The U.S. state of Maryland is known for its abundant seafood with the Chesapeake Bay splitting the eastern half of the state in two, and some of the best seafood restaurants in the world can be found in this state. Among these great restaurants is Fisherman’s Inn. Located on the water, Fisherman’s Inn is a great place for seafood lovers, and it has been that place since 1930. For beach goers, it has been a big stop while going to and from the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Chincoteague, Virginia. The Fisherman’s Inn is a great place where you can get a great meal.
Some of you are saying, “This is great. I love seafood, and I love great restaurants. However, there is a big problem. This is a restaurant. It is not just a restaurant. It is a seafood restaurant. It is a great restaurant, but this place has nothing to do with the railroad. Therefore, I will not be having a meal at this place.”
So, what is special about the Fisherman’s Inn? It opened in 1930 in a small shack in the marsh of Kent Narrows by a man was named Captain Alex Thomas and his wife Mae. It started with a restaurant with thirty seats. There was also a small grocery store. They lived upstairs with their two children, and, on occasion, rented the bedrooms to visiting anglers. As the rooms were rented, they slept on the front porch swing. In 1939, they built a second floor with more guest rooms. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened in 1952. This brought more visitors to the Eastern Shore. The restaurant was expanded again when they added a screened porch with more seats for people to sit and eat. It was later taken over by his daughter, Betty, and his son-in-law Oscar ‘Sonny’ Schulz who, in 1971, built a larger restaurant, and, three years later, bought the adjourning property where they opened the Fisherman’s Seafood Market. After a fire that destroyed the restaurant just before Christmas in 1980, the restaurant was rebuilt and reopened months later in July of 1981. The Fisherman’s Crab Deck opened in 1991.
What is special about his son-in-law Oscar ‘Sonny’ Schulz? Yes, he made Fisherman’s Inn the great place it is today, but there is another special thing about him.
As you enter the restaurant, the hostess takes you to your table. You sit, and the waiter or waitress comes, introduces themself, and take your order. Your food comes, and you eat. You have conversation. You drink. You see the décor, but you see something rolling around the ceiling. What is it? It is a ‘G’ scale model train rolling around. What is special about this model train? It was originally installed by Sonny Schulz in December of 1994. It runs on 280 feet (85.34 meters) of track through two tunnels on a supported track that is bolted to the ceiling. If you are afraid it might collapse, the supports are strong enough to hold a full-sized automobile. It runs every day when the restaurant is open. To answer your question, it does have a bell and a whistle that make sounds as it goes by.
Today, the Fisherman’s Inn is a landmark on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It remains in family hands with Andy, Jody, and Tracy, the sons of Oscar and Betty Schulz, and they continue to serve great, delicious food with great, friendly service just as they always have done since the day the restaurant opened, and, today, you can wave at the train as it passes by your table. Along with the restaurant, the Fisherman’s Inn also has the Nauti Mermaid Bar, a small garden behind the restaurant that has a small pond with Koi, and a Fresh Seafood Market. The Crab Deck Restaurant, which is behind the Seafood Market, sits on the site of a former seafood processing plant that was family owned. It is open from during the warmer months, April to October, where hammering those crabs is what many enjoy.
Fisherman’s Inn is located at 3116 Main Street (Maryland Route 18) in Grasonville, Maryland. It is just off U.S. Routes 50 and 301. It is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm (9:30pm Friday and Saturday). There is parking on site, and the restaurant is wheelchair accessible.
The next time you are thinking about seafood while driving along the Eastern Shore Region of Maryland, make a stop at Fisherman’s Inn. It is a place where you will enjoy a great meal with great service while watching a train roll right over your table. Sadly, the train is not accepting passengers.