Fenwick Crab House Offers Good Food, Affordable Prices

Fenwick Crab House Offers Good Food, Affordable Prices

FENWICK ISLAND – Good quality. Fair portions. Affordable prices.

That’s what Owner Ted O’Donnell said patrons can expect to find at Fenwick Crab House.

Located at 100 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Crab House offers all-you-can-eat crabs and a full menu of Eastern Shore favorites daily.

“I try to be as fair as possible,” O’Donnell said, “and I want to be the affordable place to go.”

In 2016, O’Donnell joined forces with two other partners to operate Fenwick Crab House after the previous owners, Scott and Cathy Fornwalt, sold the business.

And after that first summer, the new owners began renovating the restaurant to include new bathrooms, flooring and décor and additional dining space.

“We took over the space that used to be Tidepool Toys and Games,” O’Donnell said. “They were kind enough to move down one space for us.”

And while business was good, O’Donnell said he was blindsided when his business partner – Patrick McArdle – passed away last February.

“I was the chef and he was the front-of-the-house guy and we had a financial backer that put up the money,” he said. “In the process of buying the investor out, Patrick was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and died six weeks later.”

Despite the setback, and the financial struggles that followed, O’Donnell said he is eager for his fourth summer of operation in Fenwick.

“This business is hard,” he said. “But it’s also fun and very rewarding.”

A chef by trade, O’Donnell said he is no stranger to the restaurant industry. After attending culinary school, he helped open roughly 18 restaurants in Bethesda.

FenwickCrabHousePic Submitted

“We give customers good food at a reasonable price,” said owner Ted O’Donnell. Submitted Photo

“I tried to learn as much as I could from as many people as possible,” he said.

After having children of his own, O’Donnell traded in the long hours to operate his wife’s cleaning business. But after 20 years, he returned to the hospitality sector.

“There is a very nice social aspect to operating restaurants that you don’t get with owning a cleaning business,” he said. “I get to meet a lot of people and create friendships.”

Fenwick Crab House has been an iconic resort establishment for locals and visitors alike since 1962.

In addition to all-you-can-eat steamed crabs and nationally acclaimed crab cakes, menu items include snow crab legs, fried chicken, a crab cobb salad tossed with shrimp, bacon, crabmeat and avocados and fried oyster tacos with wasabi mayo, to name a few.

“Our menu is huge and features a variety of things,” O’Donnell said. “I try to find the best products and I make everything in-house, including my own dressings.”

Accompanying the menu is a wide selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails, all served by O’Donnell’s wife, Dani.

“She took on the front of the house and has done a really good job, along with all the servers,” he said. “She is supportive, and I take it for granted sometimes.”

The restaurant also ships its award-winning crab cakes – fresh, not frozen – nationwide. Over the years, Fenwick Crab House has received several accolades for its crab cakes, including “Best Crab Cake in Delaware” by The News Journal, “The Perfect Crab Cake” by The New York Times and “Best Dish Award” by the Taste of Coastal Delaware Festival.

Fenwick Crab House is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily throughout the summer.

For more information, visit www.fenwickcrabhouse.com or the Fenwick Crab House Facebook page.

“It’s not rocket science,” O’Donnell said. “We give customers good food at a reasonable price.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.