Category Archives: Ocean City

Elliott’s Seafood

Elliott’s Seafood
10922 Adkins Road
Berlin, MD 21811
410-641-5938
Facebook page: Elliott’s Seafood on Facebook
 
 
Aug. 22, 2016
 
 
After a kayaking trip down the Pocomoke River in Snow Hill, the desire for steamed crabs turned out to be a strong one, but they needed to come from somewhere different. Google and Facebook suggested Elliott’s Seafood in Berlin, close to Ocean Pines.
 
The long, red crab barn is located on Bill Elliott’s property, parallel to his home. There’s no question the crabs are local. The crab pots and bushel baskets are stacked up behind the long red barn that houses a freezer, steaming pots, office and customer service area.
 
Elliott catches the crabs himself south of Assateague and steams them up to order, seasoning them with J.O. Spice.
 
At this carry-out operation, a dozen mediums and larges cost $30 in late August. A half-bushel (four dozen, actually) cost $75.
 
The heavy half-bushel, packed in a vodka box, turns out to be just what he said it would be mediums and larges. Some are a little light. Some are extremely heavy. Seasoned well, these crabs made for several meals with some claws left over for soup.
 
Elliott’s makes the list of go-to places near Ocean City.

Country Barn Seafood

Country Barn Seafood

10852 Cathell Rd.

Berlin, Md. 21811
410-641-5164

 

Aug. 30, 2013

 

The newspaper ad advertised “hard and fat” crabs, so I just had to find out what Country Barn Seafood had to offer.

 

The gruff voice on the phone rattled off Labor Day weekend prices between $30 a dozen and $66 a dozen, and the carry-out business would only take “cash or check.”

 

How are they running, I ask? I wanted to see what kind of an answer I’d get.

 

“It’s the way I grade the crabs. They’re all heavy,” says Charles “Speedy” Voss, co-owner of Country Barn Seafood.

 

He’s the only one there, so he’ll need some time to get the crabs ready.

 

Not a problem for me, since I’m in Ocean City and Country Barn is in Ocean Pines, down Cathell Road past the hardware store.

 

I order a dozen medium-large at $54.

 

“J.O. or spicy?” he asks.

 

At first I don’t realize he’s asking me how I want the crabs seasoned. I tell him to make them spicy, and then I tell him to make them like he likes them. He says he’ll go easy on the spicy.

 

Arriving at the Country Barn Seafood, Voss is sorting crabs into bushel baskets. But he’s not just measuring them for their size in length. He’s checking out each crab’s abdomen. Its color determines its fullness. He’s also checking out its back swimming leg is to determine what stage of molting the crab is in.

 

Lightly spiced, the local crabs from the Choptank and Wye rivers lived up to his “hard and fat” guarantee. Voss’ careful sorting pays off.

 

There wasn’t a light one in the batch. Each crab was full and sweet – how they are supposed to be.

 

While the business is no-frills inside, it does offer a nice touch – a stack of old newspapers so you have something to crack your crabs on.

 

Country Barn Seafood is a “keeper” if you’re looking for steamed crabs in Ocean Pines, just don’t expect a baker’s dozen.

 

 

 

Beachy’s Seafood

NO LONGER IN BUSINESS

142nd St. & Coastal Hwy.

14107 Coastal Hwy.

Ocean City, Maryland 21842

410-664-5990

 

 

Nestled between a dry cleaner and a convenience store, you might miss Beachy’s Seafood in Ocean City. For the last couple of years, the joint has been shut up tight. But no longer.

 

This little red gem on Coastal Highway at 142nd Street behind the Exxon is under new management and it clearly shows.

 

Beth Pruitt and Shawn Parks spent several weeks scrubbing down the carry-out and sprucing it up before opening the doors.

 

Clean and bright, the inside of the shop is decorated with an authentic waterman’s theme – oyster tongs, crab netting, crab traps and other boating paraphernalia.

 

Parks is a waterman, originally from Tangier Island, Va., a community known for its ties to the crabbing industry. He and Pruitt are very friendly. They don’t hesitate to talk with customers, and they answer questions without hesitation. They seem to love what they’re doing.

 

The crabs, fish and oysters are all local. Everything is fresh and cooked to order.

 

Unlike other Ocean City crab joints, the crabs are not pre-steamed. Parks says he won’t do it. You’ll have to wait the half-hour it takes to steam them.

 

On Memorial Day, the half hour was worth the wait for the Maryland crabs. A dozen mediums cost $30. They ranged in size from plump, 5-inchers to lighter, 6-inchers and came in a baker’s dozen.

 

Seasoned heavily with J.O. #2, these tasty crabs made for a great end to a long holiday weekend.

 

Next time, the game plan will be to try the flounder or maybe go for what Beachy’s bills as “Homemade Tangier Island Crabcakes.”

 

beachyshot_crabssign_inside menu_customerssign_outside beth_pruitt shawn_parks crabs2 claws seasonings inside_crab lump

Rippons Seafood

Rippons Seafood

120th St. & Coastal Hwy
1911 Coastal Hwy.
Ocean City, Maryland 21842

410-723-0056

June 22, 2012

 

The drive to the beach turned out to be long – 4 hours – and through crazy downpours. As I got to Ocean City, I kept having an internal debate: Should I get crabs? I found myself then debating whether I should try Rippons? Years ago, the crabs there didn’t agree with me. But my gut told me to try again.

 

Before I realized it, I had driven to Rippons, a stand-alone brick building on 120th Street bayside, next to the Ocean City Square Shopping Center. It’s been there since 1985.

 

The friendly guy behind the counter spelled out the options for me and recommended the local crabs, calling them “decent.” The choice would be $25 a dozen for mediums (5- to 5 ½ inches), $35 a dozen for medium-large (5 ½- to 6-inch) or $60 a dozen for large (6- to 6 ½-inch). The medium-larges, he told me, would be full, but the selling point – the fact the crabs came out of Chesapeake Bay waters, some from Crisfield and some from near Hooper’s Island – sold me. OK, I also wasn’t willing to shell out (pun intended) $60 for North Carolina crabs.

 

I managed to get to Rippons just before the early Friday dinner crowd, and as I waited, the popularity of the place became obvious.  At least a half dozen people ordered as I waited for my crabs. One regular who came for shrimp joked that he wanted to sit in front of the fresh seafood counter so he could “drool on the food.”

 

I must admit the fresh seafood, Maryland-packed Wind Mizz crab meat and homemade crab soup looked tempting. Everything looked tempting. I was hungry. Rather than add more food to my order, I did kick in an extra $6.99 for a 1-pound container of seasoning. The counter worker told me seasoning was the same type used to steam the crabs, a mix of the commercial brand JO2 and other spices Rippons used.

 

The heavy bag of crabs I was handed told me I’d made a good choice. I cracked it open the bag in the car and let the steam rise up, fogging up my glasses as my finger swiped a taste of the seasoning.

 

With the Coastal Fisherman newspaper laid out on the table, I poured out the crabs. I picked out one of the bigger crabs, a completely full one. I let my tongue enjoy the first claw, holding it in my mouth to really taste it. My reaction: I hope the rest taste as sweet. My mouth was on fire, and I couldn’t stop licking my fingers. For me, that’s always a good sign.

 

A quick count revealed I received 13 crabs. The crabs all met the minimum size requirement. A couple actually measured 6 ½ inches. Some were right on the verge of being the next size, and I’d call three light. With it being early in the season, I couldn’t argue with a few being light. But two, sadly, qualified as mushy, a bit overcooked.

 

As I worked my way through the baker’s dozen, another internal debate started, only this time it was the good wife/bad wife dilemma. Should I eat all of them? Should I save the biggest of them for my husband?  The answer: The good wife saved him three. The bad wife just couldn’t hold out. She ate the biggest one.

On The Bay

On The Bay

42nd Street and Coastal Highway

410-524-7070

August 23, 2010

Sweeter will be the word that comes to mind when you crack open the crabs from On The Bay. The seasoning is a doctored-up variation of J.O., a common crab seasoning. But On The Bay’s version is one where your mouth isn’t burning after your sixth or seventh or tenth crab. I’m not sure what happens after No. 10, we only ate 20 crabs of our ½ bushel during our first sitting. Continue reading On The Bay

Leo’s Seafood Restaurant

Leo’s Seafood Restaurant
139th Street
Ocean City, Md. 21842
410-250-1600 or 410-250-9936

Aug. 22, 2010

“Leo’s had bigger crabs” read the note from my older brother. In choosing Leo’s over another Ocean City crab joint, he said his decision was a “no brainer.” Continue reading Leo’s Seafood Restaurant

Bahama Mamas North

 

LOCATION CLOSED

Bahama Mamas North

13201 Coastal Highway

Ocean City, Md. 21842

410-524-8585

May 30, 2010

Some things you just don’t want hear when you’re eating crabs. “I’ve been sweating my balls off” is one of them. Those are the exact words that came out of one waiter’s mouth at Bahama Mamas North as he waited on a group of friends Memorial Day weekend. Continue reading Bahama Mamas North

The Best Crabs Seafood Co.

The Best Crabs Seafood Co.
143rd Street and Coastal Highway — Bayside

Actual Address:

14203 Coastal Highway

Ocean City, Md. 21842

1-410-250-7177

 

August 27, 2009

 

Rarely do I pop for a dozen jumbos, and I mean rarely. But there was something in the waterman’s voice that just said “just do it.” I was going to opt for a dozen and a half large at The Best Crabs. I’ve been going there for years and have never been disappointed.

 

The guy steaming the crabs said he had caught 3 to 4 bushels of jumbos in the Chester River and that they were “big and full.” Knowing my brother has just done the same thing recently in the Chester River – caught a couple of bushels of really big crabs – I knew the waterman wasn’t pulling one over on me.

 

What I wasn’t expecting was for the crabs to be so large and so full. Some of them measured in at 9+ inches. For size, these crabs easily ranked a 5. Seasoned with J.O. #2, each was as sweet as can be. Cooked to perfection and seasoned well, there is no question, these crabs rated as 5s. It was the first time this season that I truly said, “Hmm and awww” after the first crab.

 

Best Crabs is a carry-out, tucked away in Misty Cove Shopping Center, a strip of four stores. It does have two colorful outdoor tables, but be aware there is a 15 percent gratuity tacked on if you eat there. As a carry-out, its staff is always friendly and efficient. My preference is to go in rather than to call, only because you might get a better recommendation doing so. I certainly did. On value well, these jumbos did cost $95 for the baker’s dozen, but it was a baker’s dozen. Honestly, they were so big that a couple will end up being breakfast.

 

As for atmosphere, mine rated a 5. I sat on an oceanfront deck watching the waves, drinking a Sam Adams and cracking crabs. I can’t think of anything anymore wonderful, can you?

Crab Bag

Crab Bag

130th Street – Bayside

13005 Coastal Highway
Ocean City, Md. 21842
410-250-3337

 

Reviewed: June 13, 2009

 
Delivered in a paper bag right to the table, these crabs were so hot, we burned a couple of fingers getting the first couple open. These extra large crabs ($69/dozen) delivered on size. For once, the extra larges turned out to be extra large. On size alone, they rate a 4 on a scale of 5.

 

There seemed to be a little hesitation on the part of our server about the original home of the crabs, so I checked with another while on a bathroom break. The answer: North Carolina. Covered in spicy seasoning, these hefty crabs had the most seasoned crab eaters wiping the extra seasoning off their hands after eating a couple. Our dozen did have one bummer crab – light and watery. On taste, the crabs delivered almost a 4 on a scale of 5. You could tell they didn’t come from Chesapeake Bay, or they might have rated higher. Despite the fact it was June 13, I was told Crab Bag wasn’t getting Chesapeake Bay crabs yet. The outside sign would have led you to believe otherwise.

 

Service at the Crab Bag rates a 3. Perky and polite, Kate never told us the All-You-Can-Eat price ($19.99) but did immediately recommend the crabs by the dozen and the wings seasoned with Old Bay. For us, the recommendation paid off. The All-You-Can-Eaters seemed to be waiting a bit for their crabs, but their corn looked delicious. Also, I found it odd that the servers didn’t use trays to carry out the things that came with the AUCE. They stacked baskets of hush puppies on top of each other and carried them out to the tables. It just didn’t seem appetizing.

 

Previously, a tiny crab place, the Crab Bag has undergone a complete renovation. It now has two floors of inside seating, plus ground-floor- and second-floor outdoor seating. For ambience, we managed to get in early enough to snag seating outside on the second floor, overlooking Coastal Highway. Eleven picnic tables fit on the upper deck, but only 10 could be used. Every time somebody sat at the eleventh table, they’d move, probably because of winds and light rain. The place filled up quickly, and servers had to send people who walked up to the second floor from the highway side back downstairs to the waiting list.

 

Needless to say, Coastal Highway’s traffic would have been an amusing distraction, had it not been for the waiting list people and the wind – which kept trying to whip up the paper covering the picnic table. Good thing we got the extra larges. They seemed to hold everything in place. Hint: Dress for the crosswinds if you sit outside.

 

Rare as it is, we came home with a three crabs from the even dozen. I guess we shouldn’t chow down on wings and then expect to put away a dozen heavy crabs without a few extras.

Old Mill Crabhouse

Old Mill Crabhouse

125th  Street – Bayside

Actual address:
12407 Coastal Highway
Ocean City, Md. 21842 
410-250-CRAB (2722)

 UPDATE – May 2011: Sadly, Old Mill in Ocean City won’t reopen. Delmar location is open.

Reviewed: May 22, 2009

This is the second Old Mill location. Eastern Shore locals are familiar with the Delmar, Del. location, a popular haunt known for its all-you-can-eat meals.

Perhaps it’s the newness, but the O.C. location offers up a better impression in the old Doughroller Restaurant on 125th Street. With Parkay and rolls of paper towels at every table, the décor is a typical all-you-can-eat set up – booths and long tables, great for a big family get-together. 

On our May 22, 2009 visit – grand opening night – night two of the restaurant actually being opened, the place had a few kinks to work out. The hostess sat us in a section of the restaurant where we were the only ones there, but at a table with an already full trash can. Management then decided it didn’t need to open up that part of the restaurant. The front section wasn’t even half full yet. The place was beaming with new summertime employees milling around waiting for the Memorial weekend crowds.

The server encouraged the all-you-can-eat deal at $33 (crabs, fried chicken, fried shrimp, clam crisps, corn and hush puppies), but since we remembered having that at the Delmar location and getting stuffed on everything else, we opted for just a dozen regulars.

Whether both of us misheard the waiter or he misspoke, we’ll never know. We heard $45 for a dozen. It actually was $55. There were no larges. Jumbos were $75 a dozen that night. Hint: Get the all-you-can-eat deal and tell them to only serve you only the crabs. At least that’s what I plan to do the next time I’m there. It’ll save a couple of bucks.

The crab quality rates up there – a solid 4 on a scale of 5. These were genuine Maryland crabs and fresh, too. The delivery truck was still there when we arrived. Packed with well-cooked meat and seasoned with Old Bay, these tasty gems went down easily. Regretfully, they all didn’t have claws. We’re told they’re the same ones as the all-you-can-eat, and a glance at other tables confirmed it.

The service was friendly, a 3 on a scale of 5. Once the logistics are perfected, there’s no question Old Mill’s Ocean City location will pack them in. The question will be: Will all of the crabhouses in that stretch of North O.C. – Old Mill, Higgins and Bahama Mama’s – be able to survive? We’ll see.