One of the main things we look for here at Retro Roadmap are cool vintage places that are easy to get to off of a major highway – so even if you’re not taking the back roads, you can still avoid the chains. The Barbara Fritchie Restaurant is hard to miss with it’s 25′ steel candy cane sign, and wicked easy to get to from Interstate 70.
I did not know ’til we entered the low slung almost Howard Johnson-like building that Barbara Fritchie was a historical figure, and not the owner of the restaurant. I confess to not being up on my Civil War history, my bad – especially in this neck of the woods!
The restaurant was named after the local CW heroine who was immortalized in the John Greenleaf Whittier poem, “The Ballad of Barbara Fritchie,” where she is defiantly waving her Union flag in the face of oncoming Confederate soldiers. Go Babs!
Oened in the spring of 1960 the restaurant has been under new management since 2007. While the current owners did replace the pepto-pink upholstery on the long line of counter stools to a more conservative green, at least they didn’t mess with thos FAB colorful bubble chandeliers!
The other thing that they didn’t mess with was the tradition of making all of the items on the menu from scratch, including their famous pies. While we had mis-timed our visit and arrived with full bellies, we did enjoy a slice of my favorite regional pie, the Graham Cracker – and were mightily impressed with their efforts. You don’t get stuff like that at a highway rest stop!
We also loved finding evidence of other Retro Roadmap worthy photo ops on good old Route 40, including this Dairy Delite – I mean Dairy Queen – I mean Gyro King!
The restaurant looks like all that is left of what once was a charming roadside inn, from the looks of this 1960s era postcard on Cardcow.com:
While Mod Betty snapped photos of their vintage signery, Retro Roadhusband ventured in to buy a bit of bottled cheer for our weekend away.
See the cool things you can find when you get off the highway? Glad we can make it easier for you to find ‘em!
Barbara Fritchie Restaurant
1513 W. Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21702