Happiness at the Harbor
by Gabby Crabcakes
The destination of choice this sunny weekend was a little spot in Deale known as Happy Harbor. Formerly a roadhouse (rent the Patrick Swazey movie to get a clearer picture), Happy Harbor sits between Deale Road and Rockhold Creek. A parking lot across the street offers ample space for both restaurant patrons and fishing enthusiasts.
There are no formal dining rooms at Happy Harbor, so come as you are. Just come hungry.
Always a favorite with the locals, Happy Harbor has something to offer nearly everyone. Children and adults will enjoy watching the passing boats from the lower dining room. Recently converted from a porch, this room is walled with sliding glass doors, so you're always assured a view of the water and often a breeze.
A hot spot in summer is a large deck with a small outside bar and picnic tables. On this brisk spring day, a few warm-blooded souls chose al fresco dining.
A third option is the main dining room, which is separated from the active bar and restrooms by swinging saloon-style doors. The decor is rustic with a nautical theme and ashtrays on every table.
Happy Harbor serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. This afternoon we ordered from the lunch menu, which offers homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and specials. There are a wide variety of tempting appetizers including jalepeño poppers with cream cheese (6 for $4.99) and fried calamari rings with marinara ($5.25). I always end up torn between the ample serving of creamy hot crab dip served with mini bread loaves and fresh fruit ($6.95) or the Buffalo-style grilled chicken wings ($5.59). Opting for the wings, I was not disappointed. The 12 meaty "mini legs" were presented hot off the grill with a side of bleu cheese dressing. The flavor was excellent with just the right amount of afterburn!
For lunch the decision was between the "Harbor burger" - a half-pound hamburger ($4.99), and the crab melt ($7.95). I went for the crab melt, served atop two halved English muffins and topped with tomato and Provolone cheese. As far as I could tell, it was all crab with maybe a hint of mayonnaise. I have to admit I ate the whole thing, to the chips and pickle.
My friend ordered the fried oyster basket ($5.95), a risky order with the season near an end. The oysters were not local; pity because our local bounty tends to grow bigger. Still good, the five oysters came with fries, cole slaw and a roll. (You could also get a basket with fried chicken, popcorn shrimp, fried clams, chicken tenders, calamari or battered cod for the same price).
With a full service bar, beverage selection is plentiful. My companion had a spicy Bloody Mary with the rim edged in Old Bay, while I opted for a Heineken.
I wish I had more space because I'd love to tell you more about their potato skins (try the crabmeat and cheese for $6.50) or the steamed peel and eat shrimp (order one-half pound for $6.95 and up to 5 pounds for $52.50). There's also an extensive dinner menu and frequent all-you-can-eat buffet specials.
Whether by boat, motorcycle or car, the hungry keep coming to the Happy Harbor.
333 Deale Road, Deale ·410/876-0949
Proprietor: Barbara Sturgell
Reason to go: When you want the real thing in a market increasingly riddled with clone-like chains.
Something to think about: No white gloves or pretenses.
Readers Note: Gabby is putting on some pounds and could benefit from a fat-free week time-to-time. If you are a food lover and interested in sharing a Bay-area food experience with our readers, please fax, mail or e-mail your take on a favorite restaurant or watering hole for publication in a future NBT issue. The first two submissions received before Thursday, April 15 will receive two tickets to the Taste of Southern Maryland food extravaganza at Herrington Harbour South April 18.
| Issue 14 |
Volume VII Number 14
April 8-14, 1999
New Bay Times
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