The 150-seat True Chesapeake Oyster Company has opened at 3300 Clipper Mill Road in the renovated Whitehall Mill. At 4500 square feet, the restaurant encompasses two dining rooms with wraparound bars made of oyster shell, an elevated shucking station in weathered copper, an outdoor bar with patio seating, open kitchen, and wine cellar. Opening hours will be Tuesday through Sunday, 4:30pm-11pm. Free parking is available. Reservations available on Open Table or visit truechesapeake.com. Follow @TrueChesapeake on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
True Chesapeake Oyster Company becomes the first Maryland oyster farm to open a restaurant, featuring oysters raised on the farm in St. Jerome’s Creek, Southern Maryland. Chef and partner Zack Mills’ menu will revolve around oysters — raw, roasted, and in signature dishes like Classic Rockefeller and Semolina Fried Oysters — complemented by seasonal entrees ranging from Yellow Perch with Caramelized Peaches to Grilled Pork Loin with Ramp Spaghetti.
General manager and beverage director Chelsea Gregoire offers departures on classic cocktails, and original oyster shooters, along with an extensive wine and bubbles selection. True Chesapeake Oyster Company is the natural evolution of longstanding friendship and teamwork between Patrick Hudson (the farmer), Nick Schauman (the shucker, and founder of The Local Oyster), and Zack Mills (the chef).
Mills was one of the first chefs to feature Hudson’s oysters on a menu. The young team aspires to extend the restorative practices at the farm to the spirit of the new restaurant, defining “restorative dining” as a dining experience featuring the farm’s bounty and sincerely crafted to restore body and soul.
“When we talk about ‘restorative dining’, we’re showcasing the positive environmental impact of our farm, but we’re also talking about respecting the traditions of the Chesapeake and being proud of our roots,” says Patrick Hudson. “Our goal is to offer an authentic and memorable experience to our friends, families, neighborhood and region.”
Adds Chef Mills, “And, we think we can do that by cooking with love and respect for Chesapeake cuisine, adding a little something special when appropriate.”
Interior Designer Kate Giese, in collaboration with Alexander Design Studio, restored a corner of the former sailcloth factory, reclaiming 16” square beams to form the oyster bar, and commissioning custom lighting installations that call to mind the frosted glow of raw pearl. Artwork from award-winning Chesapeake Bay photographer Jay Fleming hang from the walls. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the wraparound bar made of True Chesapeake oyster shells, crushed and suspended in a solid surface; on top of the bar is an elevated serving trough made of stainless steel and copper that showcases the fresh oysters, clams, steamed shrimp, and more. Lounge seating wraps around the base of the historic smokestack, visible from I-83. The formal dining room with its open kitchen soars with 30-foot vaulted ceilings. Partners Steve Howard, Tom Mills, Pat Hudson, Sr., and Andy Brooks round out the all-Maryland team behind the farm, restaurant, and Local Oyster locations.
ABOUT TRUE CHESAPEAKE OYSTER CO. Though the farm was established in 2010, the waters of St. Jerome Creek in Southern Maryland have been legendary since the 1800s (“Oysters of excellent quality abound.’ ; 1878 Maryland Directory). True Chesapeake’s Skinny Dippers and Huckleberry oysters are noted for their soft-salt flavor, crisp iceberg finish, and plump buttery meat. By growing its own oysters, True Chesapeake not only provides a premium sustainable oyster, but also supports the ecosystem of marine life. Ethan Davis, a 26-year-old native of St Mary’s County and third generation waterman, runs the farm operations. True Chesapeake Oyster Co ships nationwide and direct to consumer via its website: truechesapeake.com.
Read more about True Chesapeake Oyster Co. in our interview with Patrick Hudson, here.
Baltimore Fishbowl wil host its first event at True Chesapeake Oyster Co., on Sunday October 27 from 4 – 6 p.m. to celebrate the winners of our award series Baltimost. Join us! Click here for tickets.
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