In the restaurant business, certain ingredients must be blended to achieve success, and Bill Connell is convinced the most important is consistent quality.
That’s what customers will find at 1 Fish, 2 Fish Crabs & Seafood, the carry out and seafood market on Eastern Shore Drive, he said.
It’s owned by his son, John Connell, and John’s buddy since grade school, Casey Thompson. John’s girlfriend Becky works there, as does Thompson’s wife Ann, Bill Connell and his wife Linda and Carolyn Spiker.
John and Casey attended Stephen Decatur High School together, and graduated from Salisbury University, where both studied business.
“They have been involved in all aspects of the restaurant business from busboys and prep cooks to head cooks and managers, starting at the Mug and Mallet on the Ocean City Boardwalk,” Bill Connell said. He’s a retired math teacher who has also owned several businesses for more than 30 years, and managed Bahama Mama’s.
“Here are 1 Fish, 2 Fish, we have premium, hand-breaded seafood,” he said, as he sat on a bright green chair in the festive, nautical restaurant. His wife Linda, who works at Showell Elementary School near Berlin, hung a decorative net and ornamental fish against a yellow wall, complete with little stones to represent bubbles.
Inside, there are two tables and picnic tables outside, with plans for more, plus a gazebo.
When a customer buys medium-large steamed crabs at 1 Fish, 2 Fish, he gets a heavy steamed crab, not a hollow shell, Connell said, adding, “We give full quantity on a half bushel of crabs and our prices are always competitive.”
“A lot of stuff we make ourselves. We have cucumber salad that’s a family recipe. Cucumbers and onions with a white dressing, not in vinegar and oil. We hand-bread all our shrimp. Nothing is frozen. We make our own potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw,” he said.
“Our fries are all hand cut. They are so good — and I’m a French fry lover,” he said, smiling.
Also on the menu are steamed crabs and shrimp, crab cakes, beer-battered fish and chips and beer-battered cod.
Among appetizers are crab balls and coconut shrimp. Sandwiches include pork barbecue, chicken breast, hand-breaded oyster sandwich, shrimp salad and salmon cake.
There are platters of chicken tenders, clam strips, shrimp, oysters and scallops and boats of breaded shrimp, sea trout and wing dings.
Customers will also find uncooked seafood including shrimp, blue crabs, snow crab legs, soft crabs, scallops, oysters and crab meat.
“Our crab cakes are exceptional. We use all domestic crab meat. Right now it’s coming from Virginia and North Carolina and some from the gulf. In Maryland, crabs are coming up strong right now,” Connell said.
“People like to come here because of the friendly service. We want to make them happy and see that they get top quality food and the best value for their money,” he said.
“People are finding out who we are,” Connell said, as he greeted a guest and cheerfully related stories about his business successes and customers’ compliments.
Reach Susan Canfora at firstname.lastname@example.org.