Walk in to Captain Charles Seafood House and you’ll be welcomed by blue walls with a nautical-themed trim, a large bar filled with various liquors, including a local spirit, ample seating room and a gorgeous view of the Neale Sound waterfront.
It’s not a new staple, but the restaurant, formerly known as Shymansky’s, is taking a few new turns, including a name change.
“We’re trying to help put Cobb Island on the map a little bit,” said Capt. Charles Johnson, who became owner of the restaurant in early 2017.
The restaurant will see upgrades that include new hardwood floors, kitchen remodeling, dining room and bar reorganization, newer appliances and more energy-efficient options, Johnson, a Calvert-native, said. “It came a long way in the last two years.”
With a goal creating a night-life scene, Johnson said they will be adding televisions to the restaurant, which compliment that already-existing live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays (and on the occasional weekday).
The restaurant even purchased a van to transport guests free of charge to and from Waldorf to limit driving. “We want everybody to leave here safe,” Johnson said.
In addition to changes in the physical appearance, Captain Charles is also dishing up some menu changes. It’s a place that serves seafood and non-seafood lovers alike. With delectable choices like BBQ bacon wrapped shrimp, prime rib with au jus, rockfish stuffed with crab imperial and flavored chicken wing options, Captain Charles brags a menu for everyone.
Every week, guests are offered a variety of specials, like the homemade bread pudding with rum sauce, pan seared salmon and their biggest seller, Kung Pao Brussels sprouts. “We’re trying to … come up with a nice image and we want to have food to stand out,” Johnson said.
Guests don’t have to question where their fish and crab comes from; all they have to do is look out of the window. “[Long-time sellers] actually got their boats parked here and they actually go out and go fishing. I get the fish here, I get the crabs here,” Johnson said. “Every now and then, I might gotta get something from my side, Calvert County, cause I’m from Calvert but other than that, everything’s pretty much local.”
But it’s not just their seafood that’s fresh. “Down to the chicken and the steak,” Johnson said, a majority of their food is local. “Everything here now is completely made and breaded here,” he said. “Nothing is frozen.”
The minds behind the specials include General Manager Judy Hunt, Executive Chef Joe Dundas and Executive Sous Chef Dwayne Gross. “We both look forward [to] bringing Captain Charles to the next level of [d]ining experience for southern Maryland and Cobb [I]sland,” Dundas and Gross said in a joint email.
Hunt, Dundas and Gross all have extensive backgrounds in the food industry: 33 years, 30 years and 15 years, respectively. “I can see a lot of potential there,” Hunt said, who previously worked at The Social 228 in Waldorf and The Game Room and Grill in Fort Washington. “I’m glad that Captain Charles asked me to come and be a part of his team … I’m just lost for words. I just really love it there.”
Captain Charles is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight, with the kitchen closing at 11 p.m.
“You have some really great people here,” Johnson said. “It’s a small community and so it’s definitely good for the island. I know it is. It’s good for the island.”