Market Street Inn likes its landmark status

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Maybe it’s the friendly mallards wandering around the deck that make Market Street Inn so appealing.

Or, the turtle employees dubbed Myrtle, who appears every spring by the floating dock.

Certainly, it’s Florence Harris, affectionately known as Miss Flo, the kitchen manager who chats with customers when she isn’t putting finishing touches on her signature  chicken and dumplings, crab cakes, bread pudding and crème brulee.

“She’s the soul of the back,” said Rob Mulford, who bought the restaurant in 2001 and recently instituted several changes.

“We’ve shortened up the dining room, taking 40 percent of the dining room out, and we expanded our pub to make it a lot bigger. It’s an open air pub now, a casual arm of the restaurant,” he said.

Formerly dark, loud and small, it was re-launched as expanded, with more light. “If you didn’t like it, before, you will like this,” he said, adding the dining room remains “a great place for  a nice casual, quiet dinner after 4 every afternoon.

Additional appetizers have been added to the menu, bringing the total to about 15. Among them are Asian duck, ahi tuna with ginger and wasabi, beach-cut French fries, fish tacos, jerk chicken, brie with fruit and lollipop lamb chops. Every day, there are two to five appetizer specials.

On Sundays, there’s a brunch-lunch combination.

“We like to keep it traditional. I believe if you go out to eat dinner it should be two hours or two hours and 15 fifteen minutes. It needs to be an experience. The ambience is very important at Market Street,” he said.

“Everything is clean and fresh. Service is important. I’m really trying to keep it old school and make everything from scratch,” he said.

Updates at Market Street are the first to be made since around 2009.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused about a quarter-million dollars in water damage, and it hit soon after Mulford  installed  new carpet and new wood trim, so renovations had to be done again.

“On top of that, it was a really down sales market … after Sandy we were so hurting for money that we didn’t have all the money we needed to buy as much inventory as we normally did or to buy top-of-the-line products that people had become accustomed to. That kind of hurt us, too. It was a really bad time.

“Also at that time, we were going up against new places that opened in town. We fought and worked a lot. We clawed. We hung on,” Mulford said.

With crab cakes on the menu, as well as, hamburgers, steaks, Eastern Shore pizza, seafood, vegetarian pasta and black bean burgers on the menu, Market Street has live entertainment five nights every week. Guests enjoy the view of the river if they sit on the deck,  koi  fish and those friendly waddling mallards.

“I like to think I’m the keeper of a very important landmark in Wicomico County. I think it’s a signature kind of place,” Mulford said.

“Market Street, I think, is back to where we need to be.”

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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