Beyond MoCo: Phillips Crab House Closes in Ocean City After 66 Years

by MCS Staff

In a letter to customers, Phillips Seafood announced the permanent closure of Phillips Crab House in Ocean City.

The seafood company announced that it decided to sell the property that was home to Phillips Crab House at 2004 Philadelphia Avenue between 20th and 21st Street in Ocean City.

In 1914, Augustus E. Phillips established the company’s first seafood processing plant on Hooper’s Island in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The A.E. Phillips packing plant processed seafood from many of the watermen in the region.

In 1956, after a surplus season of crabs, son Brice Phillips and wife Shirley opened the first “crab shack” in Ocean City, Maryland. Brice and Shirley began building a new dining room each year at Phillips Crab House until it finally seated 1400 people.

Phillips Seafood Restaurants currently has 4 other company-owned restaurants along the eastern coast of the United States, as well as a network of franchise locations in airports, travel plazas, casinos and sporting arenas.

The letter to guests can be seen below:

To our valued guests:

The Phillips family has made the difficult decision to sell our Phillips Crab House property in Ocean City, Maryland, and the location has now permanently closed. Over our 66 seasons in business, we’ve served millions of families, vacationers and OC locals, and our family feels so fortunate to have earned the loyalty of our guests, who came back year after year to build their vacation memories with us. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of our story.

Not many restaurants live to see their 50th season, let alone celebrate over 65 years, and our family credits the amazing Crab House team for giving the business such longevity. From the crab department to the prep room, through the upstairs and downstairs kitchen staff, to the servers, bussers and bartenders, our employees returned season after season and became part of the extended Phillips family. Led by a strong management team, our staff worked together to deliver delicious dishes, all served up with a warm smile and welcoming Eastern Shore hospitality. None of our success over the years would have been possible without their hard work and dedication, and we are so grateful for their loyalty.

While it is extremely difficult for our family to say goodbye to the Crab House, we will take with us all the memories from the days and nights with our coworkers and guests, the lessons we have all learned from working together as a strong team, and the friendships we have grown over the years. As we move forward, we will continue to build on the strong foundation that our original Crab House location gave us. We remain firmly planted in Maryland and will dedicate our resources in support of our Baltimore restaurant location, Baltimore culinary center and the growth of our retail, club, foodservice, and international business.


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Richard Brown December 21, 2021 - 12:34 pm

Their crabs really went that good. They gave Maryland Crabs a bad name.

Ross Maggio December 22, 2021 - 11:08 am

From the time I was 18 and 1972 not only did I take my girlfriend’s there over the yearsand I got married and had a family through divorce and being widowed all four of my wives went there we always had a great time and believe it or not at 67 this past summer 2021 I took my new girlfriend they’re not knowing it was the last time, whoever complains about different seafoods there just remember this they always made up for it in other seafoods sometimes seasonal hard crabs depending upon the rains come, the crabs get scarce and at times they are light course only a true shore man really knows about these things; but so much there to eat you really can’t complain about one thing the wait staff and folks there were always pleasing ironically I always pick the same room one of three tables in that room every time I went; I’m happy to say that myself and my new girlfriend who had never been there, got a chance this summer 2021 not knowing it was the last time had a fantastic dinner and a very good time as usual I’ll miss you guys thank you so much best damn seafood restaurant on the East Coast

Kevin marc Schlosberg December 22, 2021 - 3:28 pm

The land that the building sits on has become too valuable to be occupied by a restaurant operating four months out of each year.


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