Restaurant Marks One Year Since Ocean City Return

T.K. Dickerson

Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY – Most Boardwalk eateries in Ocean City dish up their own versions of burgers, pizza or French fries. However, inside the Courtyard Marriott on 15th Street, the Captain’s Table restaurant serves delicious, high-quality entrees in an atmosphere that is a unique combination of beach casual and fine dining.

Though this marks the first year anniversary of the Captain’s Table restaurant in the Marriott, the family-operated restaurant is no stranger to the area.

The restaurant was opened in 1956 on 15th Street and remained in operation inside of the Santa Maria Motel until 2005.

For nearly five years, the restaurant remained closed after the demolition of the Santa Maria Motel. However, the Conner family returned to the restaurant scene last year when the Captain’s Table reopened inside a marvelous new state-of-the-art hotel.

The Conner family has owned and operated restaurants and hotels on the Boardwalk since George Conner opened Conner’s family restaurant on Division Street in 1886.

Now, well over 100 years later, his descendents still continue to uphold the tradition of family-owned and -operated businesses.  Lauren Conner Taylor and her brother Edmund Conner own and manage the property.  Taylor’s son, Brad Taylor, and her nephew, Rob Conner, are the executive chefs and dining room managers. Her daughter-in-law, Rebecca Taylor, also helps the family business by working with special events.

The family foundation on which the Captain’s Table is built sets the tone for the business, right down to the menu.

“We wouldn’t serve anything we wouldn’t eat,” said Taylor.

The children’s menu expands to child size portions of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, inspired by the children in the Conner family.

The restaurant serves its popular breakfast until 1 in the afternoon (the Conner’s like to enjoy a leisurely breakfast). Breakfast options range from omelets and fresh fruit to fish and eggs. “Nobody ever leaves here hungry,” laughs Taylor.

While the Captain’s Table is often labeled as a restaurant for only full meals, Taylor emphasizes the bar, light fare menu and lunch menu as options for those not looking for a complete dinner. With options on the menu such as crab balls, smoked salmon and a French dip, it is clear that quality is not sacrificed, no matter what the dish.

The restaurant also offers a daily happy hour from 3-7 p.m. The bar is an ideal spot for a relaxing drink, and even to enjoy a dessert or cheese plate, says Taylor.

Wines are priced to order and to be enjoyed with dinner. Dinner options are atypical of beach dining, including such entrees as Maple Leaf Half Roasted Duck and a Scampi Style N.Y. Strip. Despite the new setting, Taylor says, “the food is pretty much the same”. Fresh seafood, such as scallops and lobster, has always been the house specialty.

“Hospitality is about making people happy,” says Taylor. “[Our mission is] making them feel better when they leave than they felt when they came in”.

The atmosphere, as well as the quality of the food, speaks to the Conner family’s goal of hospitality.

The color combination of blue and green brighten up the sunny restaurant, but the dark wood accents are reminiscent of a ship galley and of the older restaurant. The original “captain’s table” that belonged to Captain Ludlam, still sits in a special area of the restaurant, which is ideal for family seating.

A designated banquet corner makes the restaurant accessible for larger parties. The walls feature designs by many local artists to give hotel and restaurant guests a taste of the regional culture while enjoying their vacation.