Couple Transforms Catering Hall To Neighborhood Tavern

OCEAN CITY – The charm of the local neighborhood tavern has settled outside of Ocean Pines with last month’s grand opening of the Steer Inn Tavern.

The Steer Inn Tavern, located on Route 589, made its debut on June 20, bringing what owners Skip and Tracey McGarry consider “an entertaining neighborhood bar” to the area.

Skip and Tracey have been operating in the same location for the past seven years, running the Occasionally Yours catering hall.

“We wanted to change things up and get better use of the facility,” Tracey said.

With a catering hall that was only a four-day a week operation, Tracey and Skip felt they needed to expand their horizons and venture into the restaurant business.

Revamping their operation proved to be a challenge for Tracey and Skip as they worked overtime to convert their familiar catering hall into the tavern that stands today.

“It’s been more hectic than anything,” Tracey said of the initial struggles. “We’re trying to do everything right, like a place we’d want to go to.”

One item that they have worked and re-worked until perfection is the food.

We have a great pub fare menu,” Skip said.

The tavern, open 11 a.m. until 2 a.m., seven days a week, serves food all day and night until at least 11 p.m.

Skip and Tracey chose to go in a different direction than many of the other restaurants around, choosing the Thumann’s Brand of deli meats and hot dogs. According to Skip, Steer Inn is the only place this side of St. Michaels that serves Thumanns.

So far, the Thumann’s foot-long jumbo hot dog is one of the most popular items on the menu. “It’s been selling like crazy,” Tracey said.

Other popular items include Skip and Tracey’s own version of the Cuban sandwich and the half-pound Steer Burger.

“We provide good portions and good quality food,” Tracey said.

To tie in the Route 589 location, Steer Inn has a daily $5.89 special. Items such as a chicken Caesar salad or an Italian sub with fries can be seen on the daily special menus.

Coinciding with the pub fare menu are the pub beverages. With a full bar open until 2 a.m., Steer Inn provides a wide variety of drink possibilities. Happy Hour, available daily from 4 to 7, provides $2 drafts as well as food specials.

When you’re not enjoying a refreshing beverage or a bite to eat, there is a wide variety of entertainment to keep you occupied. Skip and Tracey pointed out the range of entertainment includes three pool tables, a dart game, numerous televisions, shuffle bowl and other games as well. Skip added that Steer Inn would be housing Keno within the next few months. He also added that this fall, Sundays would be dedicated to football, with the addition of the NFL Ticket. Steer Inn entertainment also includes live music four nights a week.

The atmosphere of Steer Inn is an eclectic mix ranging from a surf theme bathroom to a rock n’ roll and country mix of tavern décor.

“We decided to go with the music theme rather than the sports theme,” Skip explained.

With pictures and posters paying homage to Woodstock, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and local musician Michael Tracy White, the collection reflects the music theme that Skip and Tracey are aiming for.

“We’re just having fun with the whole music theme,” Tracey said.

With the upcoming enforcement of the smoking ban in bars next year, Skip and Tracey decided to make Steer Inn a non-smoking establishment. They didn’t neglect their smoking friends however, adding a spacious, covered deck out back for smokers and non-smokers alike to enjoy. Drinks can also be enjoyed on the deck along with heaters during the chilly winter months.

Steer Inn currently has around 25 employees that Skip and Tracey couldn’t be more pleased with.

“We wanted team players,” Skip said Tracey added, “We’ve got a really good, friendly team right now.”

Another asset that Skip mentioned was Max the Steer, the mascot who should be making his first appearance in the next few weeks. Max, former bull on display at Captain Bob’s in Ocean City, is undergoing a facelift, and will be displayed on the front lawn of the Steer Inn to tie in with the theme of the restaurant.