The Best Restaurants in the Region, According to People Magazine

WASHINGTON — Texts, emails and phone calls from loyal customers are what tipped off Cantler’s that People magazine named it one of the most popular restaurants in the nation.

“Hey! You guys made People magazine! Number one restaurant – congratulations!” general manager Bruce Whalen recalls folks saying.

People’s Most Popular Restaurant in Every State (and Washington, D.C.) list named Jimmy Cantler’s Riverside Inn of Maryland the most popular restaurant in the state. The 43-year-old authentic crab house is along Mill Creek outside Annapolis.

Whalen is sure the local crabs helped earn the designation.

“All of our crab meat is local crab meat,” Whalen said. “Everything’s just better with local Maryland [blue] crabs … that’s what we’re known for.”

During the offseason, alternate crab sources only come from within the United States.

Even though the magazine references “Old Bay-crusted Chesapeake blue crabs,” Cantler’s uses a spice made in Baltimore.

“We don’t use Old Bay; we use J.O. Spice. It’s a local Maryland spice that’s been around for years — decades. It’s got rock salt and gives you a little better flavor for the crab.”

Seafood also helped earn accolades for the Virginia restaurant on People’s most popular list. On the Rappahannock River, Merrior showcases oysters raised by the owners, the magazine says.

In D.C., the magazine chooses the Ethiopian restaurant Dukem, along the U Street corridor, known for flavorful stews.

Even people who haven’t eaten at People’s most popular restaurant in Delaware might know it from drinking its beer. Dogfish Head Brewing & Eats of Rehoboth Beach earned the distinction for its “experimental ales,” small batch spirits and upscale pub grub, People said.

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