Down-home fare, efficient service at Holly's



September 15, 2004|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For our family, a trip to the beach is not complete without a stop at Holly's Restaurant, a few miles east of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The family-owned restaurant has been serving reliable down-home cooking and top-shelf milkshakes for many years - with vacationing Baltimoreans and Washingtonians dining comfortably amid the locals.

Holly's has a tile floor and wooden booths; decorations include old hunting decoys, antique guns and several photographs and drawings of Eastern Shore locations. The local Lions Club has a couple of mint dispensers on the counter.

Recently, we broke tradition and stopped at Holly's on the way home. With a new puppy in tow, we decided to carry out our meal. Service was friendly and efficient, and we took dinner to a nearby park overlooking Kent Narrows, where boats were returning for the evening, and a lone fisherman was casting for catfish as the sun set.

Holly's food will not set any records for originality, but it is consistent and filling.

The restaurant calls its vegetable crab soup "the best on the Eastern Shore" and we would not argue. We had a bowl ($3.75) although you also can buy pints and quarts. The soup was loaded with veggies and shredded crab and laced with a strong peppery flavor that we loved.

The crab-cake sandwich ($11.95) came with fries and was a solid, albeit overpriced, offering heavy on the Old Bay. The Big Burger ($6.95) featured an enormous piece of beef flavored with onions and grilled nicely. Macaroni and cheese that came with it, from a long list of side orders, was comforting in a high-calorie kind of way.

Three pieces of fried chicken ($8.50) produced a thumbs-up from one of the boys, while a flounder sandwich ($8.25) was deep-fried and perfectly OK. The slaw that came with it, though, was an odd green color and too sweet for our taste. Then there were the milkshakes ($3.25) - thick and loaded with ice cream and absolutely delicious. Even if you're not up for a meal, a stop at Holly's for a shake would be well worth it.

Holly's also offers a bunch of desserts. We tried the chocolate French silk pie ($3.25), which featured a chocolate pudding perfectly coiffed with whipped cream. It's hard to complain about something like that.

Holly's Restaurant

Food: ***

Service: *** 1/2

Waiting area: ***

Parking: ** 1/2

Where: 108 Jackson Creek Road at U.S. 50, Grasonville

Phone: 410-827-8711

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Prices: Sandwiches, seafood, chicken, burgers, salads and soups, from $2.50 to $21.95; credit cards accepted

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