OCM Crabs on 71st Street, a work of brothers

OCM Crabs on 71st Street, a work of brothers

(Aug. 1, 2014) A former Baltimore restaurateur opened OCM Crabs on 63rd Street six years ago, pioneering its “topless” crabs that took the guesswork out of getting to the grub.

Four generations of Diehls, from left, Mike and his children Madilynn and Mason, Tim, John and Dave stand outside OCM Crabs’ newest location on 71st Street. (Clara Vaughn | Ocean City Today)

Restaurant owner Dave Diehl’s sons Mike, Tim and Greg grew up in the family crab house, hanging out and helping after hours since their pre-teen years. But the Diehls outgrew their 63rd Street restaurant, leading the brothers to open a second OCM Crabs spot on 71st Street this summer.

With a larger dining area and menu, business has been good, they said.

“We wanted to get more involved,” Mike said. “We all came together and decided to open up here.”

At the suggestion of the city council, the Diehls set to work renovating their new 71st Street storefront in the former Bagels n’ Buns shop. Refinishing floors and modernizing the kitchen was no big task for the boys with experience in construction, though.

“We’ve been contractors doing construction for most of our lives, so doing something like this seemed normal,” Tim said.

The Diehls looked to other local businesses such as On the Bay Seafood on 42nd Street for advice before opening for the 2014 summer season. They also researched other crab houses online for inspiration for the casual, nautical-themed décor.

The menu at the new restaurant includes favorites such as soft shell crab sandwiches, fried oysters and shrimp, cream of crab soup and snow crab legs. Visitors can take home crabs by the bushel or enjoy all-you-can-eat crabs for $25.

There is beer and wine for sale, including craft brews by local OC Brewing Company.

So far, business “has been better than we expected,” Mike said.

“It’s just grown and grown and grown,” added Tim, thanks in part to the brothers’ attitude toward their customers.

“We try to make it as personal an experience as possible. We like to talk to our customers and get to know them,” Mike said.

“A lot of people like how personable we are,” Tim said. “If somebody comes in when we’re walking out the door, we’ve been known to come back in and fire up the grill.”

“We get a lot of repeats,” he said.

Get to know the Diehl brothers and enjoy fresh seafood in-house or to-go at OCM Crabs on 71st Street, open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.  Call the restaurant at 410-520-0457.

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