Phillips Crab Deck has returned to its Dock Street location and re-opened its doors in Annapolis three years after closing.
However, the homecoming is to a slightly smaller space.
Marketing director Michelle Torres said the new 138-seat restaurant occupies less than half of the space that Phillips Annapolis Harbor Restaurant owned at 14 Dock St. in 2009.
The more upscale portion of Phillips is gone—slated to become an English-style pub set to open later this year. What's returned is an casual, open air dining establishment called Phillips Crab Deck.
"The crab decks are a project we’ve launched this season, and the whole premise is all locally sourced food. We're taking things back to our roots," Torres said. "The menu is all of the core items that we started with way back when that made us as famous as we are today."
The Annapolis location is one of three in the region to open as a crab deck this summer, Torres said. The company opened a deck in Baltimore in May and another in Washington, DC, in June.
But the return of Phillips in Annapolis is temporary.
The property still belongs to the National Sailing Center and Hall of Fame, which plans to convert the space into a museum as soon as it can raise the funds, said Director Lee Tawney.
The center has raised about $3 million of the $19 million it needs to bulldoze the current space, build a museum and secure exhibits.
"Since the museum's funding hasn’t come through, we are going to take it back over for at least two years," Torres said. "But it all depends on how fast they are going to move with the sailing museum."
The English pub will remain after the museum it built, but Phillips Crab Deck will disappear.
The Sailing Center is happy to see Phillips return in the meantime.
"It’s better to have the building being used than to have it sit vacant," Tawney said. "City Dock is Annapolis’ front parlor, and the more activity at City Dock, the more it reminds people of the connection to the water."
But Tawney hopes to raise the money for the museum sooner rather than later. Until then, Phillips is open for business.
The restaurant features butcher paper tablecloths, and a roll of paper towels are at each table for those messier menu items. When the weather is nice, all the windows are pulled back creating an open air dining experience. Nearly everything on the menu is less than $20.
The location is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Torres said the restaurant has already seen wait times for tables grow as long as an hour twice in the week since it's been re-opened. The location doesn't take reservations unless you have a party of 15 or more.
She said once the museum funds have been raised, it's possible Phillips could find another Annapolis home.
"I don’t think that are owners would ever discount that out," Torres said. "Annapolis is a fit; it's definitely is a fit for us with our brand."