Our Heritage

The story of Phillips dates back to 1914 as a family-owned company on a small island in the Chesapeake Bay called Hoopers Island.  With our expansive growth over the past 100 years, we’ve held firm to our guiding commitment to quality and Eastern Shore hospitality.

The Beginning Days of Phillips

The story of Phillips Seafood is an American tale of humble beginnings, hard work and the courage to take risks to achieve one’s vision. Brice and Shirley Phillips grew up on Hoopers Island, a small community off Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay where most residents worked on the water. In their early married life, they managed Brice’s father’s “A.E. Phillips & Son” seafood plant, which sourced wild crabs, fish and oysters in season since 1914.


Expansion into Restaurants

Faced with surplus crabs one season, Brice and Shirley decided to open a simple “crab shack” in Ocean City, Maryland. What began as a one-room carryout in 1956 grew dining room by dining room over the years until it finally seated 1400 guests. Business grew quickly from there, as the family, under the direction of Brice and Shirley’s son Steve Phillips, expanded into new locations and markets. Today, the family operates several high-volume restaurant locations in the Eastern United States, as well as a growing network of franchises in major airports and entertainment venues around the country.

Overseas Exploration & Growth

When you are faced with the depleted supply of the primary seafood on your menus, what do you do? For Steve Phillips, he took matters into his own hands. He heard there was a similar crab to the native Chesapeake Bay blue crab in Asia, so he took a few Maryland watermen overseas to do a survey and the rest is history. In 1990, Phillips began opening crab processing facilities around the world to meet the demand for crab meat that the domestic market couldn’t fill. Phillips now has a year-round supply of quality crab meat and produces an extensive line of crab cakes, seafood soups, appetizers and entrees for grocery stores nationwide, as well as thousands of independent restaurants and national chains.

Innovation & Commitment to a Sustainable Future

From the very beginning, the Phillips family has focused on sharing the culinary traditions of the Eastern Shore. They know there is no replicating authenticity. That’s why many of their recipes are generations old, passed to their chefs straight from the kitchen of Shirley Phillips. Phillips also keeps an eye constantly on the future, anticipating industry trends and demanding innovation from the research and development team.

Today, Steve is leading the way in crab and seafood sustainability, establishing fishery improvement programs and working with the NFI Crab Council and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to encourage the responsible management of resources across all regions.