Question: How many sandwiches exist that are so good that you would need no other reason to plan a trip to Frederick? Count the number of sandwiches on the menu of AKA Friscos and you will have your answer.
Ms. Classy and I visited AKA Friscos a few weeks ago and we could not wait for a return visit. I messaged with my lunch plans while she was stuck at work and she replied, “It is cruel of you to go up there without getting me something. CRUEL.” I promised to bring home one of their mouth-watering sandwiches (the Trans-Am) and she quickly retracted her accusation of cruelty. The trip from doorstep to deli took the better part of an hour, but in my food-obsessed opinion, it was worth it.
The first thing a newbie customer will notice upon entering the restaurant is the atmosphere. There’s no formal greeter, but I got a friendly “Hello!” shout and a sample of their Exploded Potatoes handed to me when I walked in the door. AKA Friscos is the antithesis of formal in the best way possible. It is one part deli, one part sports bar, and one part indoor picnic. Customer and staff conversations are loud, but friendly, and their music selection rocks (80s Def Leppard, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Alice Cooper were on the playlist during my visit). You can watch the sandwich magic happen from the open center ‘pavillion’ where they take your order and assemble your food.
Now to my favorite part of all: the food. On the first visit, Ms. Classy and I shared the Embarcadero and the Alcatraz sandwiches and shared a side of the Exploded Potatoes. After the first bite, we made a blood oath to return. For today’s visit, I ordered the BBQ Sandwich, which comes with a side of the Exploded Potatoes, for $8.50. As you can see, this sandwich is big and slathered in Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce. The server brought a handful of extra napkins, which is a necessity for a sandwich like this. The roast beef was tender with a nice smokey flavor. If you like your barbecue beef sweet, this is the sandwich for you.
Even though the sandwich was large and wonderful, the side of Exploded Potatoes is not to be overlooked. Unlike a traditional cold, mustard/mayonnaise based potato salad, the Exploded Potatoes are served warm, almost mashed, with plenty of butter, bacon, and green onions mixed inside. They are amazing and a must have unless you have some sort of anti-potato political agenda.
After my tasty and very filling lunch, I had a nice chat with the owner, John Wolf. He gave me a quick tour of the facilities and showed me where they dry rub, roast, and slice their fresh meats daily. Their breads are delivered bakery fresh every morning. He let me sample a few different meat slices, which made me curse my standard-sized stomach for not being able to take on additional sandwiches at the time. I asked him about the ‘off the grid’ location and John said it was by design. He’s happy with his regular clientele and atmosphere for the deli and attached wine store. He is more than happy to welcome new customers, but cautions the atmosphere isn’t for everyone and people have come based on stellar customer reviews and were a little put off by the hyper-casual atmosphere. I assured him that no one really reads my blog and he seemed pleased. He followed that up with one of my favorite quotes from a restaurant owner: “We’re not going to turn the music down.”