At Stilts Bar and Grill, in Marriott’s Crystal Shores, the breathtaking view is so stunning, it seems almost artificial. The dining room is just a backdrop, designed with colors, textures and lines that bring the feel of the ocean right inside. Slowly swirling rattan ceiling fans, cordovan brown wood floors, shell stucco and weathered bronze take casual elegance into the realm of spectacular.
Beach umbrellas in jewel tones dot the beach below, as far as the eye can see, in rows of yellow for one hotel, cobalt blue for another. Sailboats rigged with white canvas shimmer motionlessly against the surreal brilliance of the horizon, while waverunners spray rooster tails and wakes to the delight of passers-by.
Friendly and knowledgeable servers, dressed in ocean-blue and sand-beige, will chat with you while you wait, even if you’re not seated at their table. Their easygoing warmth adds another dimension to the pleasure of lunch, dinner or cocktails at Stilts.
Even the menu at Stilts is soothing and refreshing as the surf — names of entrees like scallop poppers, jumbo lump crab salad, Chesapeake crab cake sandwich and island coconut shrimp are written in letters that look like seabirds’ legs at water’s edge. Prices are straightforward numerals. No dollar signs, zeros, 99 cents or decimal points here.
The Lukacsko family, of Dallas and Marco Island, dine at Stilts frequently. “We love coming here,” says Debby Lukacsko. “The view is so special, and there’s always a lovely, soft breeze, like trade winds. It’s nice to be in such a uniquely beautiful place. The food? Oh, yes, the food is wonderful.”
During summer, the menu is evolving, as management and staff get ready for season.
“What fresh, top-quality seafood, expertly prepared to order, in large portions, island-style and in accommodation of our guests’ wishes comes down to, is a menu that offers tremendous value,” says Wesley Langlois, food and beverage manager at Stilts.
Langlois recommends the orange spicy shrimp salad, always on the restaurants’ menu at just $12. Fresh, pink shrimp, breaded and tossed in orange glaze, are piled high on a bed of delicate greens, sprinkled with finely chopped, ripe tomatoes and fragrant herbs.
Or, try the Maryland crab quesadilla, only $16, which is an artistic blend of real crab meat, fresh-cut tomatoes and onions, Old Bay seasoning and crumbled Monterrey jack cheese.
Order the Maryland classic, Chesapeake crab cake sandwich, also $16, which is served on a toasted, fresh-baked roll, with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce, with French fries or fresh fruit on the side.
In August and September, you can buy two entrees, and receive a half-price bottle of featured wine, Rosenbloom chardonnay or cabernet, as a special promotion. Just mention that you heard about it.
From 11 a.m. to noon every day, mimosas and Bloody Marys are specially priced at $5. From 2 to 6 p.m., special happy hour prices make well drinks $5, house wines $5, and draft beers $3.
“We do our best to make people happy,” says Langlois. “So, when we see the look on peoples’ faces, when they walk up to the restaurant, that makes us happy.”
IF YOU GO:
600 S. Collier Blvd. in Marriott’s Crystal Shores
Open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Live entertainment Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.