The talented cooks at Jumpers Grille grace tables with tasty dishes of tender pulled pork and chicken, delicious sides, and dollops of signature barbecue sauce. Each juicy portion of meat arrives on a choice of special roll, white, wheat, rye, or wrap, slathered in mild, hot, or honey sauce, and crowned with a medley of toppings including relish, horseradish, Tiger sauce, and onion. Chilly draughts of cola, freshly brewed iced tea, and birch beer quench mealtime thirsts, and piping hot cups of coffee and hot tea warm gullets or melt blocks of ice with love notes embedded in them. Like a blistering banjo solo, the mouthwatering lineup of sides promise a traditional accompaniment to barbecue feasts, with appetizing eats of french fries, mac 'n' cheese, crisp coleslaw, and hearty potato salad.
In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
Though much has changed at Tall Oaks Restaurant in the last half-century—the steak-and-seafood restaurant has acquired new owners, undergone dining-room renovations, and sprouted a bar—many things have also remained the same. Chefs Dennis Walz and Joe Golden continue to craft classic American cuisine, pulling from founder Francis Hasse's original recipes for meatloaf, pierogis, and their famous fried hard-shell crab. They've also added a few items of their own to the menu, namely rosemary-dusted flatbread and Caribbean jerk mahi-mahi. The chefs focus their menu around local seafood and premium meats, such as certified Angus beef and Chesapeake oysters.
In the sunny dining room, white-clothed tables host guests lingering over last bites of warm chocolate lava cake and toffee cream pie. Bartenders shake up specialty martinis at the nearby bar, adding dashes of caramel sauce, pumpkin spice, and fresh blueberries as needed.
As a small child, Jason Farrell toddled through his family's seafood diner, Marley's Seafood and Subs, acquiring the nautical food know-how and original barbecue recipes that would serve him well when he returned to his childhood neighborhood to found Barbecue, Blues & Seafood. Jason—along with brother Brian and cousin Duane—recently celebrated the restaurant’s first anniversary by grilling an entire pig and regaling guests with the choicest cuts. Jason’s young daughters, Reghan and Julia, tag along with him daily to give their favorite menu items a barbecue-coated thumbs-up.
At the Anne Arundel County fairgrounds, competing teams of pit masters keep their grills fueled through the night, tingeing the cool air with the smoky, sweet aroma of slow-cooked beef. The marathon cooking session is all for the sake of the Kansas City Barbeque Society judges, whose favor each chef will curry come lunchtime. The annual barbequing competition is just one facet of the festival’s mission to showcase the best barbecue chefs in the region. In addition to the competition, local food vendors sate visitors with hot ribs and empower budding chefs with gourmet sauces and cookware. All the while, 25 live bands keep heads bobbing while reminding diners to chew 30 times before swallowing.
The chefs at Garry's Grill use house-made breads and seasonal ingredients to create hearty American meals with international touches. At breakfast time, that translates to creamed chipped beef over buttermilk biscuits and, at lunch, seared tuna wraps, which are rubbed with Thai spices and supplemented with cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and wasabi cream sauce. Feel free to add a side of crab cakes to any dinner entrée, such as the penne with roasted red peppers and portabellos, or the Man Burger, which is topped with gorgonzola, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and jalapeños and wrapped in an 8x10 photo of Gregory Peck. Also on the menu: Red and white wines from California, Washington, and Italy.