Super fresh, super hip seafood and salad hangout in St. Michaels happening spot
BY Tracey F. Johns
Corah’s Corner owners Elijah Ardison, Hannah Wellman, Corynne Ardison and Derek Dombrowski
Imagine relaxing at a delightful café on a bustling tourist street, with happy chatter and gentle breezes of deliciousness surrounding you. Live music fills the air as you dine on locally- sourced seafood sipping craft drinks while visiting with old friends or meeting new ones. What makes this particular café special is that locals and tourists alike embrace the vibe of this place, which adds to the authentic memories everyone takes home with them.
Now, give that café an Eastern Shore atmosphere and you
have Corah’s Corner in St. Michaels, Md. — where four thirty-somethings are living their dream of owning and running a hometown restaurant inspired by their shared love of the Chesapeake Bay and local seafood.
The dream began 15 years ago over a couple of beers on a St. Michaels back porch for high school fishing buddies Derek Dombrowski and Elijah Ardison, both 36.
Dombrowski is a “come here” by way of Mississippi, Florida, and Pennsylvania, before making St. Michaels home at the age of 13. Many know him as co-founder of Total Home Performance, a home weatherization and encapsulation company. Ardison is a returning “from here” and chef trained with David Stein, formerly with Bistro of St. Michaels. He was born in Claiborne, Maryland, and gained culinary inspiration from living in California, Fiji, and St. Thomas before returning to the Shore.
Their wives Hannah Wellman, 32, and Corynne Ardison, 39, joined in making that dream a reality in co-owning Corah’s Corner. The couples signed the lease for the St. Michaels property in February 2020 and made the restaurant the namesake of Corynne and Elijah’s 5-year-old daughter.
Corynne works as a mammography technologist and Wellman as a registered nurse when they’re not working a busy lunch or dinner at Corah’s. Hannah creates the restaurant’s signature lemonades and libations. Elijah serves as Corah’s island-inspired chef and Derek manages administrative duties with the help of My Restaurant of Easton, a group that works with restaurants to manage and perform administrative, technology and promotional services.
The St. Michaels Road and Mill Street corner property sat vacant for some time before Corah’s Corner opened in late June 2020. The restaurant’s cool vibe, creative menu, and al fresco dining quickly gained Corah’s Corner a reputation for bringing people together to savor the taste of local, fresh, and happy.
The menu features Eastern Shore-style food and seafood locally sourced from Wittman Wharf Seafood, Fells Point Wholesale Meats, and Teddy Bear Fresh Produce. Appetizers include crab and duck poutine, baked oysters, oyster stew, and tuna and salmon poke bowls.
Beer-battered fish and chips, oyster and shrimp po’boys, and an herbed lamb burger are other customer favorites, as are Corah’s signature blueberry and other lemonades, and a selection of handcrafted fresh fruit crushes. The warmer months bring guitarists, vocalists, and other performers to Corah’s deck, with Sunday brunch a favorite especially amongst locals.
Dombrowski says Corah’s Corner’s first season brought in many locals as repeat customers along with people visiting the area on weekend getaways, golfers and people on bicycles from the Inn at Perry Cabin, and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum visitors.
“We didn’t expect the tourist turnout we had, and were pleasantly surprised,” said Wellman. “We hoped by summer people would want to be out and about and feel safe doing so. We’ve created an appropriately socially- distanced and clean environment for people to enjoy themselves.
“We wouldn’t be here without the overwhelming support of the community. They recognized what a talent Elijah has for transforming simple and fresh ingredients into delectable entrees full of flavor that make you want to keep coming back for more.”
Corah’s is opening for the season in April 2021 with happy hour specials, Sunday brunch, and an offering of craft cocktails using house-infused spirits like those included in Elijah’s Evil Bloody Mary. To see the menu, hours, and to learn more, visit corahs.com.
105 North Talbot Street
St. Michaels, Md.