MEAT IS KING!!!! It's a good 1950, without the martini.
Retro, very comfy place- Friendly as the name says, absolutely non-pretentious. The entrees are top-notch; the sides are mixed-quality buffet food- good slaw, very good fries, yummy rolls, everything else from a can- tasty if you like that. What's odd are the extreme contrasts between the quality of the entrees, the atmosphere, and sides- you're getting high quality proteins (and I mean really, really good- the best crab cake ever! Very nice filet- just a notch below Prime Rib quality, and cooked perfectly- Outback may as well be dog food) with sides that are Old Country Buffet, and the atmosphere is Church Hall- in a nice, family-style way.
This is true retro-dining- Meat is King!
Your art-school buddy will be torn in angst to near suicide over contempt for canned green beans and loving the crab cake so much!!
Lack of alcohol is a good thing, as it is WAY IN THE COUNTRY with lots of windy roads; I have no doubt Northern Baltimore County traffic fatalities would triple if they started selling booze. And I do like to drink- but not so far from home!! And it isn't right to get sloshed next to a family with 4 little kids and someone's grandma.
PS- Gift store is Country-Hokey in extreme; Grandma will bust her budget, art-school friend will have his pick of 2 nice lakes to jump in and end their misery!! :)
Overall Pretty Good.
Friendly Farms is somewhat of an institution in the Baltimore area. Almost everyone has heard of it or has been to it at least once. It is the type of restaurant you would find in Lancaster (Lane-Kuh-Ster), Pennsylvania, but instead is located in Northern Baltimore County. It's not a fancy restaurant, which is why I give it 3 stars. The service and food are good, but it is not 4 or 5 star food, which is why it doesn't get that rating.
The food that is especially good in my opinion:
Soft Shell Crabs (in season) (very good)
Fried Oysters (very good)
Sugar Biscuits (another thing they are known for)
Crab Cakes (I don't really like them, but a lot of people do)
A lot of people like their crab cakes, but I am not really crazy about them. The crab cakes have a good taste and are a lot better than other crab cakes in the area, but I just don't prefer them.
Why I also give Friendly Farms a 3?
It seems that this restaurant has been going downhill a little bit. One major thing that they did not too long ago (maybe within the last 2 years) was change the shrimp they used (fried shrimp). They used a certain brand/batter for many many years which was really good and went with a new brand or new batter, which is not as good. Also, they haven't really changed the menu like adding anything new to it. I believe in keeping things the same, but you also need to add things so people will keep coming back.
If you don't feeling like driving to PA Dutch County, then this is probably your place.