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The Hidden Gems of Maryland: Crabby Edition

Posted: 4:00 AM, Jul 04, 2022
Updated: 2022-07-07 13:44:22-04
Maryland Crab

BALTIMORE — Last summer we took you around Maryland to give you our top 100 Hidden Gems of cool places to see and visit.

Have You Been: The 'Hidden Gems' of Maryland

This July, we're at it again.

When thinking of Maryland, what is one of the first things that usually comes to mind?

Steamed Crabs it is!

So, here we go our top 25 picks of crab houses around the state for you, your family, and friends to go check out and enjoy.

And, be sure to let us know about any you know of that we missed!

  1. Conrads's Seafood - Parkville/ Bel Air
    Anthony Conrad opened this crab house in 2007. He was a businessman, but decided to pursue his passion as a waterman. For 4 years, he caught crabs and delivered them to local businesses. With the perfect blend of salt and spices, you're sure to enjoy these crabs! They have locations in Baltimore and Harford County!
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  2. Gibby's Seafood - Timonium
    For 30 years, Charlie Gibby has been the mastermind behind this crab house. Gibby switched career paths as he used to be a chemist. Now, his restaurant offers steamed and live crabs spiced to your specific tastes! They're located in Timonium just above the fairgrounds!
  3. Cranky Crab - Queenstown
    Operating from a crab stand, this unconventional location offers hard and soft crabs! You can buy them fresh to order, live or steamed. Located in Queenstown, Cranky Crab is open 7 days a week until at least 6 p.m.
  4. Costas Inn Dundalk
    Owner Costas N. Triantafilos opened this crab house in 1971. All crabs here are flown in daily from the gulf of Louisiana and Texas to ensure maximum freshness. Over 11,000 crabs are sorted per week at this Dundalk landmark! Cal Ripken Jr., John Ratzebberger, Stedman Graham and Jason Alexander have all dined here!
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  5. Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn Essex
    Bill Eliades came to the United States from Greece in 1954 and opened a tavern called "Mr. Bills." 35 years later, his son Steve decided to turn the tavern into a crab house. By 1990, it became a full-service seafood restaurant using a patented crab seasoning! 68 years and counting, the restaurant is still kicking!
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  6. Schultz’s Crabhouse and Lounge Essex
    Located in Essex, this classic Baltimore seafood restaurant was established in 1969. Karen and Bob McKinney would buy the liquor license from Pop Schultz and opened as "Schultz's Crabhouse." They're open 7 days a week until at least 9 p.m.
  7. The Point Crab House & GrilleArnold
    Bobby Jones and Michael Neall both own this restaurant. Jones has over 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry and he runs the business with his wife who oversees front of the house operations. This crab house offers a casual neighborhood dining experience that produces fresh and local Maryland dishes!
  8. Harris Crab HouseGrasonville
    Harris Crab House first opened its doors in 1981. They buy their seafood from about 350 local watermen and employ about 140 people from the community. While dining here, enjoy great views of the sunset over the water, as well as the old processing house and multitudes of waterfowl.
  9. Waterman’s Crab House Rock Hall
    Sitting right along the scenic Chesapeake National Byway, Waterman's has been building on nearly half a century of family tradition and experience. They're known for their steamed Maryland blue crabs. A great place to feast and enjoy live weekend entertainment!
  10. Reter’s Crab House & Grille Reisterstown
    Reter's is a must visit for steamed crab fans. When you walk into this Reisterstown Road restaurant, you will feel right at the beach. Enjoy daily dine-in happy hour specials, as well as an on-site market where you can buy fresh seafood of your choice to-go.
    Reter's Crab House
    Reter's Crab House
  11. Salerno’s Restaurant – Eldersburg
    This award winning restaurant is conveniently located off Route 26/Liberty Road in Carroll County. In their own words, Salerno's serves "down home goodness" from the "land of pleasant living." They offer fresh steamed crabs daily, including All You Can Eat specials. Along with a separate pub style bar and comfortable indoor dining room, the restaurant also has a spacious screened-in outdoor patio surrounded by multiple flat screen televisions airing your favorite sports games. Don't want to eat out? No worries, you can order pickup/carryout or have Salerno's cater your next party, no matter the size!
    Salerno’s Restaurant
    Salerno’s Restaurant
  12. Captain Dan’s Crab House – Eldersburg
    Tucked in a small shopping center just beyond the Liberty Reservoir, Captain Dan's serves up some of the best and most affordable crabs in Carroll County. Owner Dan Schuman has been in the industry since the 70s and now operates this spot with his family and friends. During the week, you might even find some specials that include a couple free crabs when you buy a dozen. Dan's offers dine-in and carryout, can ship nationwide, or even cater your next event!
    Captain Dan’s Crab House
    Captain Dan’s Crab House
  13. Winfield Inn – Sykesville
    Although not the easiest place to find, we're sure it'll be worth it when you do. Nestled in the small town of Winfield in Carroll County, the Winfield Inn as they put it "sells the best damn steamed crabs around." But you should reserve them ahead, because once they're gone, they're gone! You can sit and eat in their down home style restaurant or carryout. Either way, we think you'll enjoy this hidden gem.
    Winfield Inn
    Winfield Inn
  14. Woodbine Inn - Woodbine
    Right across the railroad tracks on Woodbine Road sits one of Howard County's most historic seafood restaurants. The Woodbine Inn serves fresh made-to-order steamed crabs all week long. Locals have regularly dined at this establishment for generations. During the 1920s, the building housed the old Dodge Brothers Dealership before becoming a restaurant in the 50s. On certain Tuesdays customers can come out for a good meal while playing a game of trivia.
Woodbine Inn
Woodbine Inn

15. Maryland Mallet Restaurant & Smokehouse Pub - Westminster
When you think of Maryland cuisine, steamed crabs and smoked/pit BBQ are at the top of the list. Maryland Mallet offers the best of both worlds with a smokehouse and crab house all in one place, not to mention Carroll County’s only premier Bourbon Bar. Located on I-97, just a short ride from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this gem has trivia and karaoke nights along with daily happy hour specials. You can also place to-go orders for steamed crabs, beer, and smoked meats.

Maryland Mallet Restaurant & Smokehouse Pub
Maryland Mallet Restaurant & Smokehouse Pub

16. Liberty Road Seafood & Steak - Frederick
This local landmark has sat on Route 26 in Frederick County since 1977. The current owner of 10-years graduated from nearby Walkersville High School, and is well known in the community. Liberty Road Seafood and Steak offers a friendly, family atmosphere with great weekly All You Can Eat crab specials.

Liberty Road Seafood and Steak
Liberty Road Seafood and Steak

17. May’s Seafood Restaurant – Frederick
Situated right off I-70 in Frederick, May's offers up some of Maryland's tastiest steamed crabs using all locally sourced ingredients. Feel at home while dining indoors, or feast outside on their roofed fenced-in patio while enjoying daily specials including All You Can Eat.

May’s Seafood Restaurant
May’s Seafood Restaurant

18. Rube's Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant & Lounge – Emmitsburg
Hidden near the Catoctin Mountains in Emmitsburg you will find this gem, owned by husband and wife Bobby (AKA Rube) and Robin Harne. Their families have been steaming up Maryland crabs since the 60s. The couple started their business out of a backyard shed, until customers urged them to open a restaurant. From there, Rube's Crab Shack was born. Rube says the secret is "Spicy seasonings to create a distinctive taste that you won't find anywhere else." You can dine inside or on the outdoor patio while enjoying live entertainment and All You Can Eat specials. They also offer the "Best of the Chesapeake Bay" to-go!

Rube's Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant & Lounge
Rube's Crab Shack Seafood Restaurant & Lounge

19. Fisherman’s Crab DeckGrasonville
This crab house is open from mid-April through late October for lunch and dinner, located right on the Chesapeake Bay. The steamed crabs you’ll find spicy and fat, the drinks refreshing, and the sunsets spectacular. The food is served in a relaxed but exciting tropical atmosphere, open on all sides right at the water’s edge. Try a fresh squeezed Orange Crush, Margarita or Pina Colada at their large, open air bar. Free Dockage at their pier while dining.

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20. Blue Point Crab House - Owings Mills
Herbert Green was lured into the Maryland blue crab business in 1951, establishing the first family-run Blue Point Crab House. In the 1990s, the Green's expanded to Owings Mills and Westminster where they are especially known for their steamed crabs and crab cakes.

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21. Mike's Crabhouse - Pasadena
"Serving mouth-watering seafood since 1958," right on the banks of the South River. Mike's "proudly serves crabs in the finest Chesapeake Bay Tradition for your dining pleasure." They have locations in Riva and Pasadena.

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22. Kahler's Crabhouse - Rosedale
The Kahler family has been cooking up seafood in the Rosedale area since the 1940s. Their commercial watermen catch crabs directly from the Chesapeake Bay and transport them quickly to Kahler's kitchen where meals are freshly prepped to order! The testimonials also prove the value - "this place has thee best crabs everrrrr," one person said.

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23. Capt. Harry's Crab House - Nottingham
This family-owned business has been serving Baltimore County since 1991, although Capt. Harry himself has almost half-a-century of experience crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay. "You can be sure your crabs are fresh and of excellent quality," Capt. Harry's says.

24. The Point Crab House & Grill - Arnold
The Point Crab House on Mill Creek gives diners glorious waterfront views. Annapolis.com ranked it as a top restaurant saying, "The views coupled with the food,
easily make The Point one of the most desirable restaurants off the beaten path near Annapolis.”

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25. Crabtowne - Glen Burnie
What's more fun than playing arcade games while digging into some steamed crabs? You can only find such an experience at Crabtowne, where they have a blast from the past arcade room, with more than 95 vintage games for as little as a quarter.

Here are some of the places recommended by our viewers!

  1. Madonna Seafood - Whitehall
  2. Seaside Seafood - Glen Burnie
  3. Averys Maryland Grille - Frederick
  4. Wellwood River Shack - Cecil County
  5. Bethesda Crab House - Bethesda
  6. Cantler's Riverside Inn - Annapolis