Dec. 31--The shuttering of Lunchbox restaurant along Carroll Creek in downtown Frederick saddened at least one little girl.
"My 9-year-old daughter was particularly unhappy to hear about Lunchbox closing," Diana Schobel said Monday. "She loved the grilled cheese sandwich and would ask to go there every time we were downtown during the day."
Kevin Moriarty was surprised one day when he went for his favorite salad and the eatery just wasn't there. Nobody seemed to know why it had closed, he said.
"They didn't give me a chance to say goodbye," said Moriarty, owner of Two Paws Up, a nearby shop.
According to Lunchbox's Facebook page, Nov. 23 was its last day. With its closing, local celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio's ventures now include Volt and Family Meal in Frederick and Range in Washington.
Outstanding Lunchbox gift cards may be used at any of the other three restaurants, and Voltaggio thanked his Lunchbox customers for their two years of patronage and support in an online statement.
Lunchbox, which opened Dec. 3, 2011, was never intended to be a long-term institution on Carroll Creek, Voltaggio wrote in an email response to questions about the closing.
"We signed a short term lease for Lunchbox and opened it to bridge the gap from when Volt stopped serving early lunch during the week (brunch is now served on the weekends), and while Family Meal was still under construction," Voltaggio wrote. "We plan on opening Lunchbox again in a more densely populated area in the future."
Most of the restaurant's employees were transferred to Family Meal and Volt, Voltaggio said.
"We are honored to manage and operate three full-service restaurants with three entirely different concepts," he said.
Other restaurants doing well
"Absolutely not," Voltaggio responded when asked if there was any truth to rumors that Volt on North Market Street might close as well.
"Volt is my flagship and there are no plans to move or close," he said. "I suspect the rumor was generated about Volt due to Lunchbox's closing. All the restaurants are doing very well."
Volt continues to be a culinary destination, the chef said.
"We work very hard to push the boundaries on our menu and the Table 21 experience," he said.
Table 21 is the chef's table, where patrons get 21 courses and watch as food is prepared in the kitchen.
Family Meal, a diner-style eatery in a converted car dealership on North East Street, has experienced great growth, Voltaggio said. Events held over the last year, including summer outdoor movie nights and free fried chicken on Election Day, were wonderful community days for the restaurant, Voltaggio said.
Family Meal recently introduced Family Dinner and offers family favorites in heavy rotation, from Brown Ale Beef Stew with Buttered Noodles to Cherry Pistachio Stuffed Pork Loin with Candied Yams and Braised Collard Greens, Voltaggio said.
His newest eatery, Range, on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, "is doing spectacular and we are working every day to continue to grow in all realms of our service, food and beverage," Voltaggio said. "We just celebrated our one-year anniversary in mid-December and have come a tremendous way."
Follow Ike Wilson on Twitter: @ikewilson99.