Conrad's Crabs puts the locally caught moneycrabs where its customers' ravenous mouths are as they live up to their "We catch our own" slogan. Waterman Tony Conrad brings in as much seafood as Poseidon allows, from crabs to fresh whole fish (both market price). A fusion of a seafood market and a carryout restaurant, Conrad's has a full menu of locavores' delights. Seafood can be purchased raw or steamed to order, with the fresh-caught fish and crustaceans going for market price daily. Long-standing selections include Conrad's Steamer Combo (six each of jumbo shrimp, oysters, and clams with a pound of mussels, $22.50) and entrees such as fried hard crab ($13.50), six fried oysters ($13.50), and a pint of Maryland crab soup ($5).
Each day, Captain Vince Meyer and his crew set sail aboard the Brittany Lynn to trawl the bay for crabs. The best of their catch makes its way back to Vince's Crab House, where the kitchen staff transforms the fresh seafood into a menu representative of the Maryland coast. Jumbo lump crab cakes and clam strips set the stage for entrées of flounder, orange roughy, and fried rockfish, but the sandwiches need no introduction. And they shouldn't—not when they're topped with fried oysters or soft-shell crab and served with a tall, refreshing glass of seawater.
Al’s Seafood—helmed by the Strzegowski family, who have been entrenched in the seafood racket for nearly 60 years—sates sea-fare seekers with its vast menu of oceanic victuals prepared with fresh, locally sourced fish. Starters such as the shrimp cocktail ($7.95) whet appetites in time for salad-and-veggie-furnished main courses, such as the crab imperial ($18.50) or the linguini-lassoed mediterranean seafood platter ($22.95). Cap’t Doc’s broiled seafood medley ($23.95) unites shrimp, crab, and lobster tail to create a partnership more memorable than Martin Van Buren’s alliance with the Ninja Turtles. Mouths can moor to shore with a bevy of land-based eats, such as the Cajun- or grilled-chicken sandwich ($6.25) or the roasted prime rib ($18.95).
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
The skilled confectioners at Mary Sue Candies have been quelling the cries of Maryland’s sweet teeth with handmade, preservative-free treats since 1948. For starters, feast on strips of almond bark ($15.50 for 16 oz.) harvested from the nation’s oldest bonbon forests, or let teeth saw through the nutty crust of a pecan nougat log ($2.49 for 3 oz.) to free the nougaty nature-spirits imprisoned inside. Alternately, the handmade salt water taffy ($4.99 for 16 oz.) whisks tongues away on a sugar-laced seaside sojourn, while a 16-ounce box of nuts and chews chocolates ($15.90) lets mouths practice athletic jawrobics on Mary Sue’s most popular caramels and clusters.
Baltimore City Paper named Santoni's the Best Grocery Store in the metropolitan area for good reason. A local staple since the 1930s, Santoni's is proud of its old-school roots and personal service. The friendly staff acts as one big family, either because they are blood related or because they are brothers and sisters in ritual kiwi juggling. Open 24 hours a day, Santoni's is the perfect place to catch the sunrise over a neatly kept stack of navel oranges.