Phillips Crab House began in 1956 when Brice and Shirley Phillips opened a small carryout shop near 20th Street and Philadelphia A venue. The Dorchester County natives thought it was a way to sell surplus crabs from the family processing plant on Hoopers Island. By 1960 it had turned into one of Ocean City’s most popular restaurants with customers lined up around the block.
For many years Brice and Shirley lived above the restaurant with their sons Steve and Jeffrey. In the summer, several rooms in their living quarters would be turned into dining areas to accommodate the growing crowds.
In the 1980’s the Phillips expanded to the Baltimore Inner Harbor and BWI Airport and opened their popular Phillips-by-the-Sea at the Beach Plaza Hotel on the Boardwalk. For many summer visitors, a trip to Ocean City was not complete without a visit to Phillips Crab House or Phillips-by-the-Sea.
Brice Phillips passed away in 2011 and Shirley in 2017. Two of Ocean City’s most loved and respected residents, they will long be remembered and missed.
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Photo courtesy Paul McKinley