Tom & Ray's Restaurant in Damascus, MD
Hey Guy, I have a few recommendations for you in Maryland! First and foremost, you need to head on down to Tom & Ray's Restaurant in Damascus, Maryland that has been around for at least my entire 35-year lifetime. Tom & Ray's has been in Damascus since 1960 and is truly a piece of disappearing America. It reminds you of an old time local diner complete with a counter, where you'll find the older 'townies' that are adorable and extremely sweet sitting and talking about anything and everything, and comfy booths. Tom & Ray's is known for their amazing homemade fried chicken that's to die for and not to mention great country pies. It's not fancy, but that is what makes it great. They've even collected memorabilia from the Damascus area in the front window and they have a bunch of great historical photos of the area on the wall. Tom & Ray's has tons of great food that I've been told is 85% homemade and includes cream of crab soup, a killer BLT, and chipped beef on homefries, They have great jumbo lump crabcakes (it is in Maryland of course), yummy catfish, the Big "B" burger, and the pub style battered rockfish platter. You just gotta check out this funky town landmark Guy. The next place you need to check out is the White Oak Tavern in Ellicott City, MD, its relatively new to the area but its a promising joint. Its in a strip mall called the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center (which used to be a local fairytale themed amusement park where scenes from the old Johnny Depp movie "Cry Baby" were filmed) but restaurants in strip malls aren't new to you. Anyhoo, the White Oak Tavern is one of the first places in my area, to my knowledge, that's doing farm-to-table. They are big on using local, seasonal, and sustainable meats and produce from places such as Wagon Wheel Ranch in Mt. Airy, Maryland, South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, Love Dove Farms in Woodbine, Maryland, and atwater's bakery in Catonsville, Maryland. White Oak Tavern in a big craft beer spot that supports local breweries such as The Brewers Art and Charm City Meadworks in Baltimore, DuClaw Brewing Company in Bel Air, Maryland, and Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland. You gotta try their chicken Sausage bahn mi and their grilled watermelon salad and oyster bloody mary. Next up, you really need to roll on over to Kloby's Smokehouse in Laurel, Maryland that's pumping out killer barbecue. The owner, Steve Klobosits, used to be a paramedic/firefighter (he was the station chef too) and he runs Kloby's with his wife Michele. You need to try their signature Jar-B-Que that has ri-donk-ulous layers of pulled pork, barbecue beans, and creamy coleslaw topped with a pickled green tomato. They do burgers as well and they are absolutely bananas, and bananas is good. Eat their morning after burger that's a Burger with smoked ham, bacon, and Swiss cheese topped with a fried egg. The bomb "nachos" contain waffle fries, barbecue beans, jack cheese, sour cream, and green onions that you can slather with Chipotle bbq sauce. Try their Carolina pig dip, it's exactly what it sounds like, and did I mention the yummy sides like chili, mac and cheese, collard greens, brisket bbq Beans, balsamic bacon brussel sprouts, push puppies, and applesauce. Lastly, don't forget dessert and get some of Kloby's "famous" homemade bread pudding that has a litany of flavors which include raisin with bourbon sauce, caramel apple, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate chunk brownie, and the slammin' bacon brownie. And finally, You gotta check out the classic diner in Catonsville, MD called the Double T Diner. The Double T has been serving our area since 1959 and always delivers top quality food at affordable prices. The Double T has 8 locations but the original "open 24 hours" location in Catonsville is the real deal. Hopefully you'll come to our neck of the woods again soon Mr. Fieri. Thanks and goodbye.