OCEAN CITY – “Crabs To Go” hasn’t gone anywhere; it’s just about to get bigger.
The small crab shack that had been the home of Crabs To Go on the corner of Routes 50 and 589 for 15 years, was demolished last week, making room for the newly planned 1,000-square-foot building that will potentially break ground soon and should be open to the public by April 1, just in time for the start of the Maryland crab season.
The old building was more than three decades old and used to be a produce stand before owners Mark and John Whittmyer and partner Dan Parker took over 15 years ago, turning it into one of the area’s most beloved takeout spots.
Though many people seemed to like the crab shack being small and quaint, Mark Whittmyer said that the demolition of the old building was long overdue.
“The timing to do this project now was based on the condition of the building, even though it is true that we’ve kind of outgrown it. The old building was beyond repair, and we hope that this new building will help us be able to stay open year round,” he said.
In the past, Whittmyer said that Crabs to Go would close in December and January because of poor plumbing that would cause the pipes to oftentimes freeze up. With the new construction receiving final approval on the building permit this week, Whittmyer hopes to stay open longer into the winter and obviously improve the conditions of the building itself.
“The biggest question I am getting asked is whether or not the new building is going to have seating,” said Whittmyer. “We are going to add a small sitting area, probably 8-10 seats, but for the most part, this new building will be 95-percent carryout.”
In addition to limited seating, one addition to Crabs to Go will be the venture into broiling seafood, including crab cakes.
“We realize how health conscious everyone is these days, and most of what we did in the past was fried, so adding the broiler will add something new for Crabs to Go, and expanded space and new seats will enable someone to just swing through and sit down and enjoy a crab cake,” said Whittmyer.
Notorious for its cramped ordering space in the old 400 square foot building, Whittmyer hopes to stay true to what got the business to where it is by making the majority of changes to the exterior.
“We aren’t reinventing the wheel here. We will virtually be the same, but we’ll just be a bit bigger,” he said. “Hopefully, these much needed changes will enable us to look into expanding the business in certain ways, but we want to ease in to these new changes before we address future ideas.”
The new building is designed to be a wooden structure with a metal roofing and will sit in the same position as the old building, but will stretch closer to the gas station because of its expanded size.