Frederick Walk-Around: Worldly Cuisine Makes a Home on the Golden Mile

June 30, 2015 / / News

By Nancy Lavin, The Frederick News-Post
Monday, June 29, 2015

International cuisine spans far beyond the limits of Frederick’s historic downtown.

In fact, the number of South and Central American, Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants along the Golden Mile may surpass those downtown, or at least come close to matching it.

The Route 40 West corridor boasts a mix of longtime institutions and newcomers to the Frederick food scene, serving everything from Indian samosas to Vietnamese pho and a simple, yet wildly-popular char-broiled Peruvian chicken.

“There’s a lot out here … pretty much for any taste,” said Justin Kiska, president of the Golden Mile Alliance.

But, according to Kiska, the multitude of exotic dishes hasn’t surpassed the demand from Frederick’s eager dining crowd. There’s plenty of room for the rapidly-growing international restaurant scene because Frederick itself is expanding just as rapidly.

“It just goes to show that Frederick can handle having all of this,” he said.

The steady business at a small brick storefront on McCain Drive, home to the aforementioned Peruvian chicken, proves Kiska’s statement true.

Sardi’s owner Phil Sardelis said his business has grown enough since he opened in 2009 that he plans to expand into the space next door, formerly a Fox’s Pizza Den since purchased by Sardelis.

Sardelis, who owns nine other restaurants in Maryland, said he chose the Frederick location based on its demographics.

“We knew there were a lot of Latinos in the area, and sort of a blue-collar vibe, which is where we do best,” he said.

He also saw the amount of other international restaurants in the area as an advantage, instead of a sign of too much competition.

“We like competition,” he said. “I think, once people try [international food], they’re more likely to try other international meals as well.”

Roy Zou, owner of Modern Asia Bar & Restaurant, agreed.

When he opened the Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese food restaurant last August, he wasn’t too worried about competition. Not only did he have 17 years of restaurant experience to back him up, but the wealth of adventurous eaters made it clear there was ample demand.

“People like to eat out, and they like to try different cuisines,” he said.

Sardelis chalked it up, in part, to the generational difference between immigrants and their first-generation American-born children. His parents, Greek immigrants, ate and fed their children almost exclusively Greek food. But he and his first-generation counterparts seem more open to trying other foods, he said.

His customer base ranges from all backgrounds and a large contingent of those stationed at Fort Detrick, he said.

Ajay Pradhan, owner of Clay Oven Restaurant, said most customers who dine on his Indian and Nepalese dishes have no ties to either of those countries. Those who were immigrants or descendants of India and Nepal are more likely to pay for his restaurant’s catering services for large gatherings like birthdays or funerals, he said.

Despite easy access to the food in his own restaurant, Pradhan said he eats out at least once a week, typically at other international restaurants.

But with new international restaurants cropping up with increasing frequency, it’s hard to hit them all. Kiska admitted that he still has several on his “to try” list, including Sardi’s.

He couldn’t pick a favorite among those he had visited, either. But the Italian offerings at Il Forno Pizzeria are definitely toward the top of the rankings, he said.

“Give me pizza and I’m in my glory,” he said.

Continued …

Former State Police Officers Get Souvenir of Old Barracks

June 30, 2015 / / News

By Ed Waters, Jr., The Frederick News-Post
Thursday, June 25, 2015

558c9732ed6c1.imageMore than 50 former Maryland State Police officers, dispatchers and mechanics were on hand Thursday afternoon to pick up a souvenir of their old barrack on West Patrick Street.

But they weren’t just picking up weathered red bricks; they were piling up fond memories.

The barrack, at West Patrick Street and Baughman’s Lane, is being demolished to make way for a Wawa fuel and convenience store.

“We used to have a shooting range there,” said Henry Pilch, a 44-year state police veteran who spent 121/2 years at the site, pointing to the back part of the property.

“And they served meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Pilch, who later in his career went into the aviation section of the state police. The police helicopter used to land on the site.

Dick Poffenberger spent three years at the Frederick barrack, but was in the police for 37 years.

“We had a Chevrolet panel truck, painted khaki, and that was an ambulance. There were not many ambulances then and we [state police] would go to a call about an injured person or accident and take people to the hospital. There wasn’t anything on the truck but a first aid kit.”

Carl Harbaugh, an investigator with the state police in the 1960s, made the first drug arrest in Frederick County, he said while he waited to pick up a brick from the barracks site.

Harbaugh later served as Frederick County sheriff, from 1990 to 1994.

Although many think of the iconic Ford Crown Victoria as the mainstay of the police force, Jim Boston said he preferred Chevrolet police cars. Boston, a mechanic at the barrack, said today the state police are driving some vehicles with 300,000 miles on the cars, because state budget cutbacks mean new ones aren’t affordable.

“We used to have a fireplace over there,” Boston said, pointing toward the Baughman’s Lane side of the building. “We would burn [confiscated] marijuana and it got into the air. I think the people in the hotel [across the street] were getting high from it.”

Frederick Alderwoman Kelly Russell picked up a brick and some roof slating in the pile at the back of the barrack building.

A former officer with the Frederick Police Department, Russell said it was bittersweet to see the barrack go down.

“I am glad to see so many friends,” Russell said, referring to the state police officers. “I’m glad the Wawa will be brick, much like the barrack. It will be the gateway to the Golden Mile.”

Philip Andrews, a retired Maryland State Police sergeant, said he had paintings of both the old barrack and the new law enforcement center and would probably put his brick near those paintings.

“It might make a good doorstop, too,” Andrews said.

Capt. Ira Click, who commands the state police for Western Maryland, and Lt. Wayne Wachsmuth, commander of the Frederick barrack, had both served at the old barrack and were glad to talk with some of the former officers at the event.

The barrack building was completed in 1950, and the state police relocated in 2002 to the Law Enforcement Center near Frederick Municipal Airport.

The new Wawa

Henry Forster, vice president of Core Development Group Inc., said the company has owned the property for eight years.

“The site was planned for a bank and a retail strip center, but redesigned for the Wawa. There is a small pad site as well,” Forster said.

Construction of the Wawa will begin in July, with an anticipated opening in early 2016.

In his formal presentation, Forster said there will be road improvements to both West Patrick Street and Baughman’s Lane.

John Eidberger, project engineer for Wawa, thanked the officers for their service.

“We at Wawa strive to honor our everyday heroes, our police and first responders,” Eidberger said.

Wawa will work to become an integral part of the Frederick community.

The new Wawa is the first in the city of Frederick.

Two others are outside the city limits.

Justin Kiska, president of the Golden Mile Alliance, which works to bring businesses to the area, said the Wawa will be the first major physical change on the Golden Mile and he hoped it would spark more business and development on the West Patrick Street corridor.

The business will be about 5,600 square feet, have about 12 fuel sites and hire 35 to 45 employees.

It will be open 24 hours and will cost about $6 million to build.

Continued …

Continued …

New Wawa Store Proposed for West Patrick Street

June 18, 2015 / / News

By Ed Waters, Jr., The Frederick News-Post
Thursday, June 18, 2015


The northwest corner of West Patrick Street and Baughman’s Lane will become a Wawa by next spring, if all goes to plan.

The corner had been occupied by the former Maryland State Police Barrack B from 1952 until 2002, when the police moved near
Frederick Municipal Airport.

 A ceremony will be held 4 to 6 p.m. June 25 at the site. Core Development, The Golden Mile Alliance, Wawa representatives and
local officials will attend.

 Lori Bruce, a spokeswoman for Wawa, said the target to begin construction is this fall, with anticipated opening in the spring of
2016. Although costs may vary at each site, Bruce said a typical Wawa costs about $5 million to $6 million to build.

State police officers are invited to the event, which is to say goodbye to the old building and to welcome the business to the Golden Mile, Bruce said.

“Saluting our local heroes is part of Wawa’s DNA. The police, firemen, others are the heroes,” Bruce said.

“The demolition of the old State Police Barracks at the intersection of Route 40 and Baughman’s Lane brings a mixture of nostalgia over seeing such an iconic building go, but also a lot of excitement in seeing the progress that redevelopment brings to the Golden Mile,” said Debra Tyson, vice president of the Golden Mile Alliance.

Tyson said bricks from the old barracks will be available to state police officers who wish to have them as a remembrance.

“The Golden Mile Alliance is encouraged by this redevelopment, and we are happy to welcome Wawa to the Golden Mile community.”

The alliance works to promote business along the Golden Mile and build relationships with communities around that area.

Bruce said a typical Wawa is 5,600 square feet, will have 12 to 14 fuel sites and hire 35 to 45 employees.

“What makes Wawa unique is that our employees own 43 percent of the company,” Bruce said of the privately held company based in Wawa, Pennsylvania.

The Wawa will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and feature a center kitchen design to offer food items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bruce said she did not have a rendering available of the new store until June 25.

“This site is a critical gateway location along the Golden Mile and will hopefully be a catalyst for additional follow-on invest in that corridor,” said Richard Griffin, the city’s director of economic development. “Already the corridor is experiencing strong investment by restaurants and with the proposed mall redevelopment.”

The Golden Mile has seen changes as some stores moved out and others moved in. A major project, at the west end of the corridor is the former Frederick Towne Mall site, which will become a Wal-Mart, with Boscov’s and Home Depot remaining.

“We have 697 stores and are opening as many as 50 a year,” Bruce said. “We will hit 700 stores this summer.”