(Feb. 15, 2013) The dining public had until Feb. 5, to nominate a favorite restaurant, bar, tavern, chef, wine, beverage, craft brew program and food truck for the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s annual awards.
The votes have been tabulated and on Tuesday, the association revealed that six Ocean City businesses are finalists in several categories.
“I was thrilled when I found out the list of nominees. We are very fortunate to have so many award-winning restaurants and business leaders in our town,” said Susan L. Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association.
Voting will begin Monday, Feb. 18, and end March 8. To cast a vote, visit www.marylandrestaurants.com.
The winners will be announced during the 59th annual Restaurant Association of Maryland’s awards gala, spon-
sored by McCormick and Company, on April 15, at Martin’s West in Baltimore.
Here are the Ocean City finalists:
n Favorite Restaurant: Captain’s Table
Captain’s Table Restaurant is located on the third floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on 15th Street, between the Boardwalk and Baltimore Avenue.
In 1956, Willye Conner Ludlam, the grandmother of Lauren Conner Taylor and her brother, Edmund Conner, opened the Santa Maria Hotel and on the first floor was the Captain’s Table Restaurant. The 15th Street hotel and restaurant were family run until both closed in the fall of 2004.
The original project included the restaurant and condominium complex. When home and condo sales began to drop, the course changed. The new project included the Captain’s Table and hotel. After being closed for nearly five years, the family owned and operated restaurant opened in the hotel in July 2009.
Taylor said she is “thrilled” Captain’s Table is one of five finalists for “Favorite Restaurant.”
“It’s nice to know our efforts to produce high quality food has been recognized and that people appreciate what we do,” she said. “It’s a huge honor because it’s statewide and just that we were nominated is tremendous.”
Taylor said customers enjoy the restaurant because it has a relaxed atmosphere and families feel comfortable there. There are also many choices for diners on the menu.
n Favorite Bar & Tavern: Dead Freddies Island Grill and Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill
Macky’s Bayside will celebrate its 20th season in business on 54th Street when it reopens in late April.
Macky Stansell, who owns the restaurant on the bay with his wife, Pam, said “It’s always nice to be honored by customers and your peers.”
“Just to be chosen is an honor and speaks volumes for what our staff has done,” he said. “The location is good and the staff is the best in town. Food is also a big part of the experience, but service is very important.”
The Stansells take pride in the fact that the restaurant offers top-notch customer service.
The view is also a big reason people come to Macky’s, which sits on the bay. Patrons can enjoy lunch or dinner on the beach, in the dining room or bar area.
“The atmosphere is what it’s all about. It’s a wonderful place to be,” Stansell said.
Dead Freddies opened on 64th Street in May 2010. Managing partner Jay Bosley was pleasantly surprised by Dead Freddies making the finalist list.
“It’s a big honor for us to be recognized because we’re new to Ocean City. We appreciate being accepted by the community,” he said. “We have something for children of all ages. It’s not just about the bar scene, we have a playground for the kids and a great kid’s menu.”
Bosley said adults can come one day with their children and the next night enjoy music, cocktails and take in the sunset on the deck without the little ones.
As far as being nominated in the “Bar & Tavern” category, Bosley said customers like the variety of specialty drinks and other fun items offered.
n Chef of the Year: Travis Wright
Wright and his wife, Jody, opened The Shark Restaurant on 46th Street in Ocean City in May 2000. In February 2008, the eatery was relocated to Sunset Avenue in West Ocean City and named Shark of the Harbor.
In 2010, Wright was a finalist in the “Restaurateur of the Year” category.
Wright was also surprised to be named one of five finalists in the “Chef of the Year” category for the 2013 awards.
“We’re such a collaborative establishment that individual accolades, while nice, are really not usually on our radar,” he said. “I’ve worked in restaurants since I was in college. Becoming a chef was sort of a progression for me. I’ve always worked in and loved this industry and always appreciated fine food and restaurants. I guess you could say I became a chef because I like to eat well.”
Wright and his kitchen staff prepare food from scratch and he said they work hard to source locally and use organic and all-natural ingredients whenever possible.
“We take pride in serving the freshest seafood sourced largely from the boats docked right outside our back door,” he said. “I hope people can feel how much we care about serving our area the best we can and how lucky I feel everyday to be able to do what we do.”
n Restaurateur of the Year: Shawn Harman, Fish Tales; Wayne Odachowski, de Lazy Lizard
De Lazy Lizard, located on the bay at First Street, was the winner in the “Favorite New Restaurant” (open two years or less) category, last year. The Ocean City downtown hotspot opened June 28, 2010.
Odachowski considers his nomination for “Restaurateur of the Year” to be an honor.
“Owning and running a successful restaurant business is truly a team effort. I couldn’t have been nominated if it weren’t for the extraordinary effort of my business partner, Todd Hays, our loyal management team and our dedicated staff,” he said. “There have been great restaurant owners and managers that have been nominated and won this award in the past. This year is no exception. I am in great company with the other nominees.”
Odachowski said de Lazy Lizard’s loyal patrons enjoy the open, beach-feel venue and the child-friendly restaurant appeals to parents. Youngsters have the own play area and a menu specifically for them.
Fish Tales is a family-owned and operated restaurant on the bay at 22nd Street. In 2011, Fish Tales took home the top award in the “Favorite Bar & Tavern” category. The bayside hotspot will celebrate 18 years in business this summer.
Harman said there is something for all age groups at Fish Tales, which has a casual, laid back atmosphere. Customers can dine at tables in the sand or in the bar areas. There is also a playground for children.
To be a finalist for “Restaurateur of the Year,” Harman said, is “incredibly humbling.”
“The restaurant is my life. I end up getting the credit, but it’s not because of me the restaurant is successful, it’s the staff and my wife (Donna),” he said.
Restaurant Association of Maryland members, not the dining public, will choose the recipient of this award.