The story of Phillips Seafood is an intriguing 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 seafood packing plant, which sourced wild crabs, fish and oysters in season. In those early days, the fresh seafood travelled by steamship to Baltimore, where it was bound for local restaurants and fishmongers.
Faced with surplus crabs one season, Brice and Shirley decided to open a simple “crab shack” in the small resort town of Ocean City, Maryland with a $2000 loan from their families. 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 expanded into new locations and markets.
From the very beginning, the Phillips family has focused on bringing the culinary traditions and welcoming hospitality of the Eastern Shore to their guests. 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.