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Apr 16, 2014 08:05 AM

Casual lunch just off 270

We'll be leaving the DC area via Rte 270 around noon. Can someone please recommend a place to stop for lunch close to 270. Ideally, the place would be north of the Montrose Road exit and no more than 3/4 of an hour's drive. I don't know the 270 corridor at all.


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  1. Closest to that exit would be the three places at Park Potomac: Zoe's Kitchen (chain, sort of Mediterranean), Founding Farmers (I personally find it to be dreadful but apparently a lot of people like it), and Elevation Burger. However, within 45 minutes of that exit, you can reach at least a couple of dozen restaurants on 355. You could go to the Tower Oaks Lodge (part of the Clyde's chain, it's ok; you definitely need reservations because it is popular and always full at lunchtime). You could go to Mykonos - a very good Greek restaurant. You could go in the other direction to the Cabin John shopping center (Five Guys burgers, Attman's Deli, Grilled Oyster Company). Since you have so many restaurants within 45 minutes of the exit, it would help to know what kind of food you prefer so we can help you narrow it down.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Just Visiting

      Since it's a given that Hounds are going to recommend places with good food my primary requirement is location: some place close to a 270 exit with convenient re-entry. The charms of Mykonos' mixed appetizer platter are defeated by its Rockville Pike location.

      1. re: Indy 67

        Mykonos is not on Rockville Pike. It is on a side street and you don't have to drive on Rockville Pike to get to it. If you come off the Montrose Rd exit, just go up Montrose and where it splits, bear left. Go up to E. Jefferson, turn left. Go to Congressional, turn right. Turn left into the parking lot.

        You can also get to La Limena without driving on/near the Pike even though the shopping center where it is located is on the Pike.

        If you are ruling out anything that involves driving on/near Rockville Pike, then you should have mentioned that first as that eliminates a huge number of options, especially since you can drive 45 minutes from highway. Rockville Pike is the central artery and not surprisingly, many restaurants are on/near it.

        So OK, I've given you three that are virtually at the exit (in Park Potomac) but since you also want good food, those three are out. So instead, go the other way on Montrose and turn left onto Seven Locks Road. Keep going until you get to the Cabin John Shopping Center and go to Grilled Oyster.

        1. re: Just Visiting

          Whoops! I was referring to 45 minutes north on 270 -- not a 45 minute radius around the Montrose exit.

          1. re: Indy 67

            That's what I was thinking when I recommended Family Meal. It's about half an hour north, just off of where it intersects w/ 70/15. You really can't beat it.

            1. re: chowser

              Yes, under the revised scenario, this is exactly right. She'd be within 10 minutes of downtown Frederick.

            2. re: Indy 67

              Oh - OK huge difference. Thanks for the clarification. I was wondering why you wanted to stay close to 270 and yet had a 45-minute radius for lunch. Where in Frederick are you going? By miles, it is 37 from Bethesda to Frederick, yet it always takes close to an hour just for the drive; the traffic always bottlenecks as you lose lanes. Depending on your starting point after lunch, it is could be tough to get to Frederick in 45 minutes. With that constraint, I would say that Park Potomac or Grilled Oyster (which is quite good) would work.

              1. re: Just Visiting

                I don't think she said she's going t Frederick.

                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                  Actually I'm going well beyond Fredrick so the Voltage in place will work just fine as a place en route

                  1. re: Indy 67

                    Please ignore "Voltage" Auto correct and I got in a fight over Voltaggio and Auto Correct won

                  2. re: Worldwide Diner

                    Correct but she said no more than 45 minutes (from her starting point to lunch) and then the question was can you get from some point in DC (she didn't say where in DC) to Family Meal (which is in Frederick) in 45 minutes. I say not likely. Certainly not if she is starting from downtown, NE...

                    1. re: Just Visiting

                      I'm very touched by your continuing concern about me but I've received the help I need. (Please reread my original post. "Leaving the DC area" -- not DC itself. I also don't have to be at a particular point in 45 minutes.) We have a long distance drive to make and l was simply asking about a place to stop for lunch before we get too far away from the board's area of expertise and the lunch time.

                      Thsnks to everyone who provided restaurant names -- a lovely resource for me and anyone else.

          2. re: Just Visiting

            I am glad to find validation of my opinion of 'Foundering Farmers'. Dreadful is quite an appropriate word.

          3. If you get as far as Frederick, MD, try Family Meal, Bryan Voltaggio's casual diner like restaurant. It's possibly my favorite of his. The chicken pot pie fritters shouldn't be missed. It's right off 270.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Not really. If you exit from 270 onto East Street, it is actually quite a schlep because of all the traffic lights and in the downtown Frederick area, a surprisingly heavy amount of traffic. If they leave DC around noon, it will take them an hour to get there, so still lunchtime...

              1. re: Just Visiting

                I do the drive often since I work at Ski Liberty in the winter. It's about half an hour from Montrose (speed limit is 65 mph past Father Hurley Blvd). Family Meal is at most 10 mins off the freeway. I wouldn't do it past 2pm but earlier is fine. In fact, google map says it's 45 mins now from Montrose to Family Meal and that's with traffic (3:30pm on a Friday). I'd say it's one of the best meals I've had in the area in the past year, including Range.

              2. re: chowser

                Overtaken by events...

                We finished our AM chores considerably earlier than expected and breezed past the Frederick exit on 270 much earlier than lunch time. Since lunch turned out to be a desultory sub eaten at the Subway in Mechanicsburg, PA this was a huge disappointment. In particular, I wanted Brian Voltaggio to have a chance to redeem himself after our dinner the night before at Aggio. I'll write a more detailed review in a bit, but the executive summary is as follows:

                o lovely, sleek room
                o excellent service
                o interesting drinks (Sammy Davis, especially recommended)
                o good wine list
                o outstanding/sublime/amazing/creative food
                o small-plate choices that arrived at the table in sizes that ranged from something more appropriate for a 12- or 16-course tasting menu to one appropriate for a 4- to 6-course tasting menu. Despite its small size, each dish was priced as if it were standard appetizer size.
                o My son's $32 shrimp entrée consisted of 3 -- count'em three -- extra large shrimp on am Italian-sized bed of squid-ink pasta. (Extra-large shrimp are 26-30 count per pound. Even if I'm wrong and the shrimp were jumbo, there are still four shrimp sizes of larger-still shrimp that seem more appropriate if the portion consists of three shrimp.)

                When Tom Sietsema wrote "Yet the prices don't scream 'take out a loan' in his WAPO review, I can only assume he didn't order the particular dishes that were the most flagrant violators: lentils with calamari & octopus and the above-mentioned shrimp dish.

                1. re: Indy 67

                  I'll look for the review of Aggio. While I like Bryan Voltaggio, I don't think his restaurants are uniformly good and I wonder if it's a product of too much too quickly. While Volt is worth the experience, Family Meal is my favorite. I thought Range was fine, not on par with the others, far too big and confusing. And, the location made me feel like I was in a mall in the LA area. I've been looking for more about Aggio.

              3. East pearl Chinese
                Pho nam nam for pho and banh mi
                Sushi Damo in Rockville town center
                Uncle Julio rio grande as well as Nando Peri Peri in Rio
                China gourmet (aka Mamas dumpling)
                Honey Pig Korean BBQ in Germantown

                1. Pacifica Cafe in Gaithersburg. Shanghainese specialties. Go for the seaweed infused fish and the bean curd wraps, both typical of Shanghai and terrific.

                  1. Temari Cafe. It's a block south of Wooton Parkway and Rockville Pike. Easy to get back onto 270.