By Jill Marie Denton. Read Jill’s “Only in Ocean City” series here.
Dirty Harry probably evokes a strong mental image in your mind, perhaps of a grizzled police detective on the hunt. I kindly request that you replace that image with one of a one-inch thick burger on a round-top roll, topped with crisp bacon, a sausage patty, fried egg and a miraculous sauce akin to creamy ketchup, with chipped home fries alongside.
It was probably quite a jump for your mind, but Dirty Harry’s Restaurant in Fenwick Island, Delaware has very little to do with beat cops and much more to do with serious comfort grub. Dispel the thought of the word ‘dirty’ in the title of the place, too. The reality of the restaurant is a clean, casual, diner-style eatery, the ideal breakfast pit stop.
Owners Ginny and Eddie invite you to their second home, originally founded in the mid-1990s. Since 2005, the pair and their seasoned, local team of servers and cooks have been operating this local staple affectionately dubbed “Fenwick Island’s Best Kept Secret.” Oops, guess the secret’s out! It’s worth the short trip up the highway from Ocean City.
Upon entry you’ll see a huge pastry case filled with items baked in-house, including muffins, sticky buns and filled rolls. You can grab-and-go, though I suggest taking a load off. But hang on, before you make your way to the host stand, review the special boards. I was really glad I did on my particular visit, since the aforementioned burger was on offer. If I’d been in a sweeter mood, the CMP Pancakes (chocolate, marshmallow, peanut butter) probably would’ve done the trick.
Fortunately I didn’t regret my decision. Boy was that burger massive, and the server, both cordially and curiously, giggled as I ogled it upon delivery. Others around me had massive meals, too, including sausage gravy-topped biscuits, seven-inch wide pancakes and half-plate sized omelets. My coffee cup was filled twice without my asking and the kids at a nearby table loved the kitschy, homespun décor, playing “I Spy” as I listened in.
Breakfast is offered until 2 p.m., a great option for those late-rising partiers in your crew. If you wander into Dirty Harry’s even later in the day, you’ll be offered diner-style sandwiches, massive steak platters and traditional seafood favorites. The selections are comfort-casual diner-style fare, perfectly American and exactly what you’d expect from a local haunt. Those aforementioned specials boards are always brimming with new suggestions. Their cream of crab soup is worth stopping in for, as is their stuffed tomato salad plate. Stuffed with lump crab, that tomato is a more than appropriate low-carb substitute for the crab cakes your table mates will likely order.
Have you been to Dirty Harry’s? What should I have the next time I stop in? And where else should I visit? I love local business so leave comments with ideas!