Great All American Diner Run

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Great roads, superb food, good times - do we need more?

Without any doubt our most popular column. The Great All American Diner Run, or GAADR, gives our readers some of the best places to ride for a great meal. Whether it be some hidden barbecue in the Adirondacks or a crab place in the Chesapeake, the GAADR gives the very best eateries, and like most things in Backroads, we'll supply a super way to get there as well with our own Rip & Ride® Route Sheets.

Waterman's Crab House

WatermanBikeFrontWe can almost hear it…

“Wait a second… are you guys telling me that this month’s stop along the Great All American Diner Run is back, once again, along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and, once again, you two are feasting on crabs done up with Old Bay seasoning and salt?”

Well, yes it is and yes we are.

Summertime will always find us making our way to The Bay (many times if we are lucky) and it is nearly impossible to cross this wonderful region without sitting down at a table covered with paper and attacking a dozen or so Jimmies!

This classic crab, the Blue Crab·(Callinectes sapidus), can be found in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay and in other regions along the Eastern Seaboard of the USA. Its range extends from Southern New England to Florida. We have even heard of folks crabbing in the Hudson River.

Now if only we can entice them to the upper Delaware.WatermanCrabHelmet

Back in the day, before Old Bay, crabs were seasoned a bit more simply with just vinegar, salt, and pepper. Old Bay was not offered for sale until 1939 when it was developed by a German immigrant, Gustav Brunn, who came to Maryland when he fled Germany.·This recipe for this iconic crab seasoning mix contains mustard, paprika, celery salt, bay leaf, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, mace, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. This is a classic "kitchen pepper" which includes both savory and sweet spices. If you have never had Old Bay – your life would be more fulfilled and tastier once you have.

This time down to The Bay we spent a night in Rock Hall and it is a short ride over to Waterman’s where we would grab a dockside table with a spectacular view to the west and the approaching sunset.

For more than four decades Waterman’s has been “the place” for both locals and visitors to flock and although they have a full menu, who doesn’t come for the crabs?! Seriously?

WatermanSaladSoupOkay, before we talk about Callinectes sapidus we will tell you what else can be found. On the appetizer menu you will find pulled pork nachos, fried calamari and oysters and steamed jumbo shrimp, buffalo wings and fried coconut shrimp. Their own Waterman’s nachos are smothered in crabmeat, shrimp and scallops with a creamy cheese sauce, pico-de-gallo and green onions – yummy and semi-healthy too.

They offer some tasty salads as well and even though we came for the crabs we did take a plate full of Waterman’s spinach

21055 W Sharp St., Rock Hall, MD 21661 • 410-639-2261


salad with bacon bits, egg, tomato, crumbled blue cheese with a warm bacon dressing (can’t have too much bacon!). This was outstanding and we swore we could eat this salad every day.

The rest of the salads – Caesar, Oriental, crab and their Chesapeake combo all looked delicious as well.

On the soup side of things Waterman’s offers both Maryland crab and cream of crab and both were awesome.

Burgers can be found and big ones too (just like the crabs) – ½ pounders – and, of course, they offer a crab burgers as well.

For you fans of Mexican there are Crabhouse tacos – Tex-Mex style, shrimp and Ahi tuna; and you can get that blackened too.

This is a seafood joint so their main entrees include crab cakes, stuffed shrimp, orange roughy and local rock fish and a New Orleans gumbo that almost made me jump ship on our order of a dozen large crabs. Almost.WatermanShiraCrabs

They also do a decent rack of ribs.

But…it was now crab time and a dozen big Jimmies were dropped in front of us. A dozen might not seem like a lot for two adults – but Waterman’s was serving up some monsters this day; and crabs are a bit of work. Know you will get a bit dirty, crab shells will fly - but it is all worth it in the end. About an hour later our official shell bucket – straight from Home Depot – was full, as were we.

Stuffed, victorious, and done we paid our bill and made our way out to the bike and immediately went for ice cream – what would you expect when riding with ice cream maven Shira?


Should you decide to spend a few days in Rock Hall (well worth it)


Black Duck Inn • 410-708-9222

Carriage House • 410-639-2855

Inn at Haven Harbour • 410-778-6697

Osprey Point • 410-639-2663