A new restaurant concept in downtown Frederick seeks to solve the age-old problem of getting everyone to agree on one restaurant by instead getting multiple restaurants all under one roof.
But the Options Virtual Eatery puts a twist on what it means to be a restaurant.
Father-daughter team and owners Robert and Dani Gold, along with general manager Chad Gentile, refer to the concept as a “ghost kitchen,” a concept that has grown increasingly common during the pandemic, wherein a restaurant runs delivery and takeout orders out of the kitchen of another restaurant.
In this case, Options Virtual Eatery calls the Frederick Eagles Club on West Patrick Street its home, and they will be delivering their food exclusively to the numerous breweries dotting the banks of Carroll Creek.
Dani Gold said the concept grew out of shifting needs during the pandemic; she and her father own Professional Bartenders & Servers, an event-planning company that serves the area around Washington, D.C., and she said they began to look at other options when events dwindled to nearly none.
“We had more time on our hands to be creative, because our industry was pretty much devastated,” she said. “So we started to think, ‘How can we get some jobs back on the market that’s been really negatively affected by COVID-19?’ ”
After a period of brainstorming, she said the idea of Options Virtual Eatery was born. The eatery is almost more like a shopping mall; it’s technically made up of multiple, distinct restaurants, each with their own separate menu designed by a different chef.
“Everyone has different backgrounds they specialize in, and they’ll be working together in collaboration in the same kitchen,” Gold went on, saying they are working with a wide array of “local talent” to keep the food options exciting.
When Options Virtual Eatery launches, which is expected to happen in late January, it will be serving food from two separate restaurants: Linkz Sausages of the World & Frankfurters from the States, along with a takeout version of the menu already on offer at the Roasthouse Pub on Urbana Pike.
Further options will be available in the future, the team said. According to the Options Virtual Eatery’s website, future restaurant concepts will include BREWBiTES, which will be focused on large, shareable portions of appetizers, Hot Off the Press, which will serve paninis, soup and other sandwiches, and a dedicated kids’ menu dubbed “Are We There Yet?”
Gentile said what sets Options Virtual Eatery apart from other options, like the now-ubiquitous food delivery apps, is that diners will be able to order from as many of the offered restaurants as they’d like and have it all reflected on one bill with one delivery fee.
“The concept is focused on more than the single diner,” Gentile said.
The Options Virtual Eatery team said they’ve made agreements with the breweries to have QR codes on the tables, so brewery-goes can scan the code, open up the menu and order food to be delivered directly to their table.
Options Virtual Eatery will also not be available on the major delivery apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats; Gold said the eatery is instead opting to hire delivery drivers of their own.
“We’re using all in-house delivery drivers, no third-party apps,” she said. “We felt really strongly about that for a number of reasons. One, we wanted to make sure we could hire the talent instead of outsourcing it, and two, we wanted to make sure we had quality control.
“We want to know when someone’s ordering the food, we’ve trained our staff how to order it,” she went on. “We’re using special heating pads to keep food hot.”
The team said they’ve been developing the concept of Options Virtual Eatery for some time, having spent more than a year-and-a-half trying to find a home base. The home kitchen was nearly the Eagles Club’s original location on East Patrick Street, but things were up in the air during the Eagles Club’s move to its new home on West Patrick Street.
But once the Eagles Club was firmly in its new home, the deal was officially minted, and the West Patrick location became the eatery’s home.
Co-owner Robert Gold said he is excited to bring the concept to Frederick, saying it will be exciting to experiment with food outside of the more fine-dining-focused scene of D.C. eateries.
“Frederick is more casual, but it’s still a foodie town,” the elder Gold said. “We can let our hair down a bit.”