Foxy’s turns up the vibe with a new chef, new menu items and expanded indoor-outdoor space
By Tracey F. Johns / Photos by Stephen Walker and Maire McArdle
Owner Terye Knopp pauses for a cool drink after overseeing months of expansion and improvements at Foxy’s Harbor Grill.
Foxy’s Harbor Grille has a 20-year history of bringing an island vibe to St. Michaels harbor with the perfect setting for making great memories at its outside waterfront bar and grill. Guests come from all over the world to enjoy the picturesque setting — arriving by boat or from a leisurely walk through the historic town — to kick back while the brackish air mixes with the delicious scents of food grilling, and the sounds of live music and harbor activity fill the air.
Foxy’s took that vibe to another level this past winter with a big expansion and renovations into the adjacent property. Owner and operator Terye Knopp took on the lease this past December for the property most locals referred to as “the old Town Dock restaurant.” The new space expands Foxy’s kitchen and menu and adds two indoor bars, a private gathering space, and more indoor and outdoor seating for guests. One of the best spots to enjoy a refreshing libation in addition to the original Foxy’s is at the long, waterfront bar, complete with roll-up glass doors to bring the outdoors inside.
Knopp used the winter months and the help of family and friends to refurbish and refresh the expansive restaurant’s space before their planned March 18 opening this year. The renovated space includes bright tropical colors that come with a fresh coat of paint, a new gift shop, upgraded electricity, new ceiling fans, and more. Many of Foxy’s favorites are still on the menu, with chef-inspired entrees like pan-seared softshell crabs, blackened Mahi, and grilled curried vegetables tantalizing your taste buds.
Top: The inviting exterior of the waterside restaurant and bar. Bottom: Refreshed and expanded, the indoor-outdoor seating areas invite patrons to relax and enjoy the food and the harbor view. When it’s nice weather, there are rollup glass doors for a comfortable waterside dining experience.
Knopp says she can seat 400 people in normal times, which now gives ample space for social distancing between two floors of seating areas and a covered waterfront deck. The private, upstairs room with picturesque views of St. Michaels harbor had been booked for three straight months with rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, after-wedding parties, birthday parties, family reunions, corporate events, and more. All canceled at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, with the private room’s ample distancing space now creating new bookings.
Knopp also added more local talent to her team this past winter, including Chef Mark McGrogan, Sous Chef Erin Mayer, Food & Beverage Manager John Chiusano, Front of the House Manager Mike Campbell, Bar Manager Samantha Jenkins, Facilitations Manager Brad Krantz, and Operations Manager Melanie Steffi.
“We were planning for a big grand opening and were shut down within 48 hours due to COVID,” Knopp said. In addition to celebrating Foxy’s major expansion, this year had big events planned to mark Foxy’s 20th anniversary, and Knopp’s 10th anniversary owning and operating the island-vibe restaurant and deck bar.
Instead, Knopp says she and her staff “leaned into each other,” while the community wrapped their arms around them with compassion and support. Knopp and her staff took nearly $20,000 in ordered food and liquor for the opening event and stocked the freezers and bars. All the fresh produce was given to staff members. Together, they planned various scenarios for a safe re-opening, while anticipating and following Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s phased re-opening plan announcements each Wednesday.
“My managers were here every day, ready to act on the latest quarantine lifts,” Knopp said. “In the beginning, no one imagined we’d be closed for 90 days.”
New chef Mark McGrogan proudly presents some new menu items like pan-seared blackened mahi, conch fritters and key lime cheesecake.
She says they re-opened with carryout only on Memorial Day weekend and resumed outdoor dining with social distancing the week after. Indoor seating was re-introduced with social distancing measures by the end of June.
“While we were closed, we participated in the Feed the Frontline initiative, started by local restaurateur Chris Agharabi,” Knopp said. “We joined other local restaurants to help feed and serve our first responders by making more than 50 lunches for people at the St. Michaels Volunteer Fire Department, Choptank Community Health, and the Town of St. Michaels Waterworks Department. It was a great way for all of us to come together in service. Something at the heart of everything we do here.
“Now, it’s great to be back. And we’re committed to celebrating Foxy’s 20th anniversary this fall — in whatever shape or form that will be — with a nostalgic celebration including $5 martinis and more.”
Foxy’s island vibes, great food, and live music may draw boaters and guests from throughout the world. Most important, however, are the locals who stay as loyal patrons and employees to the 20-year old restaurant and bar.
“Despite the impacts of COVID to our business, I know we’re still very lucky,” said Knopp. “It’s a less difficult hill to climb when so many people and other businesses are routing for you.”
125 Mulberry Street
St. Michaels, MD
Open Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.