busy keeping up, and the next week, the orders doubled. She had to close down the online ordering portal early that week because they were overwhelmed with all of the orders coming in.

“Everybody has been telling us that they found us on that take-out Facebook page and so it’s really just done wonders for our visibility,” Gourley said.

While Martin wasn’t expecting the group to have such an impact, he’s glad that it did.

“It’s become kind of a foodie tribe on the takeout page, just really giving support to all those spots,” Martin said. “So the more the merrier, the more we have in the group … the stronger our bars and restaurants will be right now and after the pandemic ends.”

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter:

@ej_riley.

(36) comments

Mary_Hol

All that glitters ain't gold.

https://www.facebook.com/1037340059627747/posts/3447332635295132/

Mary_Hol

All that glitters is not gold. https://www.facebook.com/1037340059627747/posts/3447332635295132/

bosco

Can anyone articulate why wearing a glove provides any more protection against coronaviris than bare hands?

Mardi35

So glad the FNP put the article out there and that Chris Martin created the FB group. Just what I needed and especially finding new places to try and reminders for those forgotten.

gary4books

Looks like many who stay at home are exercising by "leaping at conclusions."

bosco

Love it, Gary. Jumping to conclusions is the only exercise some people get. That's why there are so many obese Americans.

gary4books

I just joined. Hopes are high.

DMSchobel

Welcome! (I’ve found the tone there quite refreshing.)

DMSchobel

This is a great page! In addition to seeing what is going on with my pre-pandemic favorites, I’ve learned about other places I’ve never tried and new places that were getting ready to open before this all hit. (Yeah Arepa Queen!). Plus the sense of community is really nice. A pleasure in this challenging time.

threecents

This may be a permanent culture shift against sit-in restaurants.

jayel86

Yeah riiiiiight

bosco

You may be on to something, threecents. We haven't been out to eat since the lockdown but have taken advantage of the carryouts. Eat at home. No overcrowded loud dining rooms. No feral children at the next table. No bum's rush. The food is the same without the negatives. We are lovin' it. [thumbup][ninja]

rbtdt5

If the crowds, noise, children, whatever, why didn't you just get carry out before? They have all always had carryout. Just curious.

bosco

rbtdt5, you summed up our reasons pretty wel when you said "Some of us just enjoy a night out and being waiting on. Sometime it's nice to just sit back and relax while others do the cooking and bring the food. I agree though, I do enjoy cooking at home as well'

We have adapted our eating out routine to avoid peak times, weekend nights, etc. We often do a late lunch-early dinner just to have a better experience. It's all what we are looking for.

Hollowed Ground

You should try preparing food instead of buying it. You will love it even more, especially when everybody participates. It's wonderful.

rbtdt5

If that's what you enjoy, you should continue. And thanks for suggesting this to others. Some of us just enjoy a night out and being waiting on. Sometime it's nice to just sit back and relax while others do the cooking and bring the food. I agree though, I do enjoy cooking at home as well.

rbtdt5

No, I like the atmosphere, the people, being waited on and not clean up. To me I like the experience of more than opening a bag of containers. But I hope that works out where my favorite places can make great money and give me a little more leg room. Everyone likes different things. As a side note, I encourage people that can't control their kids to do carryout.

steelersfan2005

I'm not complaining.

elymus43

There is more to life than keeping restaurants going. When a person calls a restaurant, they have the worst people answering the phones. Restaurants need to put their menus and prices on the Internet for a person to see.

her1234

That is a horrible, untrue, and unnecessary thing to say. And their menus are changing consistently and many don't have a website. Don't be such a hater.

StupidPaywall

[thumbup][thumbup]

her1234

There is more to life than the Frederick News Post. When I read the comments, they have the worst people commenting. (elymus43) lol

jayel86

No better then the children that live on fb.

gary4books

Sort of like when we look in a mirror. That is really the way we look. Sort of, I guess.

gary4books

Who calls? Go to the web page or phone app.

steelersfan2005

Where have you been, living under a rock?

sevenstones1000

Glad I found that FB page - it’s a lot of fun and one of the most neighborly things I’ve ever experienced in Frederick (30+ years here).

Come on folks - the restaurants are slammed on the weekends - you aren’t going anywhere anyway, have your “weekend” treat on Tuesday or Wednesday!

I hope restaurants plan on keeping the curbside and delivery after they open - many of us will not be comfortable doing sit down for many months.

Hollowed Ground

Open or not I will stay away. I value my health and life. I use my PTO for relaxation, not recovery and certainly not for funeral. Lingering in a restaurant is like opening your front door and letting any and all from anywhere walk in and stay for an hour, without even a mask. Not a good pandemic practice at all. Pity the help. They have it the worst. They have to stay there all day and move among dozens of unmasked unprotected selfish.

jayel86

Its hard to eat with a mask on.

her1234

Good for you, but you obviously don't know how the restaurants are operating. Most offer curbside or contactless pick up. No one is lingering in restaurants.

jayel86

I don't think he put enough pit beef on that sandwich.

jakereed

Love our great Frederick restaurants. I'll be eating-out every night for a month when they open seating back up. Hang in there guys.

Hollowed Ground

You're not very smart. You don't know anything about where those near you have been.

sevenstones1000

Why not help them now by getting take out?

rickterps

Link??

Brenna

https://www.facebook.com/groups/740000293198815/?ref=share

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