Silver Spring’s short-lived fried chicken shack and sundae stand Fryer’s Roadside just came back to life, this time under a different restaurant group with some serious smoker skills.
Pitmaster Ed Reavis and his wife Jennifer Meltzer, the owners of nearby seafood stalwart All Set and next-door sibling Money Muscle BBQ in downtown Silver Spring, purchased year-old Fryer’s Roadside at Meadowood Shopping Center in September (12830 New Hampshire Avenue). The walk-up and carryout operation jumpstarted service under its new ownership on Thursday, December 8. Opening hours — 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays to Sundays — will expand in the new year.
The rebooted brand sticks to the core poultry and dessert menus that Fryer’s was known for over its quick run, along with the addition of smoked meats and other barbecue offerings from Money Muscle BBQ. The acclaimed food truck and takeout enterprise, birthed out of All Set during the pandemic, pumps up pulled pork, brisket, and bone-in beef ribs with standout sauces in regional styles from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kansas.
Reavis, who grew up eating comfort foods in a small southeastern Virginia town, reimagines Fryer’s favorites alongside a bevy of new Southern sides like honey Sriracha Brussels sprouts, potato salad, mac and cheese, barbecue beans, potato wedges, coleslaw, pickles, and collard greens. Catfish nuggets and whole chicken also hit the fryers this time around.
Southern fried chicken that’s both gluten-free and halal comes as tenders, bone-in pieces, and sandwiches. Ascending spice levels include classic, spicy, and smokin’ hot. Reavis’s revamped recipe calls for a light and crispy combination of all-purpose flour and potato starch, with a blast of Maryland’s beloved Old Bay seasoning.
Money Muscle BBQ plants its smokers on-site to send out barbecue pork ribs, smoked chicken wings (honey Sriracha or dry rub), sliced Texas brisket, and a Cuban panini featuring Carolina pulled pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and homemade dijonnaise.
Sundaes, soft serve, and milkshakes are still in the mix at Fryer’s 2.0. Choose from a chocolate fudge sundae, a caramel Snickers sundae—Reavis’s take on Fryer’s original Turtle sundae—and a peanut butter sundae featuring Reese’s cups and chopped nuts. The “Bakes and Sweets” section also includes biscuits, fried Oreos, and skillet cornbread. A la carte orders, kid’s menus, and family combo meals are all on tap. Starting next year, patrons can enjoy chicken on-site across a 32-seat patio.
Open in 2021, Fryer’s Roadside was an experimental project from first-time chef Steve Engelhardt, a former D.C. bartender who took on a Popeye’s gig during the pandemic to hone his poultry chops. Despite his novice experience, the fledgling stand earned early praise from Washington Post food reporter Tim Carman.
Engelhardt put the restaurant on the market and Reavis and Meltzer quickly pounced on the Maryland expansion opportunity, located five miles north of their ventures along Colesville Road. All restaurant equipment was included in the sale of Fryer’s, which formerly housed Chopaan Kabob House.
“I grew up around the corner from here, so I feel a deep connection to the area and am grateful that we can provide another great food option,” says Meltzer, in a statement.