For us, Skipper’s Pier Restaurant and Dock Bar (click here to see their website address and driving directions in our Food & Drink Business Directory) is an old standby. We have probably eaten there a couple dozen times. Located on Drum Point in Deale, MD, it’s just across the water from our boat’s slip, about a quarter mile as the crow flies. From spring through fall, we have often eaten there. In the winter, though, our visits tend to be fewer and farther apart. Friday (February 24, 2017), given the spring-like weather with the thermometer in the mid-70s, we headed to Deale for lunch, and also to check on the boat.
At this time of year, the marinas on the Chesapeake Bay tend to be fairly quiet, and so, too, are the restaurants and other businesses that rely on the boating trade. As we drove through the village of Deale, we saw that dredging was under way just south of the bridges on Deale Road, in Tracys Creek and Rockhold Creek, which should make those channels much more passable come boating season. We could also see a few folks working on boats in the marinas along the creeks.
Chef Jessica Rosage and her husband Dave Rosage, who can often be found in the front of the house, own Skipper’s Pier. It has a bar area with some seating for diners, and then a larger indoor dining room. Outdoors there is a deck with picnic tables and umbrellas, and further out, a dock bar (not open when we were there today). In the warmer months, boaters can pull up and dock at piers right next to the restaurant, and it gets quite busy.
The parking lot at Skipper’s Pier can be tight, but they have overflow space available just north of the restaurant on Drum Point Road at Paradise Marina. Believe me, in the summer they need that overflow. Of course, once you park over there and hike to the restaurant, you may face a wait for a table.
We arrived about 11:50 AM (opening time was 11) to find we were the third or fourth car in the lot (along with a couple of motorcycles). Walking in, we were told we could sit wherever we wanted, inside or out. We sat by a window in the bar area because It was still a bit cool outside with a breeze off the water, the sun was quite bright, and they didn’t have their umbrellas up yet.
Reviewing the menu
Our waitress arrived soon after we sat down, handed us menus (click here to see their menu online), and took our drink orders — a glass of chardonnay ($6/glass) for my wife Cindy and a root beer ($3/glass) for me. (We are both root beer fans. A few days earlier, we had got lunch at an Arby’s, only to find that they had stopped serving root beer just a week before, a terrible disappointment!)
By the time the waitress returned with out drinks, we had decided on our orders. Cindy wanted the Chesapeake Bay fried oyster basket, which comes with fries and cole slaw (she substituted tartar- for cocktail-sauce) for $18. We ordered their starter of a basket of biscuits and hush-puppies (which is supposed to come with hickory cinnamon butter, applewood bacon jam, and local honey) to share. I had decided on the shrimp and grits ($19). The waitress changed my mind, though, when she let us know that they had a soft-shell crab sandwich with a pickle and fries as the special-of-the-day ($17). I love soft-shells! I figured I’d get the shrimp and grits another time.
Enjoying the starter
After a bit, the waitress stopped back by with a couple of small plates and extra napkins, which would prove useful for the starter, which arrived not long after. Skipper’s Pier used to offer an order of just hush puppies, but the biscuits are a nice addition — both were quite fresh and hot. The applewood bacon jam was missing, so I guess they were out of it, but it wasn’t really necessary. We enjoyed them anyways.
While we waited for our main courses, we watched the water a bit and read some of the free local publications they keep in a stand by the front door. We often read SpinSheet (covers sailing on the Chesapeake) and PropTalk (covers power-boating on The Bay) while we wait for our Food, but neither on-hand. So the day’s reading consisted of Salty Dog (mostly classified ads for used boats), Bay Weekly (offers columns, features and news), and Chesapeake Current (local news and ads; their website is listed as http://chesapeakecurrent.com, but it doesn’t seem to be working). Unlike most of our visits, today there was no boat traffic to watch. I guess no one was prepared for such a warm spell in February.
Seafood at Skipper's Pier
Our main courses came along soon enough. Cindy’s fried oysters looked wonderful and she said tasted great, too. She did offer me a taste, but I declined, as I had plenty on my own plate.
My food came out looking, let’s just say, a bit odd. A fried-soft-shell crab sandwich is often served on a hamburger bun or a kaiser roll, with the legs sticking out. It’s supposed to look like somebody fried-up a big spider. It’s great for grossing out the non-believers. But this sandwich was served on something like Texas toast, cut on the bias. But worst of all, somebody tucked all the legs in! I ask you, where is the beauty in that? For all anybody knows, it could be a plain-old BLT or something.
I know I sound old fashioned, but hey, there is something to be said for tradition, y’know? What’s next, they’re going to start cutting off the crusts, or serve it on a croissant (wait… I like croissants… that might be really good)? All kidding aside, it was a very good sandwich, and I also enjoyed the fries, but I didn’t finish them. Probably because I ate too many hush puppies and biscuits.
No doubt, we’ll be back for more seafood at Skipper’s Pier. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in for some good seafood meal and a lovely view of the water. ♦