By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer
Situated alongside railroad tracks and exuding Berlin’s rustic charm, Broad Street Station, a combination seafood restaurant-craft marketplace, reopened earlier this month for a second year of relaxed hometown atmosphere.
After opening last May, owners Bonnie and Dave Diehl were saw the spot become popular locally and develop a cast of regulars.
‘That really was our goal in opening,” Bonnie Diehl said.
The seasoned restaurateurs, who also operate OCM Crabs on 71st Street in Ocean City, had a slightly different vision for the establishment at 115 Broad St. in Berlin.
Located in the former Southern States building on the corner of Broad Street and Harrison Avenue, the goal was repurposing rather than rebuilding.
“We kept it as original as we could,” she said. “It was originally a freight train station.”
Erected around 1900, the one-story structure was initially serviced by railroad tracks on its east and west side and used principally for produce shipments.
“We tore down any added walls,” she said. “People love the whole atmosphere.”
Looking to capture marketing distinction, the Diehl’s decided to provide local artisans and craftspeople retail space.
“We had planned on supporting the locals by offering them vendor spots to sell the things that they make,” she said. “We’re pretty much a marketplace facilitator to this point.”
Patrons can peruse metal and wood crafts by Lindsay Ashton, Solutionz Gourmet vinaigrettes, sauces and salsas from Cindy Herd, handmade jewelry and baskets by Helen Prah, painted crabb shells, decorated oyster shells and YawSir apparel.
“It makes it feel homey and comfortable,” she said.
Also displaying, and occasionally producing on site, is Roland Morris of Morris Decoys.
“It’s a unique spot for him,” she said. “Roland comes in for in-person carvings.”
Decoy-carving demonstrations are advertised in advance and have been incorporated into larger events downtown.
“It’s kind of like family in a way,” she said. “All the locals have supported us, where we’re use to more of a tourist-type support in Ocean City.”
Regardless of other niceties, the primary focus remains providing fresh seafood options for dining or carry out.
“Everything is steamed and cooked to order,” she said.
Menu items include crab soup, raw or steamed shrimp or clams, raw or broiled scallops, steamed mussels and fresh caught raw tuna. Non-seafood options include broiled chicken tenders, cole slaw, Amish macaroni salad and sweet potato waffle fries.
“People are excited to come back because everything’s steamed fresh,” she said.
Broad Street Station offers outside dining on covered-porch areas facing southward and trackside.
“People just come hang out sometimes.”
While steamed crabs and shrimp are always crowed-pleasers, Bonnie Diehl said one item has outpaced others in popularity.
“I would say crab cakes are really putting us on the map,” she said.
Diehl said strong online reviews and social-media chatter have lured in tourists seeking an authentic Maryland version of the crustacean staple.
“They Google seafood and that’s how they end up there because of the crab cake,” she said.
For those unschooled in the particulars of consuming steamed crabs, Dave Diehl is happy to offer guidance.
“My husband enjoys showing them how to pick crabs,” she said.
Following a successful inaugural year in operation, Bonnie Diehl said friends have suggested dropping vendors to increase table counts could boost profits.
“That’s not our goal to have a huge volume,” she said.
After operating OCM Crabs for the past dozen-plus years, the Diehl’s are intent on maintaining a different aesthetic in Berlin.
“Being familiar with Ocean City and how manic it is there at tourist time, our goal here is to have a laid back, comfortable place for people,” she said.
Broad Street Station is currently open Friday – Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information call 410-641-0115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 5, 2022.