The Havre de Grace Seafood Festival has been showcasing seafood, locally made products, and the scenic seaside at Havre de Grace for 30 years. Festival-goers can peruse the extensive selection of oceanic eats and sample East Coast classics such as crab cakes and clam chowder, ideal for quelling hunger as well as ongoing West Coast feuds. The festival hosts nearly a hundred local arts and crafts and commercial vendors, who will be selling a bevy of precious objects, such as jewelry, clothing, pottery, and sculpture. Let the crisp bay air ruffle your tresses while you check out the festival's live music, which encourages the twisting of torsos and the coordinated shuffling of feet or flopping of mer-tails.
The Chesapeake Inn is a place for everyone. The Dining Room is great for a nice dinner with family, friends or that special person in your life. The Deck is that fun place with live entertainment, frozen drinks and watching the boats come and go. The Ballroom is great for weddings or special events. 410-885-2040 tel
As you pull your boat up to the dock at Hopkins Creek, don't be surprised if you hear the cheers of a football game or catch a whiff of sizzling seafood. In fact, you might want to follow your senses and land your vessel at River Watch Restaurant & Marina, an old-fashioned sports bar perched on the edge of the bay. Time slows down as you enter the restaurant's Happy Hour, which is in effect from open until close most nights, and affords plenty of time to enjoy specials such as bang bang shrimp, jerk chicken, crab dip, and fresh mussels. Those without a boat can hoof it to the restaurant, then rent one of the marina's 114 slips to spend an afternoon at sea.
Within the cozy, plush confines of a 19th-century brownstone mansion, Alfred's Victorian crafts specialty Northern Italian dishes alongside hand-cut pastas. Appetizers rouse tongue-napping taste buds with dishes such as mussels Livorno, baked in a savory tomato garlic sauce ($8), and the three-cheese-topped french onion soup ($6). Pasta patrons can give a toothy salute to the Al Ragu bolognese, which smothers hand-cut tagliatelle in a thick tuscan meat sauce and an even thicker accent ($15), while anti-carnivorous cravings can be sated by bites of portobello Ariana, a savory amalgamation of fresh spinach, melted provolone, and toasted almonds ($17). Pescatarians can launch a table-mounted trident into Alfred's many seafood delights, including cioppino with clams, scallops, shrimp, and mussels ($27).
Instead of limiting themselves to one type of cuisine, S & J Crab Ranch has included two of their favorites?Maryland seafood and southern barbecue. Local flavors pile up at the raw bar, where diners can order gulf shrimp by the pound or plates of clams and seasoned mussels; however, as the restaurant?s name implies, crabs are the signature item. They can be steamed and served whole, as jumbo lump crab cakes, or in a creamy soup spiked with a bit of sherry.
Of course, the seafood seeps into the southern-inspired meals as well. A selection of classic southern sandwiches includes fried catfish with creole mustard. Regional cuisine builds out the rest of the menu, giving diners options such as slow-cooked Texas brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and st. louis ribs rubbed with secret spices. Even the classic American dishes take cues from S & J?s penchant for the ocean?fresh crab meat bulks up the mac ?n? cheese, and pulled pork and barbecue sauce enhance a pile of nachos.
A fire snaps fingers of flame behind the brick storefront as alarmed figures run to and fro, cradling and dragging valuable objects through the doors and into the daylight. These altruists weren't carrying gold, or silver, or fine statues, but photographs signed by Johnny Unitas. Patrick's Restaurant has recovered since this disaster, keeping intact a collection of artwork and sports memorabilia carried over from the Golden Arm, a restaurant opened by the Colts football legend. Framed photographs and Tiffany lamps hanging over the bar bear the Johnny Unitas label, and Golden Arm’s recently restored mural gazes from the wall out over chattering visitors.
The main dining room provides a foil to the bustling bar area, surrounding visitors with a calm sea of white-clothed tables, chandeliers, and glass windows etched with pairs of courting sweethearts. From the foyer, interior studio windows grant glimpses into the restaurant’s wine cellar, filled with towering racks that hold up to 2,500 bottles, exactly enough for one person to learn to juggle wine bottles. Strains of Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra warble throughout the space, launching smoky harmonies through tendrils of steam rising from varied dishes.
Head chef Carole Brosso lets an education at the Culinary Institute of America and certification from the American Chefs Association shine through in simmering pasta sauces and reductions destined to cloak plates. Carole takes diners’ palates on European tours through a menu of italian pastas, French-inspired seafood, and Spanish recipes, drawing upon local meats, and fish and shellfish brought in daily from an area fishery, and seasonal veggies still laced with notes of a scarecrow’s perfume.