A journey spanning six decades in Cambridge
In 1947, in a shanti tucked away in the remote waterfront community of Crocheron, along the most southern point of Maryland, ambitious waterman Bradye P. Todd started a seafood- packaging business. Todd’s store unknowingly paved a path for three generations of sea harvesters as a beacon for local fishermen to unload the bay’s bounty.
Fast forward to 2017 on Rte. 50 in Cambridge, where a painted image of a young Todd Jr. shucking clams can be seen on the Todd family’s seafood restaurant and delicatessen. The mural is a tribute to the business’s beginnings and of bygone times. A family history that chronicles triumph and tragedy, along with a few fishing tales, and the journey over the past six decades, is what the Todd clan has dubbed their very own Ocean Odyssey.
The small crab factory, Bradye P. Todd & Son Inc., still stands today; now, merely a relic of the business’s origin, as the seascape slowly reclaims its spot on the shore. After nearly 40 years at the Crocheron location, Todd seafood expanded the business in the 1980s, into additional facilities and diversified operations.
Today, the original wholesale seafood market with two crab- picking operations evolved from a counter-service sandwich shop with carry-out, steamed crabs and a few dinners to a now burgeoning sit-down restaurant.
Aptly named Ocean Odyssey, the family-owned establishment stays true to its seafood processing and packaging roots as the only regional restaurant that goes from catch to kitchen in the same place. While the Eastern Shore affords diners a metropolis of fresh seafood fare, Ocean Odyssey is the only place on the Shore that picks, shucks and steams each fish, crab and clam on their menu — on the spot.
Not much has changed in the way of crab-picking; neither has the Todd’s approach to business.
“It’s a consistency of an attitude that has endured over the scope of three generations and 60 years of business,” said grandson Travis Todd.
A waterman by blood, a restaurateur by chance and a beer connoisseur by choice, Travis now helms the family business and is taking a fresh spin on local dining.
During the restaurant’s evolution, Travis has taken an extreme local sourcing approach, putting only locally harvested, authentic Maryland seafood on the menu. It’s all caught right here, from the oysters to the crabs, and even some uncommon menu items like the blue catfish.
“It’s actually a delicious problem,” Travis added. Blue catfish is an aggressive non-native angle brought to Virginia as a sporting fish that threatens rockfish, perch and local catfish populations. The idea to get chefs onboard with using this product was Todd’s way to make the best of a nuisance and, in a way, avenge the native bay inhabitants. As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold — or in this case broiled, fried or blackened.
Like any family restaurant with 30 years of tradition, there is a little bit of Grandma’s, or rather, Nanny’s, cooking still on the menu. Arguably Nanny’s cream of crab soup, a highly revered dish and regional staple, is a must-try.
In addition to specialty bites designed around the day’s catch, fresh selections of craft beers are served up regularly.
The restaurant is an unassuming destination for beer aficionados and seafood lovers alike. From seafood processing in the back to the beer garden in front, Ocean Odyssey takes patrons taste buds on a journey.
Last August the family restaurant celebrated its 30th anniversary, adding one more tale to the Todd’s ocean odyssey.
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