Best Crab House: Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn

200 Eastern Blvd., Essex (410) 687-5994,

Crabs, given the price, are usually a special occasion thing, so it tends to be all about the anticipation.  A trip to Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn adds to the build-up. A half hour from downtown, in Essex, you’ll find the nondescript, windowless brick building, which really gives the whole adventure an “over the river and through the woods” vibe. But what Mr. Bill’s lacks in picturesque waterfront views it makes up for in crabs (and really, most places with water views you pay for in spades). Coated with a coarse and spicy seasoning, the sweet crabs are plopped down onto the table steaming hot with, if you’re smart, an ice filled bucket of cold ones (keep ‘em coming). On our last visit we noted Bill himself sitting at his chair overlooking the whole operation like a proud papa.

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