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Here are the winners in Capital Style Magazine’s 2021 Best Restaurants Contest

Restaurants didn’t have it easy during the pandemic. Yet, many continued to serve their community. This year, more than 3,100 people voted for their favorites in 47 categories, demonstrating that it’s a great time to be a food lover in Anne Arundel County.


Ambience: The Point Crab House & Grill

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Honorable mentions:

Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

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The Hideaway

Twain’s Tavern

Mini cupcakes, from left, Key Lime, Strawberry, Lemon Blueberry, Snickerdoodle and S'Mores at Blue Crab Cupcakes.
Mini cupcakes, from left, Key Lime, Strawberry, Lemon Blueberry, Snickerdoodle and S'Mores at Blue Crab Cupcakes. (Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Bakery: Blue Crab Cupcakes

Honorable mentions:

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Donut Shack

Carlson’s Donuts & Thai Kitchen

Black Market Bakers

Bar food: Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

Honorable mentions:

Heroes Pub

Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub

Park Tavern

Barbecue: The Hideaway

Honorable mentions:

Mission BBQ

Annapolis Smokehouse & Tavern

Adam’s Taphouse & Grille

Best overall: The Point Crab House & Grill

Honorable mentions:

Willy’s Kitchen

Brian Boru Restaurant & Pub

Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

An interior view of Chick & Ruth's Delly on Main Street in Annapolis.
An interior view of Chick & Ruth's Delly on Main Street in Annapolis. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

Chick & Ruth’s Delly

Best Black-owned restaurant

165 Main St., Annapolis. 410-269-6737. chickandruths.com

After owner Keith Jones died suddenly in February, patrons of the long-lived Annapolis diner wondered about its future. Not to fret, Jones’ son said: Chick and Ruth’s will stay the course, be it appetizer, entree or dessert.

“We’re not out to reinvent the wheel,” said Spencer Jones, 22, the majority owner. “Chick and Ruth’s has been successful [56 years] longer than I’ve been alive.”

Count on the crab cakes, milk shakes and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. Not to mention the more than 50 sandwiches oft named for politicians (The Larry Hogan, The Thurgood Marshall, The Marvin Mandel Dog).

“We will make tweaks here and there,” said Jones, a graduate of Virginia Tech. “I’m a huge political junkie [who can name all 100 U.S. senators], so we’ll get more local lawmakers on the menu. We might name something for President [Joe] Biden, Vice President [Kamala] Harris and both the first lady and gentleman.”

Another likely add: chocolate ice cream. To now, the deli has served only vanilla, with chocolate syrup.

“I’m no cook, but I’ve leaned on good people,” Jones said. “This place has a unique culture and, while there’s a learning curve, it has been a nice challenge. I learned a lot from my dad and I know he’ll be looking down on — and out — for us.”

Honorable mention:

Machos Street Kitchen

Breakfast/brunch: Willy’s Kitchen

Honorable mentions:

Iron Rooster

Miss Shirley’s Café

Park Tavern

Burger: Willy’s Kitchen

Honorable mentions:

The Point Crab House & Grill

Dark Horse

Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

Chef: Bobby Jones, The Point Crab House & Grill

Honorable mentions:

Ken Zellers, Willy’s Kitchen

Bryce Pyle, Mutiny Pirate Bar

Ryan Stump, Twain’s Tavern

Chinese: Jack’s Fortune

Honorable mentions:

Szechuan Cafe

Bei Jing Chinese Restaurant

Passion Asian

Dry 85 bartender Billy Maddox delivers food to Bryan Falguera and Stephanie Renard in Annapolis.
Dry 85 bartender Billy Maddox delivers food to Bryan Falguera and Stephanie Renard in Annapolis. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Cocktail: Dry 85

Honorable mentions:

Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

Brian Boru Restaurant & Pub

Park Tavern

Coffee: Rise Up Coffee

Honorable mentions:

Dunkin

Second Alarm Brewhouse

The Big Bean

Crab cake: G & M Restaurant

Honorable mentions:

The Point Crab House & Grill

Willy’s Kitchen

Pappas Restaurant & Sports Bar

Deli: Giolitti Delicatessen

Honorable mentions:

Chick & Ruth’s Delly

Lisa’s Deli

Bay Hills Italian Deli

Delivery: Rocco’s Pizzeria

Honorable mention:

The Rumor Meal

Grace Roden scoops ice cream into a cone at Annapolis Ice Cream Company, the winner of best desserts and frozen treats in the Capital Style Magazine's Best Of section.
Grace Roden scoops ice cream into a cone at Annapolis Ice Cream Company, the winner of best desserts and frozen treats in the Capital Style Magazine's Best Of section. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

Annapolis Ice Cream Co.

Best dessert, frozen treat

196 Main St. Annapolis. 443-714-8674. annapolisicecream.com

Pedestrians on the streets of downtown Annapolis are spoiled for options when it comes to sweet treats: there are people making fudge in practically every other window and ice cream shops galore. But one place seems to capture the imagination more than any other. With its bright lights and colorful décor, the Annapolis Ice Cream Company gives off Willie Wonka vibes right on Main Street.

Here, new flavors pop up on a daily basis — and ice creams are made in-house. Staff tend to the machine between scoops. On the menu are whimsical and somewhat ingenious flavors like Cookie Monster — a blue ice cream with hunks of cookie dough and Oreo chunks — and some grown-up options, too. (I see you, lemon poppy seed.) The shop also serves up root beer floats, perfect company for a stroll down to Ego Alley.

Honorable mentions for dessert:

Blue Crab Cupcakes

Two Rivers Steak & Fish House

The Cheesecake Factory

Fine dining: Lewnes’ Steakhouse

Honorable mentions:

Cafe Mezzanotte

Two Rivers Steak & Fish House

Chart House

Food truck: Tacos Friday

Honorable mentions:

Black Market Bakers

Truck of Deliciousness

AZTK

Frozen treats: Annapolis Ice Cream Co.

Honorable mentions:

Daily Scoop

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard

Severna Park Taphouse Bar & Grill.
Severna Park Taphouse Bar & Grill. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Happy hour: Severna Park Taphouse

Honorable mentions:

The Hideaway

Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

Twain’s Tavern

Healthful menu: Garry’s Grill

Honorable mentions:

Rutabaga Juicery & Eats

Potato Valley Café

Eastport Kitchen

House-brewed beer: Crooked Crab Brewing Co.

Honorable mentions:

Park Tavern

Rams Head Tavern

Hysteria Taphouse

From left, Deepak Bhagra, co-owner Harjeet Pal, co-owner Tara Phatak, Amit Sharma and Ganesh Oli pose in the interior of Basmati Indian Cuisine in Annapolis, which was named Best Indian Restaurant for Capital Style Magazine.
From left, Deepak Bhagra, co-owner Harjeet Pal, co-owner Tara Phatak, Amit Sharma and Ganesh Oli pose in the interior of Basmati Indian Cuisine in Annapolis, which was named Best Indian Restaurant for Capital Style Magazine. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

Basmati Indian Cuisine

Best Indian restaurant

444 Solomons Island Road Suite E, Annapolis. 410-266-6355. basmatiindiancuisinemd.com

Fans of the buffet at Basmati Indian Restaurant can breathe a sigh of relief. The lunchtime tradition has returned to Solomons Island Road after a 16-month COVID-19 hiatus. For less than $15, have your fill of flaky vegan pakora, to-die-for goat curry or wonderfully tangy tandoori chicken, plus an assortment of naan and delicious chutneys that allow you to make it as spicy as you want. Or order from the a la carte menu each evening.

The restaurant, a handsomely decorated nook inside a shopping center, features plentiful pandemic precautions like plastic dividers and outdoor seating to keep customers feeling safe as well as sated.

Poonam Pathak, her husband, Tara — previously a chef at Baltimore’s Akbar restaurant — and nephew Harjeet Pal opened the North Indian eatery in 2012, their first business in Maryland. The key to success for the restaurant, a frequent reader favorite, says Poonam: “The main thing is our customer service and the quality and the quantity of food.” She added: “We are lucky to have the best customers in Annapolis.”

Honorable mentions:

Royal Karma

Little India Café

Namaste Fine Indian Cuisine

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Japanese: Joss Café & Sushi Bar

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Honorable mentions:

Yama Sushi Bar

Ginza Steak House & Sushi Bar

Ziki Japanese Steakhouse

Korean: Red Tigers Asian BBQ

Late-night dining: Double T Diner

Honorable mentions:

Davis’ Pub

Twain’s Tavern

Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub

Latin: Jalapeños

Honorable mentions:

Mi Pueblo

Vida Taco Bar

Sin Fronteras

Live entertainment: Rams Head Tavern

Honorable mentions:

Twain’s Tavern

Brian Boru Restaurant & Pub

Killarney House Irish Restaurant & Pub (tie)

Stan & Joe’s Riverside (tie)

One of Willy’s Kitchen in Ferndale signature breakfast specialties. Chesapeake Crab Benedict which consist of two cage-free poached eggs served atop two petit Maryland crab cakes, fried green tomatoes and baby arugula on two English muffins topped with hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with old bay.
One of Willy’s Kitchen in Ferndale signature breakfast specialties. Chesapeake Crab Benedict which consist of two cage-free poached eggs served atop two petit Maryland crab cakes, fried green tomatoes and baby arugula on two English muffins topped with hollandaise sauce and sprinkled with old bay. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun)

Willy’s Kitchen

Best breakfast, burger, lunch

7271 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie. 410-761-8001. willyskitchenandcatering.com

Have the crab explosion omelet for breakfast and you may scuttle out sideways. Order the buttermilk fried chicken and waffles, with real maple syrup, and loosen that belt a notch. Time and again, Willy’s Kitchen serves up old-school, mom-and-pop comfort food with “a big-city vibe,” said Nikki Hubers-Hall, 43, owner of the familial 20-year-old Glen Burnie restaurant.

At this snug (35-table) eatery near Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, locals and passersby feast on fare made from scratch, much of it from ingredients gleaned from area suppliers.

“We’re not pulling food out of the freezer,” Hubers-Hall said. “We crack every egg and hand-bread the chicken.”

So what if there’s a stray seed in the fresh-squeezed orange juice? The coffee hails from Pfefferkorn’s, a Baltimore mainstay: dairy products, from South Mountain Creamery, in Middletown. At Willy’s, folks order chocolate milk for breakfast.

“They call it melted ice cream,” the owner said.

Local, pasture-raised beef comprises the seven-ounce, handcrafted burgers. There are two kinds of scrapple to be had and, for the heart-healthy, an array of signature salads made by the owner’s Aunt Sharon. But it’s crabmeat that drives the menu, from the Chesapeake crab benedict (with fried green tomatoes) to the crab and cheese quesadillas.

Honorable mentions for lunch menu:

Brian Boru Restaurant & Pub

Davis’ Pub

The Hideaway (tie)

Twain’s Tavern (tie)

New restaurant: Sullivan’s Cove

Honorable mentions:

Dark Horse

Smashing Grapes

Oscar’s Alehouse East

The summer crostini and the soft shell crab at The Point Crab House & Grill, which won multiple categories in Capital Style Magazine's Best Of section.
The summer crostini and the soft shell crab at The Point Crab House & Grill, which won multiple categories in Capital Style Magazine's Best Of section. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

The Point Crab House & Grill

Best ambience, overall, chef, outdoor dining, out-of-towners, seafood, view

700 Mill Creek Road, Arnold. 410-544-5448. thepointcrabhouse.com

Pull up to the parking lot of Atlantic Marina at Ferry Point, tucked along the Magothy River, and you might just wonder where the restaurant is. That’s the way owner Bobby Jones likes it. “It’s more memorable when you’re out of the way a little bit.”

Mosey down toward the water and you’ll find The Point, which offers peaceful views of Mill Creek, convivial atmosphere and simple Chesapeake fare done right.

Jones opened The Point in 2012 — the location had previously been home to humble crab stand Magothy Seafood, which shut down in 2009. “It was dirt,” said Jones. He added the open-air pavilion with glass, garage-door style windows (and proper electric).

Decor includes a vintage Aubrey Bodine photo of men picking crabs and swigging beers at a table held up by barrels. Today, guests are encouraged to follow their example and order steamed crabs, fresh from local watermen.

Asked how the restaurant has managed to be a favorite in so many categories, Jones, a 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, touted the consistency of his team and the identity of his brand. “We’re giving someone a little break in their life to take it easy and be fed well and enjoy themselves. That’s our plan. … It’s like a mini vacation.”

Honorable mentions for outdoor dining:

Lures Bar & Grille

Severna Park Taphouse

Cantler’s Riverside Inn

Pizza: Fox’s Den

Honorable mentions:

Vin 909 Winecafe

1978 New York Pizzeria

Rocco’s Pizzeria

Place to take out-of-towners: The Point Crab House & Grill

Honorable mentions:

Cantler’s Riverside Inn

Lures Bar & Grille

Willy’s Kitchen

Main dining and bar area at Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille.
Main dining and bar area at Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Place to take the kids: Mutiny Pirate Bar & Island Grille

Honorable mentions:

Grump’s Cafe

Garry’s Grill

Park Tavern

Seafood: The Point Crab House & Grill

Honorable mentions:

Cantler’s Riverside Inn

Anne Arundel Seafood

Lures Bar and Grille

Server: Mark Dixon, Cafe Mezzanotte

Honorable mentions:

Rachel Fields, Severna Park Taphouse

Lisa Talley, Main & Market

Samantha Vandegrift, Twain’s Tavern

Sports bar: Heroes Pub

Honorable mentions:

Severna Park Taphouse

Mother’s Peninsula Grille

The Hideaway

Exterior of Lewnes' Steakhouse in Annapolis.
Exterior of Lewnes' Steakhouse in Annapolis. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Sun)

Steak: Lewnes’ Steakhouse

Honorable mentions:

Two Rivers Steak & Fish House

Texas Roadhouse

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Sushi: Joss Café & Sushi Bar

Honorable mentions:

Yama Sushi Bar

Szechuan Cafe

Ginza Japanese Steak & Sushi Bar

Takeout: The Hideaway

Honorable mentions:

Jack’s Fortune

Twain’s Tavern

Bahama Mike’s

Thai: Lemongrass

Honorable mentions:

Carlson’s Donuts & Thai Kitchen

Thai at Waugh Chapel

Passion Asian

The Hideaway's Nicole Hangsleben is voted the Best Bartender in Anne Arundel County.
The Hideaway's Nicole Hangsleben is voted the Best Bartender in Anne Arundel County. (Kenneth K. Lam)

The Hideaway

Best value, takeout, bartender

1439 Odenton Road, Odenton. 410-874-7300. hideaway.odenton.com

Aptly named, The Hideaway is hard to find. Its website offers vague directions: “Somewhere in Odenton,” it declares, teasing the hungry. But follow your nose; the whiff of barbecue should lead you there.

A rambling roadhouse, The Hideaway serves hearty meals of pecan-smoked fried chicken, zesty ribs and Texas brisket. The dry-rubbed wings, smoked and served with a blackberry Chipotle sauce, are a favorite. It’s tantalizing, flag-waving fare, said Bob Krohn who, with his son, Mike Krohn, owns the place.

Here, doggy bags are a given.

“I don’t want anyone to walk out the door, not being full,” Bob Krohn said. “When they leave with a box, I tell them, ‘When you open your refrigerator door tonight at 10 o’clock, think of me.’ ”

It’s standard food, with kitschy twists to bring patrons back.

“If you like our pulled pork perogies, where else can you go to get them?” Krohn said. Likewise, the fried Brussels sprouts with bacon, goat cheese and candied pecans.

“I like the quirky stuff,” said Krohn, 66, whose recipes dominate. A onetime LED lighting engineer, he changed careers 10 years ago after studying with Myron Mixon, a five-time barbecue world champion. Soon after, Krohn bought the onetime bikers’ hangout and retooled it into three dining rooms and two bars.

“At first, even I had trouble finding the place,” he said. “Finally I quit giving directions and said, ‘It’s somewhere in Odenton.’ That phrase made a wonderful tagline so we put it on our website.”

Patrons tout bartender Nicole Hangsleben as well. “She’s a bundle of energy, a whirling dervish who makes drinks exactly as they should be,” Krohn said.

Regulars are fiercely loyal. Couples have wed in the front bar. And sometimes, before longtime customers pass on, they’ll ask that their celebration of life be held at The Hideaway.

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Honorable mentions for value:

Galway Bay Irish Restaurant and Pub

Twain’s Tavern

Garry’s Grill

Vegetarian options: Preserve

Honorable mentions:

Garry’s Grill

Eastport Kitchen

Lista’s Grill

View: The Point Crab House & Grill

Honorable mentions:

The Severn Inn

Carrol’s Creek Cafe

Mike’s Crab House North

Wine list: Vin 909 Winecafe

Honorable mentions:

Red Red Wine Bar

Lewnes’ Steakhouse

Harvest Thyme Tavern


Editor’s note: Winners and honorable mentions were determined by popular vote. Readers were invited to nominate and vote online from May to June.

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