Rock Hall's Harbor Shack
is a Place for Young and Old to Get Together
for a Great Time and Great Food.
by Ann Levelle, June 2008
It was a dark and stormy night (really) in Rock Hall, Md., when John and I boarded the trolley at the Sailing Emporium and headed off to dinner. We were hoping to get a recommendation from the trolley driver on where to find some good eats, but it never came to that. Instead we met some friendly slipholders from the marina who were ready to share the skinny on their favorite spot in town: the Harbor Shack. Down from the Philadelphia area most weekends to work on their boat, Steve and Christa Tracy frequent the Harbor Shack and love it. They told us it's fun and you can't beat the food.
I like good food and fun, and once I heard the name of the place my inner jukebox started blaring the B-52's "Love Shack"--a sure sign that good times were headed our way. So we followed our new buddies to their favorite haunt. We came in through the bar, and it was packed. The main dining room was closed for a private party, so dinner patrons were being seated only in the bar area and on the patio, which was only partly covered. We decided to improve our odds of getting a table and joined the Tracys for dinner. It wasn't long before we had a table near the bar and a round of cold beers from our spunky waitress Charlotte. We had a good time checking out the atmosphere, with its Caribbean color scheme and walls full of beer paraphernalia and goofy signage, my favorite of which read: "Fish So Fresh, Make Ya Wanna Slap Yo Momma!" In homage to Rock Hall's watermen, there was also the Harbor Shack Bragging Board, where local captains could record their best catches of the week.
On Charlotte's advice, we ordered the crab dip, which was baked in a bread bowl and arrived bubbling over with cheese. It was delicious, as was our order of steamed clams in garlic sauce (though not nearly as delectable as the crab dip). Picking our entrees was tough. There were tons of options, including sandwiches and dock bar fare, steaks, a hefty menu of Mexican dishes and locally caught seafood. The men couldn't resist the "Saturday night special"--juicy prime rib--and were not disappointed in the least. Christa opted for the scallops topped with crab imperial and I had the local rockfish stuffed with the same. Both were excellent and came in large portions--always a plus in my book.
Midway through dinner the band started to play, and almost immediately people were up dancing and having a ball. The loud music didn't seem to disturb any diners; it just made things that much livelier. We didn't leave room for dessert, but since the rain had stopped, we did stay for another round of beer on the patio overlooking Rock Hall harbor. Our dreary Saturday evening had turned around quite nicely, thanks to the Harbor Shack. The Tracys were right--good times, good food.
The Harbor Shack is located on the north side of Rock Hall harbor and has dockage for diners (3 feet MLW). Open for lunch and dinner daily in season; appetizers $5-$11; sandwiches and light fare $8-$12; entrees $14-$26. The Harbor Shack features live entertainment every weekend. 410-639-9996;www.harborshack.net