For some of the sweetest, most delicious crab to take home, go to the source–local watermen, who supply seafood markets or set up their own retail operations. Here are five good options, most of which offer carryout and/or delivery only.
You’ll find perch, oysters, croaker, and live crabs as well as shedding tanks for soft-shells in season. Call ahead—popular items such as large hard-shells can go quickly. 5527 Muddy Creek Rd., Churchton; 410-867-3884.
This no-frills joint is a favorite among St. Michaels locals, who are quick to recommend the crabcakes, crispy fried chicken, and steamed crabs. Eat there or order to go through the retail section. Bay Hundred Seafood, a wholesaler that’s steps away, provides much of the fresh, local catch. 23713 St. Michaels Rd., St. Michaels; 410-745-9600.
You can order succulent river crabs by the half or full dozen (or a bushel for a party), live or steamed, from this market, which also offers speedy delivery should you be bound to a boat dock. 4954 Ashley Rd., Rock Hall; 410-639-7018.
Captain Rennie Gay harvests some of the fattest, sweetest crabs we’ve sampled in the Easton area, and you can pick them up steamed and spiced or live and feisty. A small grocery adjoining the riverfront shack provides extras such as seasoning and fresh crabmeat. 896 Port St., Easton; 410-822-5019.
Father-and-son watermen Pat Mahoney Sr. and Jr. are behind this Eastport market, which has a few picnic tables for digging into fat steamed crabs, crisp rockfish sandwiches, and some of the tastiest soft-shells we’ve encountered. No room to sit? Free steaming and ample equipment (paper, mallets) make for easy crab feasts to go. 124 Bay Shore Ave., Annapolis; 410-267-6711.
This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.