When Chris Conrad moved back to Maryland from the West Coast two years ago, he asked his brother where people in Harford County go to eat seafood.
“They come to our place,” said Anthony Conrad, who founded Conrad’s Seafood Restaurant in Perry Hall with his wife, Andrea.
What if they don’t want to make that drive, then were do they go, asked Chris, who moved to Fallston.
“Really, nowhere,” Anthony Conrad told him.
That was the beginning of their plan to open a Conrad’s Seafood Restaurant in Harford County. They are hoping to take over the former OC Brewing Co. space in the Boulevard at Box Hill Shopping Center.
“This is a really great location, it’s really easy access,” Chris Conrad said.
He and his wife, Suzanne, who are in business with Anthony and Andrea Conrad, as well as their chef, Joe Lancelotta, will operate the Abingdon restaurant.
Donna Shores, of OC Brewing Co., turned in the liquor license on Dec. 4 for cancellation, according to Pilar Gracia, liquor board administrator.
OC Brewing Co. moved into the building after Joe’s Crab Shack closed in September 2015.
Harford residents – especially those who have been eating Conrad’s crabs at Ripken Stadium – have been asking for years when a Conrad’s would come to Harford, Chris Conrad said.
If everything goes smoothly – which includes minor renovations and liquor board approval – Conrad’s in Abingdon could be open by early April at the latest, he said.
The location in Abingdon is ideal, he said, because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and Routes 24 and 924. And it’s an alternative to eating in Bel Air, which has a number of chain restaurants.
He describes Conrad’s as a family seafood restaurant, with great pairings, Maryland steamed crabs, oysters and a “really great mix of pasta and other seafood dishes.”
All seafood is bought locally, and the crabs are caught by one of Anthony Conrad’s three boats.
Conrad’s in Perry Hall has a local stamp of approval, which means a lot to Marylanders because seafood is “such an important aspect to this state,” Chris Conrad said.
“It’s important for folks that come in and try the offerings to know they’re getting a legitimate Maryland dish,” he said. “That it’s family owned makes it a nicer thing. Folks really do care about the patron. That’s what separates Conrad’s from chain restaurants.”
The staff at Conrad’s care about the food as much as the customers, he said.
The menu at Conrad’s, which will include carry-out, will be a little different from that of Perry Hall. The “California kid” intends to have sushi on the menu daily rather than as a special a few days a week. It will also have a kids menu – chicken fingers and fries and hamburgers.
He also intends to enclose the playground so kids can play and parents can relax knowing their children won’t run off.
“We really want people to come in, where it’s comfortable, you know your kids are safe, everybody gets something they want and they come back,” Conrad said.