Advertisement

As summer winds down, it’s crab feast time in Howard County, Laurel

With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is at the end of its peak, and opportunities to indulge in one of Marylander’s favorite pastimes — feasting on steamed crabs — are everywhere around the area.

“Everybody likes crabs in Maryland,” said Alyssa Post, manager of Food Plenty, a restaurant in Clarksville that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients. Food Plenty is hosting a crab feast from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Advertisement

“It’s a good way for us to get the community together,” Post said. “Last year, we had a very, very large crowd.”

Held in the restaurant’s covered porch on the second floor, the location offers a pleasant cross breeze for a perfect afternoon affair with all-you-can-eat crabs, sides and dessert, Post said.

“It’s a nice time to have it,” Post said. “Kids are more than welcome to join. You gotta start them young.”

Jailbreak Brewery, in Laurel, is hosting its fifth annual crab feast on Saturday, too.

Jailbreak Brewing Co. will host its fifth annual crab feast Saturday.
Jailbreak Brewing Co. will host its fifth annual crab feast Saturday. (HANDOUT)

“There is nothing more Maryland than steamed crabs,” said Becca Newell, the brewery’s director of marketing. “There is not a better pairing than crabs and craft beer.”

Besides all–you-can-eat crabs, corn, hush puppies and pit beef, Jailbreak will offer all-you-can-drink craft beers, too.

“It’s a way to reach out to the community and introduce some folks to craft beers,” Newell said. “We sell out every year.”

For many, gathering around a table at home with family or friends over crabs is tradition.

“People pick and talk; it’s something you can do all afternoon,” said Jimmy Emmerts, of Emmerts Seafood, which sells crabs, shrimp and other seafood out of a big trailer at 10024 Washington Boulevard. “I’ve been doing it since I was a baby.”

Since the early 2000s, Emmerts and his wife, Lori, have built a reputation for selling fresh crabs and seafood, first from their home in Laurel and now out of the trailer.

“Jimmy is a fourth generation fisherman,” Lori said, with pride. “With our grandchildren getting in the business, we have six generations.”

They pride themselves on selling crabs that are fat and full, with J&O spice and their own special twist.

“Our secret spice? We love what we do,” Lori said.

“People come back a couple times a week,” Jimmy said. “We’ve made wonderful friendships. People come as customers and leave as friends.”

Advertisement

With a bright white beard, customers call David Webb, manager of Wild Seafood in Jessup, “Papa Smurf.”

Dave Webb, manager at Wild Seafood in Jessup, prepares some of the day's catch at the market in 2015.
Dave Webb, manager at Wild Seafood in Jessup, prepares some of the day's catch at the market in 2015. (By Luke Lavoie)

“Kindness,” Webb said, is the key to success. “We have the best customer relations. We talk about each other’s families.”

Though Wild Seafood has only been in business for four years, it was formerly known as Frank’s Seafood and had been in business since 1984, where Webb was also a manager.

“We have had some customers for 30 years,” Webb said. “It’s wonderful.”

Honesty, Webb said, is the best policy. While Wild Seafood prides itself on its crabs, they are not always the biggest, and he tells customers.

“Crabs are expensive,” Webb said. “You want people to come to your establishment. You don’t want to lie to them. You want to satisfy them.”

Many people, he said, go crazy for crabs.

“People love crabs so much,” Webb said. “Every Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. So many families call and say they have to get dad crabs.”

It’s a business that has its ups and downs, as crab populations and prices rise and fall. Some years are better than others, but neither the Emmerts nor Webb would think of doing anything else.

“We do OK,” Jimmy Emmerts said. “You gotta love this business. It’s a lot of hard work if you don’t.”

“I love people,” Webb said. “I could go on and on. I love my job.”

If you go
  • Crab Feast on the Porch: 1 p.m. Saturday at Food Plenty, 12250 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville. $20-$55. foodplenty.com
  • Jailbreak’s fifth annual crab feast: 5 p.m. Saturday at Jailbreak Brewing Co., 9445 Washington Blvd. N., Laurel. $50-$75. jailbreakbrewing.com
  • Emmerts Seafood: 10024 Washington Blvd. N., Laurel. 301-490-4423 or facebook.com/emmertsseafoodllc
  • Wild Seafood: 7901 Oceano Ave., Jessup. 443-661-4923 or wildseafoodjessup.com
Food Plenty is located at 12250 Clarksville Pike in Clarksville.
Food Plenty is located at 12250 Clarksville Pike in Clarksville. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)
Advertisement
Advertisement