You won't crab about service

Collins: Seafood and a friendly atmosphere are house specialties at this establishment in Woodbine.

Restaurant profile

January 18, 2001|By Jody Vilschick | Jody Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Eating at Collins Inn Crab House is like visiting the home of friends and getting to play with their really cool stuff, such as pool tables, a jukebox and video games.

Restaurant owner Dennis Collins believes in keeping a homey atmosphere, and in being part of the local community. He routinely donates dinner gift certificates to local schools to be used as prizes and raffles.

Collins, who has owned the restaurant since 1996, is rooting for the Ravens in the Super Bowl and has draped pool tables in the bar area in purple and black. The restaurant and bar are gearing up for a busy Super Bowl Sunday on Jan. 28, and will be setting out food in the bar area for patrons settling down in front of a big-screen television.

What happens after football season? NASCAR racing is a Collins favorite.

"Between February and November, if there's NASCAR racing, it'll be on [the big-screen TV]," the owner says.

Just as you might expect if you were visiting friends, you will receive friendly, personal service at the inn. On a recent Sunday, a diner wanting to know the score of a Ravens game had his question answered by the owner.

For appetizers, look for down-home favorites such as apple fritters and corn fritters. Fresh crab balls, jalapeno poppers and shrimp jammers are also on the menu.

House specials range from lobster tail (fresh "cooked just right," or stuffed with imperial crab meat) to liver and onions with gravy.

As the restaurant's name implies, crab - in the form of crab cakes, baked imperial crab and soft-shell crabs - is prominent on the menu and is the house specialty.

In addition to the crab and lobster, offerings include baked stuffed shrimp, fried catfish and flounder served two ways. "Baskets" of shrimp, oysters and clams are available as well.

"One of our customers' favorites is the fried shrimp," Collins says.

Try the seafood combo if you like a little of everything, suggests Collins. But, he warns, "You've got to be on empty before you sit down to it." It comes loaded with fish filet, soft-shell crab, crab cakes, fried shrimp, oysters, clams and hush puppies. "Most customers end up taking some home," he says.

For landlubbers, selections include grilled ham steak, fried chicken, hamburger steak smothered in gravy and porterhouse and Delmonico steaks.

Sandwiches also are available - such as crab cake, grilled chicken breast, and cold or hot roast beef. You can choose from a variety of hamburgers and subs, too.

Although it will be like eating in a friend's kitchen, you're not obligated to help with the dishes.

Collins Inn Crab House

Where: 401 Woodbine Road, Woodbine; 410-489-4941.

Prices: Appetizers: $3.50 to $6.95; entrees: $6.95 to $28.95.

Hours: 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; noon to 2 a.m. Sunday.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover.

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