First Look: Bryan Voltaggio's New Frederick Lunch Spot

The Volt chef/owner goes casual with Lunchbox, a bargain sandwich shop.

Lunchbox channels a New York deli with this pastrami-and-Swiss sandwich on marble rye. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Bryan Voltaggio is known nationally for his appearance on Top Chef, but the Frederick native first got regional attention with Volt, his high-end restaurant in his hometown. Now he’s opened his second place—Lunchbox, a sandwich spot—just five blocks away, along the pretty promenade that banks Carroll Creek.

The cafe is aimed mainly at professionals and at young families visiting the nearby library. (The fully stocked changing table in Lunchbox’s restroom is the stuff of new-mom dreams.) Its decor consists of a few framed metal lunchboxes along one wall and a cooler of old-timey soda, including locally made birch beer.

The muffuletta is a popular sandwich among Patrick Street’s antiques dealers, and it’s excellent, with capicola and an olive relish. The Cuban sandwich—jerk pork, ham, pickles, and Gruyère—is another standout. A hen’s egg is nestled atop the Caesar salad, adding richness to a dressing with just enough anchovy. Voltaggio’s technique is on display in the chicken and dumplings—its creamy, celeriac-enhanced broth would be at home in fancier establishments.

Other offerings, such as a roasted-butternut-squash soup and a chocolate brownie, are merely good. But with a menu that tops out at $5, they’re all good deals.

Lunchbox, 50 Carroll Creek Way, Frederick; 301-360-0580. Open daily 11:30 to 6:30. Starters $3 to $4, sandwiches $4 to $5.

This article appears in the March 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.