Bryan Voltaggio’s Lunchbox in Frederick, Maryland

I can’t really afford to dine at the fancy-pants Volt restaurant in downtown Frederick, Maryland.  Well, I can afford it, but c’mon… I’m more likely to be seen eating a dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget than goat cheese ravioli and squab.  Also the fact that you need reservations… well, that’s just not my regular style.  So when Volt owner Bryan Voltaggio made the decision to open a casual lunch-time sandwich spot called Lunchbox just blocks away from Volt, I felt it was my time to get a chance to sample the goods.

Lunchbox opened today, and I stopped in to snap some pics and get a quick bite.  The menu consists of sandwiches, soups and salads.  Nothing on the Lunchbox menu is over $5.00.

The “About” section of the Lunchbox website reads:

Located just five blocks from Bryan Voltaggio’s flagship, Lunchbox takes the fresh, seasonal ingredients used daily at VOLT and transforms them into gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. Located adjacent to the Frederick County Library on the beautiful Carroll Creek Promenade, Lunchbox makes for a great stop for parents to grab a nutritious lunch for the kids or professionals to grab a quick nutritious meal.  This casual dining venue seats 30 people comfortably for lunch only. Patrons will be able to dine in the venue or take their meals to go.

Some of the pressed sandwiches on the menu:

  • peanut butter & banana: peanut butter, sweet hawaiian bread | 4
  • the pilgrim: turkey, orange-cranberry, sage, cream cheese, seven grain | 5
  • reuben: pastrami, swiss, pickled cabbage, marble rye | 5
  • muffaletta: capocola, prosciutto, gruyere, olive relish, classic roll | 5

Lunchbox is simple and charming with such wall decor as, you guessed it, lunchboxes on the wall.  The location is nice being alongside picturesque Carroll Creek.

Since Frederick’s only Cuban restaurant closed down within recent years,  I decided to go with the Cuban sandwich (jerk pork shoulder, ham, pickle, gruyere, mojo sauce, Cuban bread).  It was $5.00 and deliciously toasty and packed with flavor.  The pickles weren’t too sour and the Cuban bread was just awesome.

The sandwich was little on the smaller side for the price, but this was to be expected with the higher quality ingredients.  I’d gladly pay $5 to try every gourmet sandwich on the menu over time.

Top Chef runner up Bryan Voltaggio was making every sandwich behind the counter too… not sure how long that will last, but it was nice for the opening day.

Also I must note… a crate of free apples, bottled Cheerwine in the fridge (love bottled Cheerwine), and tables topped with jars of free jellybeans and M&M’s.  If you order your lunch to-go, it comes in a handy disposable lunchbox.

I’m hearing that Bryan Voltaggio has plans to open more eateries in Frederick including a diner and the tentatively titled North Market Kitchen which will feature “dining areas and separate seating in environments given over to charcuterie and salumi, raw bars and fresh pasta.”  It may not seem like it, but I embrace the non-chains.  I love that a place like Lunchbox is in my town and hope to see it succeed.  I’m beginning to see Frederick more and more these days as a lesser known foodie friendly nice little community.

Lunchbox on Urbanspoon

46 comments on “Bryan Voltaggio’s Lunchbox in Frederick, Maryland

  1. Justin ST says:

    I dislike Top Chef and I dislike the hosts. I hear many of the contestants are overrated. I also dislike most of the contestants. I think I prefer Top Chef Masters with the established chefs that aren’t arrogant and full of BS.

    On the topic of sandwich joints, I think they’re really dumbed down in North America. I have no idea why. I much preferred even the premade sandwiches that you could buy at Pret, Eat, and even the grocery stores in London! Stop treating us like we’re all blue-collar factory workers! Even the Prets in America are dumbed down.

    • David L. says:

      If things are so much better in London – by all means move back!!

      I marvel at the shear number of snobby a-holes, who move to our country only to complain about it.

      Ours is a free country and you are not required to stay.

      And unless British cuisine has recently made great strides, of which I am unaware, the only decent food in London comes from the countries that the arrogant pricks had previously colonized.

  2. Rodzilla says:

    I wonder how long he was planning this, or if it just came as a result of his brothers success with Ink Sack

  3. Manavee says:

    I love Top Chef (in fact it’s basically the only television show I watch anymore). Michael Voltaggio has a Michelin star behind his name, many of them are James Beard winners, and nowadays most of them have very impressive pedigrees. So, I don’t think they’re all overrated.

    Interesting to me that Bryan has a big tat on his forearm, as he was kind of portrayed as the “square” brother on the show. Was he interacting much with the patrons?

  4. Adam says:

    Ryan, this is a sweet post. Thanks for giving us a first look!

    I was actually in Frederick on Friday but had forgot they planned to open this place early in December. It certainly sounds the perfect place to grab a light but well worth it lunch. By the way, since your a Frederick guy…have you ever tried lunch at the Tasting Room or Firestone? I walked by both the other day and their lunch menus actually look reasonable…and damn good.

    • Ryan says:

      I haven’t tried either actually. I’ve been meaning to go to Firestone’s… soon I hope.

    • Jenny says:

      I live in Frederick, and both TR and Firestones are very nice! Firestones has an excellent cheese plate with truffle honey, and the truffle fries are also not bad. When you go, try to request a seat by the window, so you can look down over Market street. TR has a great lobster chowder and they will give you a taste of any wine before you order a whole glass if you ask. Also a plug for The Wine Kitchen, which opened recently, and is almost next door to Volt Lunchbox.

  5. SkippyMom says:

    Forget the Cheerwine [although I understand the allure] they have Coca Cola in green bottles, big ones too! YUM

    The sandwiches look so delicious – especially the pilgrim & the rueben. I like the lunch box to go.

    I wish him luck and will definitely be stopping by on our next trip up that way.

  6. Libby says:

    This sounds great and I’ll be checking it out very soon! However, lunch at Volt didn’t have to be as expensive as you make it out to be. I’ve dined in the bar area for the express lunch several times (and I’m sorry to see its going) and a three course menu is only $14 and you don’t need a reservation! I’ve also experienced Table 21 and it was worth every penny! I’ll be going to any place he opens!

  7. Diana Schobel says:

    The people who ran That Cuban Place operate a truck now. Supposedly the were in front of the Pop Shop yesterday.

  8. Mikey F Baby says:

    I love places like that! Awesome

  9. Chefprotoss says:

    Hmmm… Maybe I should start reviewing stuff I previously thought was too obscure. Actually, I should write up the three reviews I have pics for… =P

    Oh, and I have heard great things about Volt. Other than a corned beef-less reuben, this place seems like heaven to me. No, most chefs do not eat seared diver scallops with a buerre rouge and lentils everyday. We just want a good sandwich. =)

  10. Rodzilla says:


    while I agree that some of the contestants on the show have been prima donnas (e.g. Marcel). A good number of them we’re already rather established before competing on the show. Bryan had already opened VOLT prior to the show, and Michael had been a finalist for a James beard as Chef de Cuisine of The Dining Room at The Langham

    • Justin ST says:

      That season was ridiculous. None of the contestants ever had a chance. It’s almost like the Volt brothers were making a celebrity appearance. The judges were very biased towards them. They walked on air. I think that was the last season of Top Chef that I watched. This place just looks average, and the Volt brothers come across as a couple of guys who are legends in their own minds.

      • Chefprotoss says:

        Volt is a little pretentous for my tastes, but from what I have heard from people, it is legit. Those people are other chefs btw. Not trying to argue, I just wanted to throw that out there.

        As far as being judged by their peers, Citronelle and The Inn at Little Washington are considered the best restaurants in the DMV. For me, I pick Russia House. But Volt does come into this kind of conversation as well. That’s my two cents. =)

  11. kikurage says:

    Free apples service is something cheerful for me.
    I am happy to see a mountain of apples.

  12. Lindsay says:

    I have to say, I’m jealous I don’t live anywhere near Maryland! The under $5 price is awesome, the sandwiches look really good and free apples, jellybeans and M&Ms? SOLD!

  13. Brad says:

    Looks good to me, if I ever end up in that part of the state I may check it out. Mexican Coke and Cheerwine in the same place is all the evidence I need to tell this is a good operation.

  14. Samantha says:

    You can get a 24-pack of Mexican Coke at Sam’s Club…

  15. Marko says:

    Pretzel and pizza creations still has my vote for best sandwiches in Frederick! But I will check this out too…

    • Amy says:

      I LOVE that place. I’ve been going there for years and always harrass King GG to see what his missing out on with that excellent local hole-in-the-wall, but his procrastination is in overabundance. Stay tuned for a “Pretzel and Pizza Creations” review to come if I have to do it myself.

  16. Steve says:

    I so appreciate Bryan Volt. He is from here. I am not.

    I tried my best to embrace Frederick as my own. I have done that, to the point of raising $70,000 for local non-profit associations, yet there has been some resistance to my efforts because I was not born here. Still, Frederick is a great place.

    I moved here to raise a family. Ever since my first trip to Frederick, into the Carroll Creek Damn, and then The Province (neither establishment is now there), I was hooked. Then there was Bushwallers (which is still there and offers the ultimate hometown Irish bar scene), after that and some researching the high quality of the public education, I did my best to instruct my future wife to set down roots here. Rather than Annapolis, we began to raise a family in Frederick. I’ve traveled a lot, but I’ve never found a better quality of life than Frederick and I have never regretted the decision to move here.

    I’ll cut to the chase since many of you foodies are getting bored by now.

    Since I have been here, no people have done more to further the future of Frederick, Maryland as a world class city than Ron Young, Kara Norman and Bryan Voltaggio. That’s my own opinion, of course. And there are many other good and noble people here who continue to believe in the goodness of Frederick, Maryland. I can easily list another ten or more.

    The bottom line is that I wish Bryan’s new restaurant “Lunch Box” success. And the new diner too. Like Matt Lerner dropping the five gold coins into the Salvation Army’s pot the other day, or the Hurwitz family’s support for the breast cancer fund……It is an inspiration.

    To me, this means more than any sandwich that can be served…….although, even though I haven’t tried them yet, I am certain that Bryan’s sandwiches are excellent. I am certain.

  17. Amy says:

    I ate at The Lunchbox yesterday and it was delicious. Service was friendly. There was no wait to order, but a wait for pickup. Bryan was there to make my sandwich. The free apples were abundant however there was not a jelly bean or m&m as far as the eye could see. Since “That Cuban Place” closed I opted for the Cuban. Returning from Florida last week I’m on Cuban overload and loving it. 🙂

  18. Mary Pat says:

    Just ate at the Lunchbox with my husband today-awesome!!!

  19. anon says:

    Had lunch at the lunchbox today. The food was not as flavorful as stated in this article. The shitak mushroom soup barely had a taste of muchroom, let alone a strong taste liek a shitake mushroom usually has. Also the sandwhich, which was a Rueben, was only slightly warm and was some what dry. A cuban friend of mine got the Cuban sandwhich and he also said it wasn’t what he expected because the it wasn’t as flavorful as an authenic cuban.

    On the positive side, the staff behind the counter was extremely friendly and patient. The decor was fresh and inviting. I just wish the food was better. I guess I had high hopes when I heard that this was a Bryan Voltaggio restaurant.

  20. Jstchel says:

    Loved, loved, loved the lunch box. I have been wanting to head in to downtown to try, but never seemed to find the time. But, today I decided to try it based on the reviews on this website. I had the Pigram (turkey, orange-cranberry, sage, cream cheese, seven grain) , and I have to say it was quite delish!!! I love the fact that you can have gourmet food at Deli prices. I’ve also eaten at Volt, and can’t wait to go back on Valentine’s Day!!!

  21. Janet Shoemaker says:

    My friend and I visited Lunch Box today. We were both very
    disappointed. She had the banana and peanut butter and I the
    Cuban. The meat was very average. Not a lot of taste to the
    sandwich. Mediocre at best. I have been to Volt and was very
    pleased. The Lunch Box will not be on my list. The Cafe in that
    venue prior to TLB served much better food. I hope this can be
    changed. There were lots of people at TLB; I wonder what they
    thought of the food.

  22. Vicki Car says:

    I thought Lunch Box was aweful !
    Greasy sandwiches, yuck, and they charged me a dollar to change the type of bread I wanted and did NOT tell me they charged me for that.
    It was so hot in there I thought i was going to die. VERY BAD!!
    The staff was a bunch of young kids that did not know anything about the restaurant biz.
    I will spread the word this is crap

  23. […] RestaurantChef Bryan Voltaggio has graced Frederick, Maryland with high-end cuisine (Volt) and an affordable sandwich shop (Lunchbox).  Fast forward seven months from the opening of Lunchbox, Voltaggio’s 3rd grub destination […]

  24. Efinn says:

    Reubens are NOT made with pastrami, they’re made with corned beef. Sorry, huge pet peeve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *