Little place, big taste: Scooters has homestyle steafood to go or stay

Written by on June 29, 2011 in Baltimore Bites - No comments

Scooters is nicely decked out in Crab House Kitsch.

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What you notice when you walk into Scooters, the crab shack and seafood carryout at 1611 Bank Street, is what you don’t notice.

Scooters does not smell like fish. The only scent is the clean scent of Old Bay. That is quite an accomplishment for a seafood carryout that specializes in steamed crabs.

Scooters is owned and operated by the same family that had Scooters in Elkridge, the restaurant, bar and banquet hall. It was popular and successful, but then the building was sold out from under them.

“The place in Elkridge was sold; we didn’t own the building,” said Ruth Kaitis Lurz, daughter of the restaurant’s founder, Jimmy Kaitis. “But Dad owned the property here in Fells Point, so we did a complete build-out. We basically started over.”

The renovation was comprehensive. The front of the building has fresh stucco. There is a bright blue awning out front, and the interior is agreeably decorated with Crab House Kitsch with Billy Bob Bass plaques. There are also some Greek village scenes, Polish costume dolls, clippings and plaques and ancestral photos.

Scooters has always been famous for steamed crabs. The folks in Elkridge were devoted to them, and Mr. Jimmy takes a truck down there most weekends to sell. “We had lots of regulars in Elkridge, and they miss us,” said Ruth.

Some of them have followed Scooters to Fells Point, which Ruth finds touching.

“It’s so meaningful to see them,” she said. “And they call and say ‘we’re coming down.’”

If they don’t come up for the steamed crabs, they come for the $32.95 “Maryland Pride,” a one-pound crabcake loaf stuffed with shrimp. It’s big enough for two. For the Junior Pride, a mere half-pound of crustacean delight, it’s $18.95.

We tried Captain Jimmy’s Seafood Combo, a platter of broiled flounder, scallops, crab balls and shrimp, for $18.95—good seafood for a great price. For variety we tried the Greek salad (large, $9.95), which was very tasty, and had stuffed grape leaves on top for a bonus, plenty of feta cheese, and ripe tomatoes.

The Italian cold cut sub ($5.95) was an overstuffed roll of salami, ham, cappicola and other meats. There was no lettuce or tomato, so order those if you want them.

We didn’t get the crabs, but we know plenty of people who have tried them. Victor Corbin, president of the Fells Prospect Community Association, says “I love the crabs. They steam red potatoes and corn with the crabs and they are yummy—great with the mustard from the crabs.”

His friend Ms. Jeanne is devoted to the hamburgers, which are large, charbroiled and downright cheap ($6.50).

He also likes the red velvet cheesecake and the rice pudding.

Scooters sells steamed crabs by the dozen or by the bushel. When we visited medium males and large females were $25 a dozen.

Bottom line: if you are looking for steamed crabs, shrimp, fish, burgers or subs well-cooked from an immaculate kitchen, Scooters might be the place for you.

Scooters, 1611 Bank Street, Upper Fells Point, is open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Call ahead, 410-675-6040, for market prices on crabs and pounds of steamed shrimp.

by Jacqueline Watts

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