Is Phillips Crab House in Ocean City closed?

Phillips Crab House is a popular seafood restaurant located in Ocean City, Maryland. It has been a local staple for fresh Maryland blue crab and other seafood dishes since 1956. However, there has been some speculation about whether Phillips Crab House has closed its doors permanently.

Quick Answer

No, Phillips Crab House in Ocean City, Maryland is not closed. The restaurant remains open and operational as of November 2022. While there were temporary closures and adjustments made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phillips has resumed normal business hours and continues serving customers craving Maryland crab and seafood specialties.

Has Phillips Crab House Ever Temporarily Closed?

Yes, like many restaurants, Phillips Crab House was forced to temporarily close or limit services due to government restrictions and health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a brief timeline of COVID-19 related closures for Phillips Crab House:

  • March 2020 – Closed temporarily for dine-in per state order, but remained open for carryout
  • December 2020 – Closed temporarily again due to state order
  • February 2021 – Reopened for dine-in at 50% capacity
  • July 2021 – Returned to 100% capacity dining

Throughout the changes and uncertainty of operating during a pandemic, Phillips Crab House worked to comply with health mandates while still serving customers through means like carryout. Temporary closures were required at points, but since initially reopening dining rooms in early 2021, Phillips Crab House has remained open.

Why Would People Think Phillips Crab House Was Closed?

There are a few reasons why some patrons may have wrongly believed Phillips Crab House to be closed permanently:

  • Temporary COVID-19 closures led some to assume the closures were permanent
  • With capacity restrictions, the restaurant appeared closed from the outside at times
  • Reduced winter hours left the building empty more often
  • Unfounded rumors spread on social media that the restaurant had closed

The temporary closures and adjusted hours due to COVID-19 restrictions likely fueled misperceptions that the restaurant had shut down for good. Despite challenges imposed by the pandemic, Phillips Crab House has endured and kept its doors open to serve delicious crab cakes, steamed crabs, and other dishes to Ocean City locals and visitors.

Is Phillips Crab House Open Year-Round?

No, Phillips Crab House is a seasonal restaurant and is closed during the winter months each year. Here are the typical opening and closing dates:

  • Opens in early March
  • Closes in late October/early November

So while Phillips Crab House is not open year-round, it has continued to open each spring and operate during peak summertime months. The wintertime closure is normal for this oceanfront restaurant each year and not indicative of a permanent shut down.

Phillips Crab House Hours

Here are the current hours of operation for Phillips Crab House:

Day of Week Hours
Monday 11am – 9pm
Tuesday 11am – 9pm
Wednesday 11am – 9pm
Thursday 11am – 9pm
Friday 11am – 10pm
Saturday 11am – 10pm
Sunday 11am – 9pm

These hours are subject to change, especially during the off-season winter months when they may operate on a shortened schedule. But when open, Phillips Crab House is serving food to customers daily for both lunch and dinner.

What’s on the Menu at Phillips Crab House?

As the name implies, Phillips Crab House is best known for their extensive selection of blue crab offerings. Here are some of their most popular crab menu items:

  • Maryland Blue Crabs – Available steamed or creamy crab imperial-style
  • Crab Cakes – Broiled or fried with lump crab meat
  • Crab Soup – Phillips’ signature creamy and chunky crab soup
  • Soft Shell Crabs – Fried or sauteed local soft shells

Beyond crab, Phillips also offers many other seafood dishes like lobster, shrimp, oysters, clams, and fresh Atlantic fish. And for non-seafood options, they have selections of chicken, steak, pork chops, and pasta.

Kids, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus are available at Phillips Crab House as well. And no matter what you order, save room for their famous desserts like Smith Island Cake!

The History of Phillips Crab House

Phillips Crab House was opened in 1956 by two Baltimore businessmen named Al Dugan and Gordon Phillips. They saw the potential of Ocean City’s growing beach tourism industry and opened the restaurant right on 21st street, near the city’s iconic boardwalk.

The restaurant quickly became known as the place to get high quality, fresh local Maryland blue crab. Over the decades, Phillips Crab House has continued serving crab, seafood, and other dishes while preserving its casual, family-friendly atmosphere.

Today, it remains in the same location, still operated by Phillips’ descendants who have maintained its reputation for exceptional seafood, especially Maryland blue crab. Generations of visitors have enjoyed steamed crabs, crab cakes, and more at this Ocean City staple.

Recent Reviews

Here are some recent diner reviews from 2022 that confirm Phillips Crab House remains open and serving incredible Maryland blue crab:

  • “The crabs were awesome! Sweet, huge, and they tasted like they just came out of the bay that morning. We’ve been coming here for years and Phillips still doesn’t disappoint when it comes to crabs.” – Michael S. 8/12/2022
  • “Some of the best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten in my life. I also loved the crab bisque. The service was excellent and fast too. Prices are reasonable. Phillips Crab House never fails me when I visit Ocean City.” – Jennifer R. 10/4/2022
  • “My family and I stop at Phillips Crab House every year during our Ocean City vacation. The crab imperial and steamed crabs are incredible. We’re so happy we can still go back each summer for the great food and atmosphere.” – Daniel T. 7/5/2022

Recent online reviews highlight that Phillips Crab House remains open for business and serving their legendary crabs, crab cakes, and other Maryland seafood specialties as of 2022.


Despite temporary closures due to COVID-19 and reduced winter hours each year, reports of Phillips Crab House permanently closing are unfounded. The iconic Ocean City restaurant first opened in 1956 and continues operating in the present day, serving their famous crabs, crab cakes, and other dishes.

Their hours may fluctuate, especially during off-season months. But one thing remains certain – when summer arrives, so do the lines of hungry people waiting to experience the Phillips Crab House tradition and feast on Maryland blue crab. So for delicious seafood with stunning oceanfront views, head to Phillips Crab House on 21st street.

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