From Lewes to Fenwick Island, there are a bushel of crab houses. So crack to your heart’s content.
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Ask Ed Riggin to describe the decor at Ed’s Chicken and Crabs (Highway One and Swedes St., Dewey Beach, 227-9484) and you’ll get a hearty laugh. “It’s shack-ish,” he says. No problem. Most of the 200 seats at the 32-year-old landmark are outside—simple picnic tables on the sidewalk, all shaded with umbrellas. Ed’s sells crabs by the dozen. “We’ve got medium, large and jumbo,” Riggin says. Many diners split a dozen and share other selections. “We’re heavy on crab cakes, shrimp and a lot of chicken,” he says. There’s no table service. Order at the window, wait to hear your name called, then carry your catch to an open seat.
The atmosphere aims higher at The Blue Crab (210 Garfield Pkwy., Bethany Beach, 527-4700), where Tiffany-style lamps dangle over tables covered with the telltale brown paper. Each table gets an Old Bay tin—for shrimp and fries, not crabs. “We use a rock salt-based spice for crabs,” Haley says. The restaurant also boasts “crabby” artwork by Baltimore artist John Brown and oil paintings by local artist Jennifer Carter.
Naturally, crabs are the top seller. (Crab cakes, made with jumbo lump crabmeat, are a close second.) The all-you-can-eat special is a feast: blue crabs, corn, fried chicken and hush puppies. The restaurant also offers snow crab and Alaskan king crab.
Mickey’s Family Crab House (222 Jefferson Bridge Road, Bethany Beach, 539-5384) is located right on Del. 1, across from Sea Colony. It is outfitted with picnic tables covered with brown paper. Most people order crabs—the all-you-can-eat special includes corn-on-the-cob—but crab cakes and peel-and-eat-shrimp are hot, too.
Farther south, the Fenwick Crab House (100 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, 539-2500) has been packing them in since 1962. Owner Scott Fornwalt purchased the landmark in 1983. The restaurant’s reputation is built on the backs of jumbo and extra-large crabs, which are liberally dusted with a custom blend of spices. Of course, the eclectic decor, which features antique signs and a model train, is also a draw. The all-you-can-eat option includes crabs, corn-on-the-cob, fried chicken, jambalaya and steamed shrimp. You might want to save room for the crab cakes, which are so celebrated that Fenwick Crab House ships them all over the country year round. “They’re a big Christmas item,” Fornwalt says.