Bay Bites
Harrison's Chesapeake House: Where Fishing Fools Feed
by Gabby Crabcakes

Harrison'sIt's that time of year again.

While it's back to school for children, it's back to Tilghman (Island, that is) for those fun-loving fans of the New Bay Times/Bill Burton Annual Fishing Frenzy.

And while many look forward to the last Sunday in September for a full day of fishing on Chesapeake Bay, there are those of us who are equally enthused by the day of eating provided by Harrison's.

You won't go hungry, whether you choose to join us for the day - beginning bright and early with the fisherman's breakfast (all you can eat), followed by the box lunch (for your on-board hunger) and post-fishing feast - or come down the day before for drinks (cash bar) and complimentary hors d'oeuvres.

In anticipation of annual pleasures, we once again bring you the institution known as Harrison's Chesapeake House.

For over 100 years, the Harrison family has owned and operated the biggest business on Tilghman Island, a quiet fishing village one hour from the Bay Bridge. Harrison's Chesapeake House arranges everything from charter fishing excursions to weddings.

In addition to three sprawling dining rooms are a dark smoky bar, a pub, a large waterside deck bar, several porches, a gift shop, a swimming pool, unadorned guest rooms and a pier that leads you straight to the horizon. The focal point, and one of the reasons for the continued success of Harrison's, is its idyllic location with postcard views of the Chesapeake Bay and a fleet of Bay-built fishing boats for intimate access.

Nothing's fancy at Harrison's; the atmosphere is fisherman-and family-friendly. Little has changed over the years, including the home-spun hospitality and self-described "no apologies, lots of butter" country cooking - one of the other reasons that folks keep coming back.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner will tempt you with a variety of hearty rich foods. The fisherman's breakfast buffet will energize you for a day on the Bay with pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, fruit, toast, biscuits, juice and coffee ($8).

Buffets are very popular at Harrison's. During oyster season, you can get as many servings as you can stomach of fried, frittered, stewed, raw, Creole and sautéed bivalves, along with a full array of accompaniments such as stewed tomatoes (deliciously sweet), coleslaw, macaroni and cheese and fruit cocktail. ($21.95)

If self-serve isn't your idea of dining out, the dinner menu is full of local favorites such as crab imperial ($17.95), scallops au gratin ($15.95), or crab and shrimp Norfolk (sautéed in butter and wine for $16.95). The house special is a chicken surf and turf ($19.95), which features a jumbo piece of good and greasy fried chicken along with two large fried crab cakes (I've requested broiled on several occasions, but they always arrive fried).

Your sides are served family style. Depending on the number in your group, large- or medium-sized bowls arrive filled with creamy sweet coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, lima beans, stewed tomatoes and warm rolls and butter. If you need more, just ask. My strategy is usually to enjoy the side dishes and one crab cake while reserving the rest for a doggy bag.

If meat is more to your liking, prime rib comes in both queen ($12.95-12 ounces) and king cut ($15.95-16 ounces). Or try a filet mignon ($16.95).

For the "Little Anglers" (children under 12) there's a nice selection that includes an entree, fries, applesauce and a beverage for anywhere from $2.95 (hot dog) to $7.95 (crab cake).

Try to save room for some of the homemade pie. The recipes have been handed down and are just like Grandma used to make. The blueberry a la mode is a real winner!

When down-home country cooking and friendly atmosphere is what you want - or when you're fishing - go to Harrison's.


Harrison's Chesapeake House
Tilghman Island 410/886-2121

Proprietor: Capt. Buddy Harrison

Reason to go: Out on the water all day, you work up an appetite.

Something to think about: Harrison's country cooking sticks to your ribs.


| Issue 36 |

Volume VII Number 36
September 9-15, 1999
New Bay Times

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