Foot of Main Street, Reedville, Virginia, 804-453-6789
As you head your boat up Cock-rell Creek past the tall, yellow-brick smokestack on Morris Point, one of the first things you’ll see is the Reedville Marina at the foot of Main Street. Gone are the belching smokestacks and the hustle and bustle of commercial activity in this little creek near the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. Of the dozens of fish factories and canneries that once lined the shores here only one remains: the Omega Protein plant, visible on the east side of the harbor. These days, Reedville’s industry is turning to pleasure and, not surprisingly, attracting more and more cruising boats. Many of them are headed for the Crazy Crab, the Reedville Marina’s restaurant.
The Crazy Crab’s bright red metal roof is as unmistakable as its logo, a “crazy” crab painted on either end of the restaurant building. The fuel dock on the restaurant’s west side offers transient dockage. Even more space will be available this summer, when the marina finishes building its new piers.
Dixie and I arrived with our friends the Reads in tow, and we were warmly welcomed by proprietors Charles and Olivia Williams. We opted for seating indoors (an outdoor deck accommodates sun-loving diners) and were shown to a table by a window. Wonderful sunsets and the passing parade of boats provide diners with plenty to look at outside. Nautical prints and paintings on the restaurant walls reflect the life and times of the Reedville area.
We were hungry, so we quickly ordered some appetizers. The servings were ample enough to share around the table: After the first bite of bacon-wrapped scallops, we carefully divided the portion to give everyone a full share of the crispy bacon surrounding perfectly cooked scallops. A satisfying backfin crab cocktail completed our appetizer course.
All of us chose blue cheese dressing for our fresh salads. No cholesterol pudding this; instead, we were treated to a light tasty concoction that dressed rather than drowned our salads.
Entree choices were difficult, but we agreed that the “Mate’s” portions would be plenty for our appetites rather than the heartier “Captain’s” helpings. I was attracted to the fried shrimp, my all-time favorite. Other options included crab-stuffed flounder, shrimp scampi, soft-shell crab platter and more seafood. The daily specials offered more crab specialties, steaks and fish du jour.
Our friends chose a combination of broiled shrimp, scallops and lump crab. Dixie decided to sample a platter of broiled shrimp, scallops, sea trout and fried oysters, all of which she enjoyed with a running commentary. But she couldn’t get me sidetracked. I savored my selection of large butterfly shrimp stuffed with a light mix of delicious crab lumps, and gradually a comfortable silence settled over our table, a sure sign that we were enjoying our meal.
Surrounded by so many windows and such a view, we could look if we couldn’t talk. I watched the Tangier Island cruise boat Chesapeake Breeze steam majestically past on a late-day outing. I almost wished I could be aboard, heading out for a spin down the river. Several interesting boats were tied up to the fuel pier: A large cutter-rig ketch had recently arrived from Germany. In front of her was a good-size trawler yacht.
We were rapidly becoming as stuffed as my shrimp, but we weren’t about to quit-not before cramming in a bit of dessert. Turtle cheesecake caught our fancy, as did Chocolate Confusion: a confection of two chocolate layers bound with a broad ribbon of caramel, spiced with tiny crunchy chocolate chips and spread with a decadent chocolate icing. Our servings were garnished with spirals of melted chocolate.
When we finally settled back to savor the last lingering taste of our dessert, evening had fallen. Around the point came the tour boat, returning to its home pier, all lit up, people crowding the railing and upper deck. They looked like they were having lots of fun. But would I have changed places with them? Not on your life.
The Crazy Crab and Reedville Marina overlook Cockrell Creek. It is within easy walking distance of Reedville’s attractive historic district and the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. Open for lunch and dinner Fri.–Sun. noon–9 p.m. (Open Tues.–Sun. beginning May 1.) Lunch $4–$8; dinner $9.25–$20.95. Take-out available. Visa and MasterCard accepted. No reservations. Free dockage for diners; overnight dockage runs 90'/ft plus electric.