Suicide Bridge Restaurant
6304 Suicide Bridge Road
Hurlock, MD 21643
May 24, 2011
Suicide Bridge Restaurant is one of those places you go when you want a long, leisurely lunch, local crabs and friendly service. For us, lunch consisted of seafood skins (potato skins with shrimp, scallops and crabmeat smothered in a cheese sauce), a dozen large crabs and a large, homemade chocolate éclair covered in frozen Heath Bar chocolate.
The crabs you get depend on the catch from Dorchester County’s Choptank River, home to some of Maryland’s hardest working watermen. Waitress Brooke will tell you the restaurant, situated on Cabin Creek in Secretary next to the infamous bridge (Yes, the 21-foot high span is known as Suicide Bridge for that reason.), doesn’t serve the crabs until “they’re caught local.” You’re told up front that your crabs will take 20 minutes, and when they arrive, they are piping hot and covered with just the right amount of J.O. seasoning and rock salt. Extra Old Bay was set out, in case we needed to spice things up a little more. Our baker’s dozen we learned after polishing it off was the only large dozen that day. While not huge, these May crabs definitely qualified as large. There wasn’t a light-weight or soggy loser in the $50/dozen bunch, nor were there any missing claws. Mediums that weekday were $36, and the all-you-can-eat special was $38.95 (and included corn, slaw, fried chicken and clam strips). On a scale of 5, they’re a 4 for both taste and size.
The restaurant gets its seafood from Kool Ice in Cambridge. Both the restaurant and the seafood company are owned by Dave Nickerson. The restaurant is decorated in a traditional captain’s theme – wooden walls, captain’s chairs and maritime memorabilia on the wall. The crab buckets for your shells advertise Kool Ice. The view of the creek from the sunroom where we sat was calming and peaceful. From the table at the window, you could see the ducks hanging out on the pier. For a quarter, you can feed the ducks, which clearly they are expecting you to do. The set-up is such that you could boat in. For atmosphere, Suicide Bridge rates a 5 on a scale of 5. I have no doubt that on a rocking Friday night this place is packed. But for a Tuesday afternoon, the restaurant was doing a moderate lunch time business, catering mostly to an older clientele. Clearly, the wait staff likes their jobs. The waitresses we saw took extra time to talk with the customers, joke with them and answer their questions.
Our nearly three-hour lunch started with potato skin appetizer. The skins came to the table swimming in a cheese sauce, and topped with a lot of seafood – enough that it was worth fishing through the cheese to find any leftover bits. We took our time with the crabs, since they were our first of the season. The table next to us turned over twice with customers, and each time they were friendly types, willing to talk about their meals. Yes, the lone man next to us highly recommended the lump crab cake. (It looked absolutely delicious.) The next two customers – a woman and her mother – both in their senior years recommended the gumbo.
Normally, we opt to skip dessert, but as she reeled off the homemade dessert list the look on Brooke’s face said, “Get the chocolate éclair.” For $7.95, it could have fed a small army. The two of us managed to find the extra room for this huge, creamy dessert. The Heath Bar chocolate covered not only the éclair but the rest of the dish as well, and the éclair came with whipped cream and a cherry on the side. Had we been at home, we probably would have licked the plate. After we finished, Brooke confessed it was her favorite. An excellent confession, I might add. Suicide Bridge may be known by the locals as the place to end it, but for us, it was the beginning of leisurely dining experience – worth the drive into the heart of Dorchester County. If you go, make sure you check out the Paul Lockhart’s metal crab sculptures. He’s another Dorchester local whose work is superb.