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The Cracked Claw at Peter Pan, Urbana - Closed


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We ventured out to Monocacy Crossing in the once rural Urbana, where neither of us had been since the 1970s when the Peter Pan Inn stood amidst the corn fields serving up fried chicken that made KFC’s look like Michele Richard’s Central. It was well worth the trip.

My parents used to drag me to Peter Pan, up the old Highway 70S! I don't remember the food, just that they made me wear a damn clip on tie and that the waits were interminable .... Evans Farm Inn was SO much better. And closer, too.

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My parents used to drag me to Peter Pan, up the old Highway 70S! I don't remember the food

Fried chicken. And, if memory serves, the kind of salad bar that has relishes and cottage cheese.

PS ol_ironstomach: you do know I make a fab spoon bread, don't you?

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My parents used to drag me to Peter Pan, up the old Highway 70S! I don't remember the food, just that they made me wear a damn clip on tie and that the waits were interminable .... Evans Farm Inn was SO much better. And closer, too.

If we had put some mustard on those clip-on ties they would have tasted better than what was eventually served up after waiting in the "holding" area for, it seems, a lifetime. You could also go the slow way, up 355, and watch the Holsteins graze at the King Farm.

My most recent memory of Evans Farm was a small sign in the Sitting Duck Pub, placed by one of the wags down at Langley that noted, "You are in the safest bar in the world."

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Fried chicken. And, if memory serves, the kind of salad bar that has relishes and cottage cheese.

PS ol_ironstomach: you do know I make a fab spoon bread, don't you?

Anyone remember the old Cracked Claw, pre-Peter Pan Inn? THAT's where my parents took me, no dragging required. I think it had a plastic roof with a tree growing through it... talk about ambience. The Peter Pan Inn version, what with the caged peacocks and the all-you-can eat king crab legs, just never had the same appeal as the original.

Alex

PS - We're talking early elementary school memories here, so I guess there's some chance this is was a Robitussin-induced hallucination... but I'm pretty sure there was a tree growing through the roof.

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Fried chicken. And, if memory serves, the kind of salad bar that has relishes and cottage cheese.

PS ol_ironstomach: you do know I make a fab spoon bread, don't you?

Ah yes, the fried chicken...but how can you forget the infamous hush puppies!

(oooh-spoon bread would be great at the picnic! ;) )

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Due to poor timing, I was 30 minutes early for a dinner with friends at the Cracked Claw, so I decided to pass the time listening to the radio in my car and watching the comings and goings of the other customers. I saw a mixed bag, some nicely appointed members of the gray haired set walking towards, but far more disheveled foggy eyed men that would have been just as likely to be seen coming out of a peep show – I assumed that the former were there for dinner, while the later for gambling, oh how right I was.

As the time of our reservations approached, I made my way to towards the restaurant door, the first thing I noticed was a young hooligan in his little league uniform tormenting the very sad looking peacock while his father standing some distance away, too enthralled with his cigarette to actually move, was yelling at his son – from the look of the child, I suspect that he treats his peers in a similar fashion to the way he treated the poor bird. Looking for the entrance, I walked past the door that leads to the Off Track Betting parlor, and could not help notice a strong smell of stale smoke and urine permeating the air. Finally I spotted the unwelcoming and ill-marked entry way, things did not get better once I arrived before the hostess. I believe that I saw the same carpeting and wallpaper on my last visit to this restaurant in 1975, the only thing missing was the store selling all sorts of politically incorrect gag gifts such as the Polish spoon that had a hole in the middle (for the life of me I have never known why the Polish have been the object of such mockery, when we all know the Welsh are the ones that deserve it).

Finally to the large paper covered table, and time to order. This was to be my decadal attempt at enjoying picking crabs, so the crab feast it was. We started with pitchers of the only palatable beer on offer, Sam Adams, and made our way to the salad bar. Whatever happened to great salad bars? The kind that made the like the old Phineas in Rockville somewhat famous, where the term salad was not only limited to stark heaps of iceberg stems with a meager amount of green scattered about, and the toppings to make it semi-edible. I passed, and went back to enjoy my beer. A few minutes later, trays of blue crabs were delivered to our table. The Cracked Claw must have a special supplier for these crabs, as I am not sure that you could find so many meatless crustaceans unless you really tried. After 5 crabs, I finally gave up and concentrated on catching up with some old friends, waiting until I could gracefully leave.

I would like to note that Gina, our server, was a delightful young woman that deserves better than to be stuck delivering such woeful food, and dealing with the crotchety degenerate gamblers that occasionally show up in the dining room. But even she could not save the evening, and it will likely be more than 35 years until I venture back to the old Peter Pan, and in 10 years I will be reminded once again why I prefer to have other people pick my crabs for me.

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Due to poor timing, I was 30 minutes early for a dinner with friends at the Cracked Claw, so I decided to pass the time listening to the radio in my car and watching the comings and goings of the other customers. I saw a mixed bag, some nicely appointed members of the gray haired set walking towards, but far more disheveled foggy eyed men that would have been just as likely to be seen coming out of a peep show – I assumed that the former were there for dinner, while the later for gambling, oh how right I was.

As the time of our reservations approached, I made my way to towards the restaurant door, the first thing I noticed was a young hooligan in his little league uniform tormenting the very sad looking peacock while his father standing some distance away, too enthralled with his cigarette to actually move, was yelling at his son – from the look of the child, I suspect that he treats his peers in a similar fashion to the way he treated the poor bird. Looking for the entrance, I walked past the door that leads to the Off Track Betting parlor, and could not help notice a strong smell of stale smoke and urine permeating the air. Finally I spotted the unwelcoming and ill-marked entry way, things did not get better once I arrived before the hostess. I believe that I saw the same carpeting and wallpaper on my last visit to this restaurant in 1975, the only thing missing was the store selling all sorts of politically incorrect gag gifts such as the Polish spoon that had a hole in the middle (for the life of me I have never known why the Polish have been the object of such mockery, when we all know the Welsh are the ones that deserve it).

Finally to the large paper covered table, and time to order. This was to be my decadal attempt at enjoying picking crabs, so the crab feast it was. We started with pitchers of the only palatable beer on offer, Sam Adams, and made our way to the salad bar. Whatever happened to great salad bars? The kind that made the like the old Phineas in Rockville somewhat famous, where the term salad was not only limited to stark heaps of iceberg stems with a meager amount of green scattered about, and the toppings to make it semi-edible. I passed, and went back to enjoy my beer. A few minutes later, trays of blue crabs were delivered to our table. The Cracked Claw must have a special supplier for these crabs, as I am not sure that you could find so many meatless crustaceans unless you really tried. After 5 crabs, I finally gave up and concentrated on catching up with some old friends, waiting until I could gracefully leave.

I would like to note that Gina, our server, was a delightful young woman that deserves better than to be stuck delivering such woeful food, and dealing with the crotchety degenerate gamblers that occasionally show up in the dining room. But even she could not save the evening, and it will likely be more than 35 years until I venture back to the old Peter Pan, and in 10 years I will be reminded once again why I prefer to have other people pick my crabs for me.

Concur.

About 5 years ago I took family, about 12 of us, for my birthday. The reservations were for the Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend at 5pm, and we arrived on time. See above for description, 'cept it might have been my kid abusing the peacock.

We were seated, the only ones in the dining section, and were served drinks. We were about to order when we were told the restaurant was closing for the night.

WHAT???

We had reservations! We left a phone number! We were 12 people about to order food - whatever they had left. Maybe the health dept suddenly shut them down??!?!?

As a small child, I was once brought to a magical place that had glittery, shiny ceilings and big ballroom-sized dining rooms filled with elegantly appointed diners. My parents, splurging on the occasion, told me through clenched teeth to "keep quiet or we're never coming again!". That was pre-Cracked Claw and pre-OTB.

Suggestion: Someone buy the place. Get rid of the OTB, get rid of the crabs (too seasonal, too messy, too niche) - then just serve decent quality "fancy" food, family friendly, and leverage that once-elegant decor. What was once a long drive to the country to dine is now a neighborhood place and potentially a darn good location with lots of new Urbana and Clarksburg families. Any chance someone like Voltaggio wants a more down-scale outlet for good food for families???? Or am I dreaming that the current owners would ever give up their precious horsies?

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Anyone remember the old Cracked Claw, pre-Peter Pan Inn? THAT's where my parents took me, no dragging required. I think it had a plastic roof with a tree growing through it... talk about ambience. The Peter Pan Inn version, what with the caged peacocks and the all-you-can eat king crab legs, just never had the same appeal as the original.

Alex

PS - We're talking early elementary school memories here, so I guess there's some chance this is was a Robitussin-induced hallucination... but I'm pretty sure there was a tree growing through the roof.

I seem to remember that too, about 35-40 years ago and much further south on 355. Isn't there still a cracked claw on Wisconsin at River Rd inside the DC line? But I think the other cracked Claw (that was pulled into the Peter Pan) was in the rockville/gaithersburg area? Lots of places like that along 355 were torn out and replaced.

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Suggestion: Someone buy the place. Get rid of the OTB, get rid of the crabs (too seasonal, too messy, too niche) - then just serve decent quality "fancy" food, family friendly, and leverage that once-elegant decor. What was once a long drive to the country to dine is now a neighborhood place and potentially a darn good location with lots of new Urbana and Clarksburg families. Any chance someone like Voltaggio wants a more down-scale outlet for good food for families???? Or am I dreaming that the current owners would ever give up their precious horsies?

From the look of the manager's Mercedes S550, I doubt that they would be willing to sell. Which brings up another question, is there any other 'restaurant' (I use that word loosely here) that reserves the best parking space for the manager?

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From the look of the manager's Mercedes S550, I doubt that they would be willing to sell. Which brings up another question, is there any other 'restaurant' (I use that word loosely here) that reserves the best parking space for the manager?

I think the bada-bing does that. Same league.

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I seem to remember that too, about 35-40 years ago and much further south on 355. Isn't there still a cracked claw on Wisconsin at River Rd inside the DC line? But I think the other cracked Claw (that was pulled into the Peter Pan) was in the rockville/gaithersburg area? Lots of places like that along 355 were torn out and replaced.

Are you thinking of The Dancing Crab? It has been on Wisconsin and Brandywine for about 35 years, and moved next door a few years ago. The Malt Shop, upstairs, was a wonderful dive.

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I'll miss Peter Pan in name only - it was our family Easter destination every year back in the late 60s and early 70s. I can't say I remember it well, but I remember thinking it was a really big deal to go there (haven't been back in since, although I've driven by several times, with mock scorn).

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I'll miss Peter Pan in name only - it was our family Easter destination every year back in the late 60s and early 70s. I can't say I remember it well, but I remember thinking it was a really big deal to go there (haven't been back in since, although I've driven by several times, with mock scorn).

I remember we (me and my siblings) used to love the hush puppies. Peter Pan was our "go to" place for celebrations when my grandmother would come to town. And special birthday celebrations as well, when we weren't going to the Raleigh Inn. And I believe we even had our senior banquet at the Peter Pan, but the location is all I can remember about that event!

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Say hi next time :mellow: We too had an annual spring and fall hike up Sugarloaf mountain (late 60's and 70's) and dinner at the Inn after that. I remember the singer sewing machine bases, the hush puppies and fried chicken and the salad plate of 4 cups that had cottage cheese, apple butter and some other stuff.

I remember we (me and my siblings) used to love the hush puppies. Peter Pan was our "go to" place for celebrations when my grandmother would come to town. And special birthday celebrations as well, when we weren't going to the Raleigh Inn. And I believe we even had our senior banquet at the Peter Pan, but the location is all I can remember about that event!

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Say hi next time :mellow: We too had an annual spring and fall hike up Sugarloaf mountain (late 60's and 70's) and dinner at the Inn after that. I remember the singer sewing machine bases, the hush puppies and fried chicken and the salad plate of 4 cups that had cottage cheese, apple butter and some other stuff.

This post brought back memories that I hadn't thought of in over thirty years. The sewing-machine bases, the fried chicken (with family-style sides?), and especially the salad plate of cottage cheese and apple butter, all evoked memories of my childhood. Thanks for dredging this up - it had been buried deep, deep inside my memory for decades. I have no idea if this food was ever any good, but I really do have fond memories of "making the trip" up here with my family for Easter - and remember that "here" was north of Gaithersburg which, at that time, was considered "farm country." The Montgomery County Fair was "out in the boonies," and it was well south of this. Seneca Valley High School? May as well have been West Virginia, which may as well have been Iowa. Thank you!

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and remember that "here" was north of Gaithersburg which, at that time, was considered "farm country." The Montgomery County Fair was "out in the boonies," and it was well south of this. Seneca Valley High School? May as well have been West Virginia, which may as well have been Iowa. Thank you!

And while at Seneca, many of us firmly believed Silver Spring and Bethesda were the "Inner City". Now, I drive past the Cracked Claw to work in Bethesda every day.

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With my Childlike palette.... the hush puppies were to die for...... then again, I would mix the cottage cheese with the apple butter and thought that was great too!

This post brought back memories that I hadn't thought of in over thirty years. The sewing-machine bases, the fried chicken (with family-style sides?), and especially the salad plate of cottage cheese and apple butter, all evoked memories of my childhood. Thanks for dredging this up - it had been buried deep, deep inside my memory for decades. I have no idea if this food was ever any good, but I really do have fond memories of "making the trip" up here with my family for Easter - and remember that "here" was north of Gaithersburg which, at that time, was considered "farm country." The Montgomery County Fair was "out in the boonies," and it was well north of this. Seneca Valley High School? May as well have been West Virginia, which may as well have been Iowa. Thank you!

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I was reading this thread and thought the Peter Pan Inn reminded me of the Kapok Tree restaurant I went to as young lad in the late 1970s, which was located in the boonies west of Ft. Lauderdale. Lo and behold, they were owned by the same family. Attached is a link to the history of the various restaurants in the group, albeit focusing on the Kapok Tree of Clearwater, Florida. If you search carefully, you can even find a recipe for the hush puppies, aka, corn fritters.

http://benzplace.com/kapok/others.html

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