Growing up in Frederick, I was able to watch the Golden Mile’s reputation morph over time from a key part of Frederick to an undesirable location. However, the Golden Mile is seeing a resurgence that should not go unrecognized. There are so many great restaurants and retail locations already there and more to come such as Warehouse Cinemas and Lidl grocery store.

I have fond memories of going to the movies at Hoyt’s Cinemas, walking around Frederick Towne Mall with my mom and the many day care kids she took care of, and eating at Long John Silver’s (some things are still unforgivable). How Route 40 went from a fun location to visit as a kid to a less than desirable area in my mind is confusing. But somehow, in my early 20s, I found myself avoiding the area and shopping and eating elsewhere.

It was actually Aldi that first drew me back as an adult to the Golden Mile. I first discovered Aldi several years ago and have made it my weekly grocery store due to its cheap prices and overall simplicity. If you haven’t tried shopping at Aldi, I promise that you will be astonished at both the quality and the prices for everyday items.

From there, I discovered great restaurants such as Sardi’s, Il Forno, and Casa Rico. I began to realize my perception of Route 40 had been fairly skewed. Another great attraction on 40 is H-Mart and the food court inside. If you want ramen, Chinese, Thai, or sushi, H-Mart has it all at great prices. My husband and I firmly believe H-Mart has the best sushi outside of Lazy Fish in Frederick.

Coming soon to the Golden Mile is another grocery chain that I have fallen in love with, Lidl. The empty Kmart location will soon be filled, which should bring new life to the area. Lidl is often confused with Aldi because they are both German owned, discount grocery stores. However, when we went to the Lidl location in Hagerstown we became instant fans. It has a larger selection of products than Aldi but with rock bottom prices. The concept is the same, you bring your own bags, products aren’t displayed fancily, and there are limited if any name brands. But the selection of organic goods is enough to ease my sadness about Frederick’s lack of a Trader Joe’s.

If you like Peruvian chicken, then Sardi’s has the best in the city. Their location tucked away in a corner of the Golden Mile means that many haven’t discovered it yet. Casa Rico is great if you are in the mood for Mexican and it has a great Happy Hour and Sunday Brunch. Il Forno has some of the best pizza in town, especially if you like it coal fired with a fluffy crust and loads of cheese and toppings.

The best thing about 40 is that I’m sure there are many more hidden gems that I have yet to discover. Warehouse Cinemas is supposed to take over the old Hoyt’s Cinemas location, which should bring more people to the area and provide an entertainment destination.

If the rest of Frederick Towne Mall can be revitalized as well, we could see some really positive change in this key corridor. Now, if only something could be done about those stoplights and traffic.

Rachel Gammell is a writer in Frederick, MD. Reach her at

(4) comments


I bought a new house just off the Golden Mile 30 years ago and have never been tempted to move to any other part of Frederick. Along with the great restaurants mentions, try Modern Asia, Tulip Grill, Clay Oven, Santa Rosa - they're all excellent and they're on the Golden Mile. I'll take the Golden Mile over the cluster of chain eateries cram into the Rt. 26 area or FSK Mall area any day of the week.


40 is getting better, but it still is a long way from what it was.


I will be honest that I hate to drive the death trap that is Route 40. I hate the way the various strip malls are not connected, so that if you turn into what you think is the right entrance, you find yourself on the wrong side of a fence from your destination.

Maybe some time when Covid is just a bad memory I will be enticed back to browsing grocery stores.


If one follows the crime reports for Frederick City, you can see why the so-called Golden Mile lost its luster. Sandwiched between the Hillcrest neighborhood and the Key Parkway and coupled with a boarded up mall why bother? Giant Food saw the handwriting on the wall and pulled out years ago.

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