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Politician Fulfills Promises: Walks Plank and Opens Annapolis Market House

Mike, Harvey, Kevin Blonder, Carl Charrup

Mike, Harvey, Kevin Blonder, Carl Charrup

Wrapped in a tangle of Annapolis political controversy and former vendor litigation since its flooding during the 2003 Tropical Storm Isabel, city mayor Josh Cohen can say the historic district’s Annapolis Market House officially reopened under his watch on September 7. He even fulfilled his promise to walk the plank if the Market House, which has existed in some form since the 1780s, wasn’t open by last October.

While the city politicos and resident zealots worked with and against each other to find a way to reopen the Market House the city which owns the space spent over a million dollars to refurbish the interior design and install a geothermal HVAC system. Some reports compared the past atmosphere to a sauna. Indications are they were looking for a blend of vendors that would offer a diverse range of foods (the space is comparable to a food court with a small organic grocer).

The quest for eight vendors moved forward when local Annapolis businessman and restaurateur Harvey Blonder stepped in to take

Phil Dykes, Kevin Guerrieri from Crab Cake Secret

Phil Dykes, Kevin Guerrieri from Crab Cake Secret

four of the spaces with his concepts. Restaurant Association of Maryland member and former board director, Blonder opened Yellowfin Seafood & Oyster Bar, Hard Bean Café, Carl’s Corned Beef & Delicatessen (with Carl Charrup) and MidShip Fresh Bar. He also owns the Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs at the bottom of Main Street, steps away from the Market House. The other tenants include Annapolis Organic Market, Good Life Smoothie Bar, Firenzes Gelateria (the only returning vendor) and Amsterdam Falafelshop.

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Kevin Guerrieri presents a crab cake sandwich at Yellowfin Seafood.

Attending the opening was Phil Dykes, whose family “Crab Cake Secret” recipe is now marketed to foodservice and retail customers via My Way Foods owned by Dykes,  Kevin Guerrieri and Duncan Hood. The recipe for the mix came from from Dykes’ grandparents who operated Andy’s Tavern in Curtis Bay. Guerrieri was also on hand working during the opening with the Blonder team that includes sons Kevin and Mike (hence the Kevin and Mike fries on the menu). Yellowfin uses the mix with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and crab meat. The crab cake is baked.

Walking around the Market House after the opening ceremonies and the dunking of the mayor, a crowd of hungry and thirsty customers probably weren’t that interested in all the previous drama. From the corned beef, to the smoothies, the gelato, the wings and even a half-dozen Chincoteague oysters or steamed clams to choose from, there were other, more enjoyable things to pursue.

About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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