« | Main | »

Bill Devine – Owner of Baltimore’s Legendary Restaurant Faidley’s (Crab Cakes!!)

By Admin | January 6, 2008

Bill Devine is the owner and manager of Baltimore’s iconic seafood place Faidley’s, located close to the Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. Faidley’s was listed in the recently published book 1000 Places To See Before You Die (USA and Canada) by Patricia Schultz and is perennially included in the Zagat’s Survey.

Who founded the store? What was the history behind the founding?

The business known as Smith & Faidley began in Lexington Market in 1886. This Mr. Faidley was my wife’s grandfather. The business as it is now known, with an entrance on the Paca Street side of the market, developed and grew in the 1960’s onward.

Right now you and your wife run the store. When the time comes will the next generation take over or will the store leave the family?

It is hard to tell. Right now, my grandson is the fifth generation working in the business and I have a nephew working with us as well.

How long is the Maryland blue crab season and where do your crabs come from in the off season?

The Maryland season is generally May through October. However, we get blue crab products from North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

Do you make your crab cakes fresh daily?

Yes, daily. We serve three different styles of crab cakes each with a distinctive size and grade of crab meat.

We make a regular crab cake that is our smaller, spicier and more modestly priced crab cake made from regular grade crab meat.

The “backfin” crab cake is our medium, smoother tasting and average priced crab cake made from “backfin” grade crab meat.

And finally, our award winning all “Lump” that is our largest, richest and higher priced crab cake made with “lump” grade crab meat.

During this past holiday season, Nancy Devine Faidley made 4700 “lump” crab cakes for in house and shipping sales.


Do you buy the whole crab and clean and “pick” them yourselves or do you buy bulk crab meat?

No, crab meat is purchased from experienced suppliers who pick, “grade” and package the product for use.

Who is your biggest competitor in the crab cake business in Baltimore?

No one. We are not just in the crab cake business. We have a distinctive quality and ambiance that is not matched anywhere.

Are you concerned about the declining crab population in the Chesapeake Bay. There were 900 million crabs in the bay in the early 1990s and now there only 280 million crabs in the bay. What do you think needs to be done to save the Maryland blue crab?

There is always concern when our greatest natural resources are in jeopardy. Control measures must be taken to manage pollutants, product growth, harvesting and distribution.

Your store won best crab cake awards in the 1990s. How are you doing in the awards competition recently?

We have won many different forms of awards including “one of the ten best dishes in the world”.

As for local accolades, we have won best crab cake over the years from Baltimore Magazine – probably since the inception of the award.

In a letter to us from the Chief Operating Officer of Baltimore Magazine, they recognized that we had won “Best of . . .” awards so many times . . . [they] practically had to retire the category.”

We do not go out looking for these awards or entering contests, these are all unsolicited. We continue to receive recognition from many sources; we just stop posting everything because we have run out of room!

Other than crab cakes, what is Faidley’s next best dish?

Our fried fish sandwiches. It is the real thing!

Do you ever eat at your competitors to see what they are up to?

We may eat at other seafood restaurant venues but not to see what they are up to.

What is the secret to Faidley’s great crabcakes? What ingredients or cooking techniques?


You are listed as one of the 1000 places to see before you die in the recent guidebook that just came out by Patricia Schultz. Did your business pick up after that book came out?

You get a “bump” in business. Devotees generally do not run out and immediately check on a business.

We get people who bring in books, magazines and newspaper articles that they have saved and stowed away for the distinct purpose of seeing us when they are in town.

Time after time, we hear “I saw you on “Rachel Ray” or “Food Network” and couldn’t wait to come here”.

Copyright 2008 DailyInterview.com

Topics: Restaurant Owners | No Comments »


You must be logged in to post a comment.