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Barn 34
Written By: Jenny Samuels
*Click images below to view larger versions.
Barn 34
Barn 34
The happy staff poses in front of an old Pirate’s Den sign on the second level of new restaurant, Barn 34.
Barn 34
Beth, Sara, and Rachel look beautiful behind the hostess stand—an old-fashioned radio—at Barn 34.
Barn 34
The Lawson family—longtime Ocean City restaurateurs—Mike Jr., Mary Anne and Mike Sr., welcome you to Barn 34.
    Who remembers the Pirate’s Den? It was a family restaurant in Ocean City that earned a reputation for serving legendary breakfasts. Today, those same breakfasts are being served at a new operation, Barn 34. Owned and operated by the Lawson family, the same family that made the Pirate’s Den a success, Barn 34 serves food and spirits for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The new location, inside the former Christmas Spirit along Coastal Highway, makes the restaurant easy to find.
    The entrée menu at Barn 34 changes daily, which guarantees fresh, seasonal recipes. This week, our friendly and attentive server, Amber, recommends the Grilled Tuna topped with mango butter and served with Risotto and sautéed vegetables. Other entrée specials at Barn 34 when we dined there this week were Filet Mignon, and Tomato Basil Alfredo Pasta with shrimp or chicken. Surf & Turf options abound, including Filet with broiled Crabcake, Shrimp, or Scallops.
    We delighted in the Filet Mignon with Crabcake and Scallops. The filet is locally sourced from an Ocean City butcher. The produce at Barn 34 is also locally sourced, and the fish is supplied from the local commercial fishing harbor. Lumps of crabmeat are piled high within each Crabcake. The Scallops are tender, and the Risotto with Parmesan and mushrooms is exceptionally delicious.
    Fish Tacos are a popular, permanent fixture on the menu at Barn 34. Dock fresh Mahi Mahi is grilled and topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, Pico de gallo, avocado, and special sauce, and served in Barn 34’s famous soft shell. Owner Mary Anne Lawson modeled the recipe after Puerto Rican fish tacos. The Lawson family frequently travels to Puerto Rico. You’ll notice many hints of Spanish influence on the menu.
    Barn 34 is already well known for its Burgers and Chicken Sandwiches. Half-pound burgers are made from fresh ground chuck from the same local butcher that provides steaks to the restaurant. Try a Barn 34 Burger or Chicken Sandwich with your choice of cheeses, including feta, bleu cheese, or goat cheese. Named after owner Mike Lawson,  “The Big Mike” Burger is topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, teriyaki, and grilled onion. Named after a local brewery, the Burley Oak Burger is stuffed with onions and pepper jack cheese, and made with special Burley Oak sauce. The Blackened Fish Sandwich is another worthy highlight on the menu, as well as Crabcake Sandwich, Triple Decker Club, Grilled Four Cheese, and Turkey with Avocado & Sprouts with chipotle sauce on marbled bread.
    For our appetizer, we ordered the Blackened Seared Tuna. Served on homemade tortilla chips with wasabi and sweet Thai chili sauce on top of seaweed salad, perfectly seared tuna is blackened with zesty, tasty seasonings. Pinchos & Plantains is another tempting appetizer, consisting of marinated chicken skewer plantains served with dip. The 34th Street Big Dipper Dip is a concoction of corn, jalapeños, chili peppers, red pepper, melted cream cheese, Monterey Jack, and Parmesan. Bacon Wrapped Scallops with sweet Thai chili sauce is another winning appetizer at Barn 34. An array of Salads is also on the menu, including Summer Salad—fresh spinach, blueberries, raspberries, feta cheese, and homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing.
    While the dinner entrees at Barn 34 are enhancing the restaurant’s reputation for serving top-quality meals, the breakfast menu keeps customers visiting Barn 34 in droves. Captain Crunch French Toast is earning accolades. Mike Lawson, Jr., recommends any one of many Benedict recipes, such as Soft Shell Benedict and Portabella Benedict with Avocado.  The M.A. Benedict is traditional Benedict on a toasted croissant with two poached eggs, sautéed spinach, and curried hollandaise sauce.
    Hiram’s Special is another hearty breakfast option—Cream Chip Beef on two pancakes or waffles. Try The Beach Babe for scrambled eggs, sautéed onions, potato, red peppers, and chorizo stuffed into a flour tortilla with salsa and cheese. Or, order the Collingwood for herbed cream cheese, sautéed spinach, tomato, and thinly sliced ham served on an everything bagel.
    For customers with a sweet tooth, Barn 34 offers Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, and Breads and Pastries. Try the Sweet Potato & Pecans Pancakes, or the Nutella and Banana Waffle. You may also Build Your Own Omelet, or try the Crab and Cheddar Omelet. My favorite breakfast special on the menu is Babbling Berries—a heated flour tortilla filled with warm strawberries, blueberries, and raspberry sauce topped with whipped cream.
    The nightlife at Barn 34 is happening too. Thirsty Thursday, hailing from the days of the Pirate’s Den, carries on at Barn 34 with drink specials, live bands, and local crowds. Reggae and classic rock music softly plays through the restaurant’s sound system. Reclaimed wood, copper details, and longboards add to the rustic, beach barn ambiance of the transformed Christmas Spirit at Barn 34 on 34th Street & Coastal Highway.
    The Lawson family completely gutted and renovated the entire establishment during the last year. Local artists, designers, and laborers contributed to the two-level project, which has quickly become a local favorite. Happy hour is daily at both the downstairs and upstairs bar. Drink specials and recipes change daily. Strawberry & Cucumber Ginger Beer was the cocktail special recently.
    For dessert, we indulged in Rita’s Delight—yellow cake with fresh pineapple chunks, creamy custard, and fresh coconut shavings. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus at Barn 34 each include kid’s menus. Breakfast is served from 7 AM until 1:30, Monday through Saturday, and until 3:00 on Sunday. For more information about breakfast, lunch, dinner, or nightlife at Barn 34, dial 410-289-5376.

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