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Knights of Columbus seafood dinner in Ocean City prides itself on tasty, not fancy: Photo gallery

Mary Straight, co-kitchen manager and Tom Irwin, head chief prepare a fish sandwich at the Knights of Columbus crab dinner at St. Luke Catholic Church in Ocean City. Dialog photo/Jason Minto

OCEAN CITY, Md. — For the last two decades, the local Knights of Columbus have been dishing up hot crabs, cold beer and a beautiful view every Tuesday night.

Knights of Columbus Council 9053 hosts a crab feast and seafood night each summer Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The food is good, the soup is homemade, the prices are reasonable and it supports a good cause.

It’s not a huge moneymaker, but it’s become a tradition for visitors and residents in this mecca by the ocean for the last two decades.

Dinner is behind St. Luke’s at 99th Street, although the Council actually represents three parishes in the resort area. It’s a very active Council with some 400 members.

The Knights contribute about $35,000 to $40,000 to the community each year and the crab nights raise perhaps $5,000 of that total.

While you’re there, you might want to swing by the Knights raffle at Division Street behind the First Responders Memorial. A $1 raffle ticket usually gets you a chance to win a motorcycle. This year, it’s a vintage Mustang that will make a car lover drool.

Steamed crabs and steamed shrimp have to be ordered in advance, but walk-ins can still get crab cakes, calamari, large fried or coconut shrimp, fried or baked flounder (with a choice of plain, lemon pepper, old bay or blackened seasonings), sandwiches and seafood platters. Everything except the sandwiches is served up with cole slaw, french fries and a pickle.

There’s homemade Maryland crab soup (the kind with lots of vegetables), farm-fresh corn on the cob dripping with butter, corn bread and you can substitute onion rings or potato salad for the fries. Non-seafood lovers can always order a hot dog or chicken nuggets. The Knights tried pizza, but that didn’t quite make the grade.

Prices are $11 to $15 for a platter. The seafood combination platter and double crab cake platter are a bit more. A dozen crabs cost $48 and steamed shrimp cost $12 a half pound.

The food is made fresh and it’s always hot. The Knights do order the steamed crabs and shrimp from OCM Crabs and Seafood just a few blocks away, but everything else comes out of the kitchen. On July 2, diners enjoyed 24 one-half pound orders of shrimp and 20 and one-half dozen crabs. On a good night, some 50 dozen crabs will get served up.

Crabs are standard fare at the beach, so it was almost a given that a crab night would begin.

“We should see if we can do something like this. It took hold and here we are,” said Tom Foglesong, who serves as chairman of the crab feast.

It’s long on flavor and friendship, but a little short on atmosphere. Crabs get dished up out of coolers and the traditional brown paper lines tables where crabs have been ordered.

“It’s not like going to a fancy restaurant with all the ambience and walking around without too many clothes on,” he laughed.

The Knights work four teams of 10 to 12 people for the crab nights. There are usually four people in the kitchen and each team works about three nights between June and August.

There’s a cash bar for people who want a drink, but it might be a little tough to find a cosmopolitan or chocolate martini. “There’s no umbrella drinks,” said Faithful Navigator Wayne Straight.

The décor might be plain, but the view over waving reeds and calm blue water more than makes up for it. “On the deck, we have one of the best views in town,” Straight said.

“We advertise our crab quality and size,” said Straight. “It is good stuff.”

“There’s nothing better for us than to look out and see the tables filled,” Foglesong said.

If you want to order crabs or shrimp before arriving, call 410-524-7994, so the Knights know how many to order.