Harborside Named Favorite Maryland Bar At Awards Gala

WEST OCEAN CITY — The Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) on Sunday doled out its annual Stars of the Industry Awards, representing the best in hospitality around the state and again the local area was represented on the winners list.

RAM on Sunday hosted its 63rd Annual Stars of the Restaurant Industry Awards with a gala at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel during which it announced the award winners in several categories. For the last several years, Ocean City and Worcester County have been well represented on the list in several categories and have brought home more than their fair share of awards, recognizing the area hospitality community’s growing evolution as a major culinary destination in Maryland.

This year was no different as Harborside Bar and Grill in West Ocean City was honored with the Favorite Bar or Tavern Award. According to a RAM release, Harborside is “the watering hole you frequent where the drinks are great and the bartenders are beyond compare.”

Owned by Chris Wall and Lloyd Whitehead, Harborside is the home of the original Orange Crush and its slogan is “often imitated, never duplicated.”

Joining Harborside on the list of nominees for Favorite Bar or Tavern this year were Dock Street Bar and Grill in Annapolis, Fish Head Cantina in Halethorpe, Nottingham’s in Columbia and The Point in Fells in Baltimore. Harborside had been nominated in the past for the award and broke through this year in a field of worthy candidates.

Reached on Sunday after the awards were announced, Wall was quick to credit his staff for gaining Harborside the prestigious honor.

“We are very fortunate to have the staff that we have,” he said. “They take care of all of our customers. Lloyd and I just try to take care of those that take care of us. We’re very fortunate. Our staff is everything to us at this point. They deserve the credit and I hope our customers realize that and take care of them.”

Many of the RAM awards are determined through on-line voting by email or social media in the weeks leading up to the annual gala, while others are voted on by industry professionals. According to RAM, over 20,000 people voted for their favorite hospitality establishments across the state.

“The gala is our opportunity to honor and give recognition to elite restaurants across the state,” said RAM President and CEO Marshall Weston. “We are fortunate to have such a diverse group of restaurants to choose from who are dedicated to their customers, their community and their employees.”

Harborside was one of handful of restaurants from the resort area nominated for various awards this year. Sello’s in West Ocean City was nominated in the Maryland’s Favorite New Restaurant category, while Jules in north Ocean City was nominated in the Wine and Beverage Program of the Year category.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.