Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD

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Mgmax
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2010/08/08 22:49:19 (permalink)

Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD

So I have this vision of a place.  We drive on a country road, not far from the shoreline in Maryland.  We come to a little place right on the water.  We sit at rustic picnic tables, we crack a bunch of tasty crabs with a hammer, we have a great time.  Like a great hamburger stand in Oklahoma, like a pizza place in Jersey, it's what it has always been and always will be, and we love it.

Does this place exist?  I've followed a lot of leads here and mostly found things that are in towns, big waterfront restaurants.  They may have the picnic tables and the crabs but they also have a 45-minute wait until the buzzer thing they give me starts vibrating.  Don't get me wrong, I've taken some of those recommendations seriously, like Cantler's, and will probably use them, but... where's the place of my dreams?  Is it extinct?

By the way, we leave for the east coast (from Chicago) next Friday.
#1

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    plb
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 09:21:02 (permalink)
    Check out this place, it is in my older Roadfood book.  It is just as you describe.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/courtneys-restaurant-and-seafood-ridge
    post edited by plb - 2010/08/09 14:31:39
    #2
    Ivyhouse
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 10:04:24 (permalink)
    I enjoy Mike's Crab House in Riva, MD (just outside of Annapolis) -- http://www.mikescrabhouse.com/ 
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 10:21:41 (permalink)
    I'm not saying it is exactly what you are looking for, but check out Waterman's in Rock Hall.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=448124&high=waterman's
    #4
    Scorereader
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 11:42:36 (permalink)
    Well, if Cantler's doesn't describe the place you're talking about, I don't know what does. But, yes, Cantler's is also, rightfully so, popular. So, it can get crowded.

    There's a gazzillion places, though, like that. Many are popular and can get crowded. You may find the Eastern Shore a little less crowded, as DCers tend to stick to this side of the Bay Bridge.

    Anyway, here's a couple places I've been to that gives you a similar, but less crowded, experience (in no particular order - but keep in mind, I've only arrived at most of these places by boat -the first two are along Potomac River, rather than on the bay):

    Captain Billy's: 11495 Popes Creek Road, Newburg, MD‎. 
    Captain John's: 16215 Cobb Island Road, Cobb Island, MD
    Mike's: 3030 Old Riva Road, Riva, MD
    The Crab Claw: 304 Mill Street, St Michaels, MD
    Kentmorr:  910 Kentmorr Road, Stevensville, MD
    Thursdays:  9200 Bay Avenue, North Beach, MD 20714

    Mike's is a large place, but good, Crab Claw is touristy, Kentmorr can get busy,m and Thurday's is in a town. Only the one's I've named on the Potomac are "drive windy roads" to get there places. These are places that I've been to when boating. Arriving by boat is always the best fun.

    Truth is, the hard to find by car crab shack is everywhere along the Chesapeake Bay. And every one gets great reviews and bad reviews when you read that stuff -al based on one person's visit on one occasion.

    Anyway, hope my little list helps.
    #5
    Play27
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 13:29:45 (permalink)
    If they have a web site, I'd be hard pressed to call any place a shack.
    #6
    Scorereader
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 13:53:14 (permalink)
    Play27

    If they have a web site, I'd be hard pressed to call any place a shack.


    that was true maybe ten years ago. today - everyone has a website.
     
    There are plenty of shacks with webpages - from crab to bbq. Even the real small crab shacks have websites, because most people use the web to find places - and won't leave home until they've searched the web. So, it doesn't take much for anyone to put a page up and leave it there for folks to stumble upon.
     
     
    #7
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 14:08:12 (permalink)
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    Play27

    If they have a web site, I'd be hard pressed to call any place a shack.


    that was true maybe ten years ago. today - everyone has a website.
     
    There are plenty of shacks with webpages - from crab to bbq. Even the real small crab shacks have websites, because most people use the web to find places - and won't leave home until they've searched the web. So, it doesn't take much for anyone to put a page up and leave it there for folks to stumble upon.
     
     
     
     
    I  completely disagree with that.
     
    while doing research on restaurants serving roadfood that either supposedly "no longer exists" or "never existed" I've found out by making phone calls, that there are many, many, many restaurants, specifically small town cafes in Iowa and Minnesota and diners/family restaurants and taverns on Boston's North Shore and South Shore that don't/never had/and don't plan to have a website. Of course I found out that these are the places that DO have the roadfood specialties I was looking for. When I asked why they don't have a website their response for the most part was "we're small, we don't need one", and going onto urbanspoon.com it appears many of these restaurants get a large draw based on favorable responses.
    #8
    Scorereader
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 18:18:00 (permalink)
    I completely disagree conceptually that it ain't a shack if it has a website. That was more to the point. I think that was obvious.

    True, a place does get reviewed with or without a website - if it's listed somewhere on the web - even just as a location because they have a public phone number. However, more an more dives have websites - even one pagers with just the address. And, more specifically I was more referring to the crab shacks, which was in reference to the previous post in context with the thread.

    Even some crab fisherman who sell their crabs out of trucks have websites. Why? I have no idea, those guys live on word of mouth, but a few of those guys do.

    I really wasn't referring to diners in flyover country and my point was that a website doesn't negate a place's "off the beaten track, shackiness."


    #9
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/09 18:39:56 (permalink)
    Scorereader

    I completely disagree conceptually that it ain't a shack if it has a website. That was more to the point. I think that was obvious.

    True, a place does get reviewed with or without a website - if it's listed somewhere on the web - even just as a location because they have a public phone number. However, more an more dives have websites - even one pagers with just the address. And, more specifically I was more referring to the crab shacks, which was in reference to the previous post in context with the thread.

    Even some crab fisherman who sell their crabs out of trucks have websites. Why? I have no idea, those guys live on word of mouth, but a few of those guys do.

    I really wasn't referring to diners in flyover country and my point was that a website doesn't negate a place's "off the beaten track, shackiness."


    I was under the impression that your original comment implied that even the "shackiest' of restaurants have websites and although I disagree (although I really can't comment specifically on crabshacks)
    I'd hardly call Boston's north shore and south shore "flyover country"


    #10
    Mgmax
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/10 00:34:33 (permalink)
    Thanks, everybody.  I'll go look at the websites for all these places 
    #11
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/10 08:57:42 (permalink)
    wanderingjew



    I was under the impression that your original comment implied that even the "shackiest' of restaurants have websites and although I disagree (although I really can't comment specifically on crabshacks)
    I'd hardly call Boston's north shore and south shore "flyover country"

    well, your impression was wrong. My post was in comment to someone who implied that a shack wouldn't have a website. I said, maybe ten years ago that was true, but today, more and more and more dinky crab (and bbq) shacks have websites. It doesn't negate their shackiness. I didn't say anything about restaurants nor diners. YOU did. And Iowa and MN would certainly fit the bill as flyover.
    I didn't realize that I needed to refer to each of your mentions in your post, since you don't do the same with my posts.
     
    When a guy who sells seafood out of his truck in a parking lot has a website, I'd say the Internet has arrived.
    You can argue semantics, but the sites are out there and are growing.
     
    Sorry this got sidetracked mgmax, but I do hope you find what you're looking for. And hey! - would love a report on what you found during your travels. Hope you have a good visit!
    #12
    rbpalmer
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/10 12:47:49 (permalink)
    My wife and I were recently watching Maryland Public Television when we happened upon two shows devoted to where to find the best hardshell crabs and the best crabcakes in the Chesapeake Bay area: "Eatin' Crabs: Chesapeake Style," and "Eatin' Crabcakes: The Best I Ever Had. By the time the two shows were over, we were drooling all over the piece of paper on which we were hurriedly writing down names and addresses. Here is a link to where the videos can be seen. http://video.mpt.tv/video/1182496752/ Each lasts about a half-hour. I'm not sure if any of the crab places discussed is exactly  what you're looking for, but the host of the show is so knowledgeable that if he hasn't found such a place, it may not exist. Watch it (and the crabcake video, too; some of those places also serve hardshell crabs) and judge for yourself. There are some worthwhile suggestions offered.  
    post edited by rbpalmer - 2010/08/10 14:24:31
    #13
    Play27
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/10 12:59:50 (permalink)
    Jeez, didn't mean to start WWIII! For context, some of my favorite places (shacks) that didn't used to have a web site but now do, are no longer some of my favorite places. Why?, you may ask? Because, they used to be MY places and now I have to share them with strangers, and sometimes they forget the ones who brung them. Now, let's go eat some crab!
    #14
    i95
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/10 18:59:55 (permalink)
     
    Google the name "Whitey Schmidt"
      and follow his footsteps. 
    #15
    rbpalmer
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/11 09:14:05 (permalink)
    The "host" that I refer to in the post above is, in fact, the afore-mentioned Whitey Schmidt. The guy knows his stuff. Where do I sign up for a job like that? 
    #16
    TFitz
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/11 18:17:22 (permalink)
    A numbr of years back the Washington Post listed 11 crab houses that were Whitey Schmidt's favorites. Two were mentioned in an earlier post (Captain Billy's and Captain John's), the other nine were
    Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis (Anne Arundel County)
    Captain's Galley in Crisfield (Somerset County)
    Chesire Crab in Pasadena (Anne Arundel)
    Drift Inn in Oraville (St. Mary's County)
    Red Roost in Whitehaven (Wicomico County)
    River's Inn in Gloucester Point VA
    Sandgates Inn in Mechanicsville (St. Mary's)
    Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Hurlock (Dorchester County)
    Tim's Rivershore in Dumfries (Prince William County VA)

    This list is old so things may have changed.
    #17
    DirtDude
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/08/12 17:59:41 (permalink)
    I ate at Harris Crab House in Grasonville, MD, and the wait wasn't long and you were right on the water. Can't say the view was that pretty with Highway 50 riding by.

    It was a good restaurant, its on a top ten list for Maryland. Check out the Baltimore Sun top ten crab houses or something like that, maybe they have some smaller houses you can find. But with all the people in D.C., Annapolis, and Baltimore along the bay region, finding small crab houses on the water may be hard anymore.
    #18
    Mgmax
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2010/09/20 21:31:22 (permalink)
    Well, I had dreams of a day spent toodling around the Maryland countryside.  The reality proved to be racing across it as fast as we could to spend a day at Rehoboth Beach, where most food seems to come in $15 tubs.  (Grotto pizza isn't bad at all NY-style; the much-heralded French fries taste exactly like Five Guys.)  So my ideal of the little, rickety crab shack in the middle of nowhere eluded me.  
     
    We did manage to visit picturesque, just-interesting-enough-for-half-a-day Annapolis and hit the popular, by no means small and untouristed, but still reasonably authentic and reliable Cantler's:







    This still seems a strange way to eat, and by the end of it I had a long gash in my thumb full of Old Bay Seasoning, but I guess once a decade, this is fun and reasonably tasty.

    Cantler's Riverside Inn
    458 Forest Beach Road
    Annapolis, MD 21409-5912
    (410) 757-1467
    #19
    cwjudyjr
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    Re:Looking for the crab shack of my dreams in MD 2011/07/12 16:27:03 (permalink)
    Many good ones here already.  Two more:
    Magothy Seafood in Arnold, MD
    Harris' Crab House in Grasonville, MD on the Kent Narrows.
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