After I left Shotti’s Point in South Baltimore, I kept thinking about the juicy burger bathed in truffle oil aioli and the crunchy fish tacos sprinkled with salty pancetta. I wanted to go back for more.
I hadn’t expected the kitchen to care so much about the food in a place that’s known as a locals’ bar. Owner Mike Shott describes his clientele as a “good mix” of longtime longshoremen, Domino Sugar workers and young professionals.
We walked into Shotti’s on an early evening and found ourselves among customers and staff who greeted each other familiarly. A couple at a nearby table had barely sat down before a bartender brought them drinks they hadn’t ordered yet. Clearly, they were regulars.
We weren’t. But you never would have known it by the friendly treatment we received.
Shott, a Highlandtown native, worked in bars and restaurants in Ocean City while following his passion for surfing. He wanted to open his own place there but couldn’t afford it, he said.
So when the former Paul’s on East Fort Avenue became available, he grabbed the opportunity and opened Shotti’s in 2013, keeping the local vibe but adding beach touches like surfboards and Ocean City memorabilia.
But Shott didn’t give up on the resort town, opening a Shotti’s there in 2016.
He’s combined his love of Baltimore and Ocean City at both places. And we’re the beneficiaries.
SCENE & DECOR: You can sit at the long front bar, but we headed to a small area in the back with high-top tables and stools, where we listened to alternative rock music from groups like The Academic and Phoenix while we watched the patrons unwind after a work day. Photos and Ocean City signs personalize the space, which is lighted by fixtures made of surfboards.
APPETIZERS: We couldn’t resist a special of the evening, crema de crab ($6.50), a fancy name for cream of crab soup. This version had a Mexican zing with cumin, paprika and chili powder, in mild doses that didn’t overwhelm the crab. Crackly taco strips and crumbled bacon, afloat on top of the broth, delivered more flavor bombs. Shotti’s meets the needs of its bar patrons with several chicken-wing preparations. We didn’t mind getting our hands sticky with zippy cana wings ($10), a pound of drumettes and flats basted with a spicy-sweet Sriracha sauce doctored with brown sugar and smoked paprika. You can get the blue cheese or ranch dressing, but these meaty wings can stand on their own.
ENTREES: Big hunks of beer-battered haddock were stuffed into the three Atlantic tacos ($12), along with salty pancetta and sweet mango salsa for a wonderful bite. The E.A. Poe burger ($12) impressed us, featuring a sunny-side up egg, provolone, bacon and white-truffle aioli.
DRINKS: You’ll find beer in bottles and cans, wines from makers like Canyon Road, house-made sangria, and cocktails, including several crushes.
SERVICE: The bartender, who doubled as a server, was genial and knowledgeable about the menu.
DESSERT: No dessert was available the night we were there. There is usually ice cream, our server said.
Backstory: Baltimorean Mike Shott opened Shotti's Point in South Baltimore on Dec. 3, 2013. Three years to the day later, he opened a location in Ocean City with business partner and chef Andrew Gmitter. Shott divides his time between the places, counting on bar manager Henry Mitchem when he's not in Baltimore.
Signature dish: The zippy cana wings
Where: 701 E. Fort Ave., South Baltimore
Contact: 443-759-6497, shottispoint.com
Open: Kitchen hours 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday
Credit Cards: All major
Handicap accessible: No
Bottom line: Shotti's Point may be considered a locals' bar, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the friendly vibe, drinks and great food.