True Chesapeake Oyster Co. | Maryland’s First Vertically Integrated Oyster Farm
In a Baltimore suburb down a winding road half-swallowed by nature, you’ll find a lofty old mill that’s been transformed into a fusion of trendy small businesses and home to True Chesapeake Oyster Co. restaurant. True Chesapeake is a collaboration between great friends Nick Schauman (founder of The Local Oyster), Pat Hudson, True Chesapeake’s oyster farmer, and Zack Mills, Executive Chef. It is also Maryland’s very first oyster farm with a vertically integrated restaurant offering.
There’s so much to say about their supreme hospitality, but this is truly a team of INNOVATORS who have prioritized a regenerative and restorative menu. They’re not only serving up pristinely shucked oysters in all forms from their farm (three of their own varieties and rotating Chesapeake farms – those cocktail Huckleberry’s are divine), but Chef Mills incorporates invasive species on the menu, like the Blue Catfish and Snakehead, which supports the Bay’s health and restoration. Between the oysters and an invasive dish, you are actively participating in environmental conservation. Warwick had the Snakehead and melted in his seat. “It tastes like chicken and waffles!”
The bar is equally layered in unique cocktails like my favorite: “Clutching Pearls” – a blend of gin, Bolivian brandy, lime, and coconut cordial. The wine list is equally tempting with selections from Loire Valley to Marlborough.
The space is a mix of sea, history, and architectural preservation. It feels like an old mill, but the materials and accents (like lofted oysters in cages and Jay Fleming’s remarkable photography) feel true to the farm’s origins.
Menu favorites: raw huckleberry’s and the dill mignonette (there’s a caviar option, too for the bougies), hand-cut spaghetti with clams, Warwick’s Snakehead, roasted oysters with herb and old bay butter, and the blue crab dip with bone marrow (seasonally offered).
Thank you, team—you are a destination the most discerning ostreophiles (AND my mid-western Auntie) would dream of visiting.
P.S. Word on the street is that they’re about to open another restaurant, so please keep an eye out on their social media page.