The Shanty Grille is a family-owned & operated local business. The King family has been satisfying the cravings of Maryland seafood lovers for over sixty years with fresh, delicious seafood, steaks, pastas and desserts. With a reputation built on scratch-made, fresh food, the Crab Shanty maintained an unwavering commitment to the community and its guests.

Between 1978 and 2011, the Crab Shanty restaurant grew into a true Howard County institution. Then, in 2011 while contemplating the upcoming renovations, the Kings determined that it was also time to renovate the entire brand. With an energized staff, they undertook major menu changes, keeping the old favorites that built their reputation and dropping many of the more expensive, heavier entrees that made some guests view the Crab Shanty as a special occasion establishment. The Kings were responding to the needs of a younger, more health-conscious patronage that wanted smaller, less-expensive plates, and a fun place to meet with friends.

With all these changes, including a major expansion of the pub, the addition of an outdoor patio, and a high-tech upgrade of the banquet room, it was only fitting that the restaurant should also have new name. Thus, the Shanty Grille was born.

Come for a visit, and you will definitely come back for more!

Restaurant History

In 1963, husband and wife team, Bill and Rolande King, purchased a Catonsville gas station and transformed the property into Sea King Seafood Market, a thriving seafood carryout. This was the first of several carryouts to open over the years. The King family joined together forming a strong love of the restaurant business to establish Sea King carryouts - the finest in raw, cooked and prepared seafood in the Baltimore area. All spices, rubs and recipes are developed in-house and created to bring out the best of Maryland's seafood.

In 1978, the King family opened The Crab Shanty in Ellicott City, a fast-growing area of Howard County. Many of our guests ask us why we used the name "shanty." Shanties, by definition, are crudely built shelters made of various salvaged materials, usually occupied by seafaring folk. We know we're not crudely built, but our décor is comprised of many antiques & architectural pieces from churches, Victorian homes and other projects from the Maryland/Pennsylvania area. For more details about where specific items in our décor are from, please visit our photo tour.

In 1986, the King family answered the requests of local patrons by introducing another great taste: Pig Pickers, Memphis style Bar-B-Que! Customers can now satisfy their tastebuds for authentic Memphis style Bar-B-Que at our Ellicott City carryout location.

In 1990 the father and son team, William King Jr. and William King III, proudly accepted the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Restaurateur of the Year Award. In 1999 the Crab Shanty earned the Seal of Commitment from the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundation and in 2001 it was proudly inducted into the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Hall of Fame. In 2006 Bill Jr & Bill III also received the Good Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America National Pike chapter for their good works for the greater good of the local community. In October 2008, Bill was recognized by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2006 we renovated our lounge to create a warmer, more social & relaxing atmosphere for our guests to unwind in. Check out our daily happy hour specials on our events page.

We are proud to have been awarded several prestigious awards over the years from Howard Magazine's "Best of Howard County" series. We wear these awards proudly, as they are voted by residents of Howard County and only represent the best:

  • Best Crab Cake:
    • Our famous 30 Year recipe! Handmade and using only the highest quality ingredients.
  • Honorable Mention: Brunch
    • Our Holiday Buffets are exquisite in taste, ambiance and selections
  • Honorable Mention: Best Place to take Out-of Town Guests
    • Your guests will experience classic Maryland dishes sure to impress!
  • Honorable Mention: Best Place to buy Seafood
    • Awarded to Shanty Grille & Sea King Seafood Market serving fresh, quality seafood.

Our most recent award is Maryland's Green Restaurant of the Year presented by the Maryland Restaurant Association. We were recognized for our energy efficiency, composting efforts, and very minimal trash generation. We compost nearly everything that comes through our doors and generate only a small waste-basket amount of refuse per week, even though we serve several hundred meals. This commitment to responsible waste management is a big source of pride for us.


Eric S. King, Vice President

Growing up in the business, Eric has been in foodservice his entire life. Working through school, he has risen from his beginnings as a dishwasher all the way through management. Eric has taken some time away from the family business to attain both Bachelor's and Master's degrees, as well as gaining valuable experience with the world-renowned Greenbrier Resort. Eric has also done foodservice and business consulting for some well-known restaurants in the New York City Area. Since returning home in 2004, he has focused on ensuring that the different locations are running smoothly and are meeting the strict food quality and customer service standards that The Shanty Grille and Sea King have been known for.

Certifications & Degrees: M.M.H. in Hotel/Restaurant Administration (MBA) Cornell University 2004, B.S. in Business Administration (Accounting & Finance) West Virginia University 2001, Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) 2001, Alcohol Awareness, Serv-Safe Food Safety & Sanitation, Serv-Safe Train the Trainer, HACCP.

Irene Ravit, Assistant General Manager

Irene Ravit joined our management team in August of 2007. She is a native New Yorker, enjoying our proud Maryland culture for the past 4 years. Irene brings 15 years of industry experience, recently serving as a Corporate General Manager responsible for operating and developing several training programs. Her training experience includes work with hourly staff and managers for many regional training seminars. Irene has added value to our family with an extensive background and education in the Arts. She has attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, majoring in Advertising Art and Design, as well as Illustration. Her contributions include Shanty Grille menu design, marketing, promotions, website, and e-mail programs. We welcome Irene Ravit to our family and look forward to the contributions and value she adds to our operation.

Certifications & Degrees: Serve-Safe, & Alcohol Awareness certified

Alfred Plitt, Manager

Alfred began working at the Shanty Grille while attending Mount Hebron High School. Throughout the years, he has worked as a busser, barback, and server all while attending school. In 2007, Alfred graduated from UMBC with a degree in History. He has since joined the Shanty Grille Management Team and looks forward to the years to come. Alfred also volunteers some his time to Howard County's 4-H program and enjoys spending his days off taking a ride on his Harley.

Certifications & Degrees: B.A. in History from the University of Maryland Baltimore County & Alcohol Awareness

Jim Harlow, Chef

Jim is a native of Sykesville and has been one of the Renaissance men on our staff for almost 7 years, with over 20 years experience in commercial kitchens. Coming to us as a line cook, Jim has worked his way through the ranks to Sous Chef and now to Executive Chef. In his spare time, Jim enjoys music and a one point in time toured around the county in a successful rock band.

Certifications & Degrees: B.S. in History from Towson State University, Certifications in Accounting & Information Systems, & ServSafe

Charles Warner, Chef

Chef Charles Warner began his career training under Olympic chef John Tann. He has also shared his talent at such establishments as The Pimlico Restaurant, Charles Levine Caterers, Polo Grill Restaurant, Harvey's, and Chartwells Golf & Country Club.

Charles specializes in Asian cuisine and has catered for Arnold Swartznegger, Bill Cosby, Vanessa Williams and various Mayors and congressional representatives across Maryland. Charles also contributes extensively to the community through his volunteer work with the Arundel & Baltimore City School systems. Charles is a Program and Advisory Committee member for the regional culinary competition, teaching high school students valuable job skills through training workshops and testing. Charles recently placed in the top three out of 246 competitors in the Bounty Seafood Challenge.

The Shanty Grille family welcomes Chef Charles Warner to the team. We are excited to share Charles' expertise and skills with our patrons for years to come.

Certifications & Degrees: ServeSafe & I.F.S.E.A certified

Jeanne King, Director of Events and Catering

Jeanne King has been in the event planning business for 16 years, where she focused primarily on weddings. She has planned high-profile weddings for clients including Baltimore Ravens' players, business owners, and members of Congress. Jeanne has owned her own wedding planning company and has worked and planned in upstate New York, New York City, Washington DC, and Baltimore. She has a Bachelor's degree from Elon University in North Carolina, and was recently named one of Howard County's top 39 professionals under 39 from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. On top of having excellent detail, design and planning skills, Jeanne also excels in customer service. Having joined forces with her husband, Eric, she's helped make the Shanty Grille a fun, friendly and fabulous place to entertain and dine.


3410 Plum Tree Drive
Ellicott City, MD 21042
Phone: 410-465-9660


11:30am Daily

Dining Room Lunch

Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-2:30pm

Sunday: 11:30am-2:30pm
with additional Bunch Menu


Monday-Thursday: 5:00pm-9:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 5:00pm-10:00pm
Sunday: 4:00pm-9:00pm


The Shanty Grille accepts
phone reservations for parties
of all sizes.

The Shanty Grille accepts
phone reservations for parties
of five or more.