Brice And Shirley Phillips Named OC’s Top Citizens

OCEAN CITY – The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce announced last weekend that Brice and Shirley Phillips had been named the 2008 Citizens of the Year.

The public is invited on Thursday evening, April 10, to the Citizen of the Year banquet to be held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center on 66th Street. Reservations are required, call the Chamber office 410-213-0144 to reserve or register on line at

Nominated by Mary Tawney Eastman, the Phillips’ are regarded as one of Ocean City’s most successful and beloved couples. They embody the Eastern Shore family – the father a waterman at heart, the mother a wife and businesswoman, and two sons who grew up in the family operation.

“In the years that I have known them, they have continually been working hands on in one of the two Ocean City restaurants, the Beach Plaza Hotel or at Phillips Harborplace,” Eastman said. “So, the accomplishments that are mentioned are in addition to, but not in place of, their steadfast desire to build a small crab shack carry-out restaurant into a widely known international crab empire.”

Brice and Shirley Phillips started their community activities years ago when the Phillips children were growing up in Ocean City and the number of young students working in the restaurant in the summers, was steadily increasing. To keep the employees occupied when they were not working, Brice and Shirley sponsored softball, midnight football and golf teams for the OC Recreation Dept Summer Leagues. In recent years, they have been sponsors of the OC Drug & Alcohol “Play it Safe” campaigns and have received the Governor’s Citation for their participation in this annual event.

Helping local organizations raise funds has also been a family focus. Brice and Shirley have graciously donated their restaurant and with the assistance of their suppliers hosted crab benefits for the Humane Society and the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce to name just a few. They have also been honored by the Ocean City Art League as Patrons of the Arts.

The Phillips have hosted the fund raising dinner for the Atlantic Methodist Church for over 40 years. Initially the dinner was at the Beach Plaza Hotel but has gotten so big that it is now held at the Crab House each year. All of the food is donated by the Phillips and their suppliers.

As their business lives spread out of the confines of Ocean City, so has their participation and scope of activities. Shirley Phillips has served on the Board of Directors and as a District Director of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce from 1987 to 1993. She also has served on the board of the MD Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Brice Phillips, meanwhile, served on the Chesapeake Bay Trust from 1985 to 1996. Social club activities date back to Brice and Shirley being yearly sponsors of the Ocean City Grand Ball. They have also been active members of the Dunes Club.

If you asked the Phillips what their special interests were, they would mention their involvement in the fund drive for the public kickoff for Atlantic General Hospital. Dr. Frank Townsend and Thelma Conner were there encouraging Shirley when she announced, “The Phillips family is giving $75,000 right now. Let’s see who can match it.” It was matched, many times over by others and again by themselves.

Shirley Phillips was involved with the founding of Atlantic Bank and served as a director on the Board. She served 15 years from 1984 to 1999 on the University of Maryland Medical Systems Board. The magazine Working Woman named her one of the nation’s top 100 women. Brice Phillips served on the Board of Taylor Bank. They have each been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Baltimore International College in the field of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management. Many awards have been received by the restaurant and in 2007 the Restaurant Association of Maryland awarded Brice and Shirley the Lifetime Industry Achievement Award.