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.
Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
Crush Kitchen & Winehouse
In addition to its elegant, warmly decorated lounge and hand-selected stock of wine, Crush Kitchen doubles as an intimate gathering place?a place that lets groups connect over small plates and test pairing tips doled out by knowledgeable servers. The wine list features premium, uncommon wines crafted by small producers from around the world, and wine-tasting events give patrons a chance to learn about pinot noir or American varietals from wine experts. Crush also makes all of its breads, dressings, desserts, and soups in-house everyday, and daily specials encourage patrons to try out new dishes.
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro
Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, carries on the family tradition of pouring fine wines in welcoming surroundings. A carefully curated selection of bottles?with an emphasis placed on wines?pairs with brunch, lunch, and dinner menus of New American cuisine. The wait staff offers insight so guests can perfectly match their meals of pan-seared duck breast with a red wine cherry sauce, grass-fed burgers, or seasonal risotto, and wine experts provide in-depth information in curated tasting events.
Despite its food-centric name, the Maryland Seafood Festival casts a wide net over Chesapeake Bay culture, capturing the essence of the area?s music, art, sports, and cuisine in an annual celebration that has endured since 1967. For 30 of those years, the festival has camped out on Sandy Point State Park?s seaside grounds, where, like the mattress of a giant, the event sprawls across a space the size of nearly three football fields. On Saturday, the festivities kick off with one of the event?s two traditions: the Annual Crab Soup Cook-Off followed by the Maryland Fishing Challenge the next day. After that, hungry patrons can sample local flavors at vendor booths by Jimmy's Famous Seafood and the Maryland Watermen's Association, or visit chef demos where pros impart tips on preparing dishes such as blackened snakehead and oyster shooters. Local artisans also fill festival tents, selling colorful wares that range from jewelry to furniture. A lineup of live music will soundtrack the event through most of the weekend, helping kids bop to the beat in bouncy houses while adults sample imported and craft beers from local brewers.
The Annapolis Craft Beer & Music Festival encourages visitors to BYO. That's not BYOB, mind you (there are more than 100 beer styles here from craft breweries around the country). Instead, visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs?and set them up near the Pilsner stage to listen to live music all day while sipping their samples.
But there's plenty to do at the fest away from the lawn, too. Informational seminars teach all about beer, with sessions that might cover the fundamentals of craft beer or cooking gourmet dishes with it. Until festgoers can get back home and can put those lessons to action, there are plenty of hearty eats to try at the festival grounds, including freshly shucked Maryland oysters.
Since its first event in 2008, the Chesapeake Bay Wine Festival has steadily added to its multisensory feast of libations, food, and live sounds. Originally conceived to highlight Maryland's wines, beers, and local delicacies, the festival now brings wines from around the world to its bayside location. White tents shield tasters from rain, sunburn, and any curious fish who might try to leap into their goblets. Each year, the festival benefits an array of community- and family-focused organizations.