Local Specialties The Focus At Fenwick Island Mainstay

T.K. Dickerson

Staff Writer

FENWICK ISLAND – Despite
numerous regional and even national awards for high quality food, Fenwick
Crabhouse puts high value on local product.

Owner Scott Fornwalt
describes the cozy crab house as “a fun, fast, casual seafood restaurant” with
a “concentration on local specialties”. He even features local breweries at the
brand new bar.

Fornwalt’s description
of his restaurant is modest compared to the accumulation of awards that hang on
the walls amongst the vintage signs and a huge deer head. Fornwalt laughs that
they “don’t have the wall space to hang [more awards] up”.

Fenwick Crabhouse’s
awards range from “best ribs in Delaware” by Delaware Today Magazine, to “the
perfect crab cake” by the New York Times. Not only do these awards show the
diversity of the menu, but also the geographic extent to which their food
reaches.

To keep up with people’s
demands all over the country, Fenwick Crabhouse ships crab cakes nationwide. Their
crab cakes boast no filler or breading, but all lump crabmeat.

Fornwalt decided, when
he took over the restaurant 28 years ago, that his priority would be food
quality. “Good seafood is not cheap,” Fornwalt says. “I want to hear the food
was good, not the food was cheap.”

While keeping the
economy in mind, Fornwalt makes it the goal of Fenwick Crabhouse to deliver the
best possible food, whether it is crab cakes or ribs. Though the restaurant may
technically be a “crab house”, their award-winning crab cakes are their best
seller. A close second is steamed crabs, but there is something for everyone on
the menu.

The light fare and
appetizer menu, both available at the new bar, feature items ranging from crab
dip baked in a French roll to tempura fried asparagus and Brie, ensuring
everyone will find something they enjoy.

The granite bar, new
this year, is spacious and keeps a mind towards dining. Fornwalt removed the
typical bar rail, so that there is more room to eat at the bar.

Fornwalt’s persistence
with the quality of his restaurant has certainly paid off, but he was no
newcomer to the restaurant business when he took over Fenwick Crabhouse in 1983
at the age of 27 years old.

From the time he studied
restaurant management at Michigan State after years of experience at Warren’s
Station, Fornwalt knew that he “always wanted to own a restaurant in Fenwick
Island”.

Though he laughs that at
the time he was “too young to know better”, Fornwalt comments his favorite
thing about the crab house is “interacting with customers and help”.

“We decided 25 years ago
that we had to become more than a crab house and that quality was our goal,”
says Fornwalt. He adds that they are “not forgetting [their] roots, but adding
to [them]”.

The Fenwick Crabhouse
has moved far away from the typical “picnic table” crab house and steered more
toward family dining and higher caliber food, something Fornwalt is proud to
offer.

 

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