Just eight miles outside the Beltway in Essex, the Island View Café is located at the end of a rural peninsula jutting into Chesapeake Bay.
Once you’re there and looking out at the bay, you may find yourself (perhaps with the help of a couple of the right brews or cocktails…) feeling like you drove three hours to somewhere on the eastern shore. (But of course the beauty of the Island View Cafe is that it’s less than a half hour drive from most parts of metropolitan Baltimore!)
While the food isn’t necessarily memorable, the views of the bay from the outdoor deck are wonderful (and leave us feeling like we’re far, far away). This small café is a quiet place to eat, sip on a drink and mellow out on a summer’s day maybe taking a stroll around the grounds if you’ve got the energy.
The Island View Cafe only been known by that name since around 2000 – For you old timers, here’s a list of the names that it’s been known by in the past:
1928-1940, Goth’s Grove
1940-1965, Mac’s Grove
1965-1968, Gaff’s Grove
1969-1983, Tom’s Tavern
1983-2000, Island View Inn
July 2000-Present, Island View Waterfront Café
The menu has a variety of options – Maryland Crab or Cream of Crab soups ($5), 10 appetizers ($7-$12), a dozen and a half burgers and sandwiches ($8-$12 – include chips – add $1 for fries) and a handful of entrees like fried chicken, meat loaf, pot roast and chicken pot pie ($12-$14)
I’ll confess that while the food I’ve had is ok, the real reason for you drive out here is to eat some, drink some and just relax and enjoy the view. Do that on the right day and you just can’t go wrong and you’ll be glad you did!
FACTS: Island View Cafe, Essex; 2542 Island View Rd, 410-687-9799; Full bar; limited vegetarian options; www.islandviewwaterfrontcafe.com; Hours change according to the seasons, check to be sure they’re open!