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Food Specialties in La Plata, MD

Gilligan's Pier Seafood and Steakhouse in La Plata, MD.
Gilligan's Pier Seafood and Steakhouse in La Plata, MD.

Foodies around the country rejoice when blue crabs are available. But in Charles County, they’re plentiful from April through October.

The blue crab is rightly known for its sweet, juicy meat, and the waters around La Plata are full of them. Usually served steamed, they’re dipped in everything from butter to vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. Locals often spend a day crabbing on the waterfront, then haul home supper. Some others also choose to have their work done for them, at least the collecting and cooking part.

Other local treats include rockfish, shrimp and scallops. Best of all, what’s on the menu at lunch or dinner was probably swimming around that morning. In other words, "catch of the day" really means something in Charles County.

Crab Restaurants

Whatever your pleasure, you can’t go wrong with a crab house. There are many to choose from, but local favorites include Newburg’s Gilligan’s Pier Seafood & Steakhouse, which not only has fresh seafood and steaks but also has a 1.5-acre beach out back as well as a private dock just past Goosebay Marina; Captain Billy’s Crab House, also in Newburg, which has been serving up terrific seafood for more than 60 years; Port Tobacco Restaurant, which offers fresh seafood as well as boat-slip rental and marina service on the Potomac; and Captain John’s Crab House, another Newburg favorite that’s been satisfying locals and visitors like for 49 years.

Stuffed Ham

If seafood isn’t your first choice, Southern Maryland has a unique specialty waiting for your taste buds. It’s stuffed ham, a dish that graces many tables for holidays and other special occasions with a recipe often handed down through generations.

Here’s how it works: A corned ham is soaked or injected with brine, removed from its bone and stuffed with a mix of cabbage, kale and spices. The exact spices, as well as the ratio of other ingredients, are a closely guarded secret with most cooks. There are plenty of recipes around if you want to try to your own, but a faster and easier way is to seek out a local expert, such as Nick’s of Clinton, a deli and market in Waldorf, which has them all cooked up and ready to go.

Read more on the signature blue crabs in La Plata, MD.

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