Chase Away Winter Chills With Hot Crab Soup

When chunks of ice hug the Bay’s shoreline, and Eastern Shore cornfields look like frozen arctic tundra, and northern winds whisk off your favorite hat, you know that you’re knee-deep in Chesapeake winter. It’s time to zip up your puffy parka and hibernate in cozy places that serve steaming hot crab soup — the time-honored cure for frigid Bay temperatures.

Maryland vegetable crab soup purists like to swirl locally grown carrots, corn, potatoes and celery around a cauldron of tangy tomato broth, saving a tender claw for the last bite. Others choose a bubbling bowl of creamy crab goodness with a hint of sherry to take away the sting of winter. A dusting of Old Bay along with a glass of hearty stout and a thick slice of crusty bread, and you’ll be ready to hunker down and face whatever Old Man Winter sends your way.

To help you escape the cold in warm sanctuaries along the Bay, Crab Decks & Tiki Bars presents a dozen Maryland restaurants that offer comforting crab soup, crackling fireplaces and cozy atmosphere:

1) MIDDLETON TAVERN (Annapolis, middletontavern.com)

2) DEEP CREEK RESTAURANT (Arnold, deepcreekrestaurant.com)

3) SKIPPER’S PIER RESTAURANT (Deale, skipperspier.com)

4) KOOPER’S TAVERN (Baltimore, kooperstavern.com)

5) PHILLIPS SEAFOOD (Baltimore, phillipsseafood.com)

6) ISLAND VIEW WATERFRONT CAFÉ (Essex, islandviewwaterfrontcafe.com)

7) KENTMORR RESTAURANT & CRAB HOUSE (Stevensville, kentmorr.com)

8) HARRIS CRAB HOUSE (Grasonville, harriscrabhouse.com)

9) ST. MICHAELS CRAB & STEAK HOUSE (St. Michaels, stmichaelscrabhouse.com)

10) SUICIDE BRIDGE RESTAURANT (Hurlock, suicide-bridge-restaurant.com)

11) ROBERT MORRIS INN (Oxford, robertmorrisinn.com)

12) MACGREGOR’S RESTAURANT (Havre de Grace, macgregorsrestaurant.com)

13) BARBARA’S ON THE BAY (Betterton, barbarasonthebay.com)

Susan Elnicki Wade

Susan Elnicki Wade

grew up in Oil City, a small town in western Pennsylvania. She worked in restaurants in Pittsburgh, New York and Washington, D.C. Picking crabs doesn't come easy to her, and she leans more toward tiki. But after visiting every Maryland county along the Bay for almost two decades, she can whip up a mean batch of fried oysters and bake a respectable Smith Island Cake. Her recipes for crab pierogies and rum punch are absolutely legendary.