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Farm fresh catch at Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar

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Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar

by Madison White Franks

Located in the small bustling town of Colonial Beach, Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar could be considered a hidden gem.

Established in 1912, Denson’s is a third generation, family-owned and -operated grocery store and restaurant.

My husband, Taylor, and I chose to make the trek to Colonial Beach one Saturday afternoon to enjoy a late lunch at Denson’s. We were pleasantly surprised when turning onto Colonial Avenue where we observed street-legal golf carts and a lively atmosphere.

Upon approaching Denson’s, our first impression was that it was a small restaurant with outdoor seating that seemed to be a staple to the area. Our hostess and waitress, Lilly, informed us that there was no outdoor seating available so we were seated at a two-top in their small sun-filled indoor dining area where we could enjoy a good view of the town.

Of course I had a little difficulty deciding what to order because of the appetizing meal options. Their menu choices change daily based on the availability of certain items.

Taylor and I chose to throw together a variety of options. I wanted to try their fried Chesapeake Bay sugar toads—a new dish for me. They were described as “the tail section of the Northern pufferfish. The fish is as ugly as a toad, but the meat is as sweet as sugar! Coated with House-Autry and fried until golden. Served with sweet chili sauce.”

I also selected a grilled romaine salad, described on the menu as a romaine half drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and cracked black pepper, grilled and topped with diced red onion, chopped tomato, crumbled bacon and bleu cheese. Optional add-ons included fried oysters, grilled or fried shrimp or a crab cake. I chose a crab cake with strawberry vinaigrette dressing.

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Taylor decided to get a caprese salad, fresh mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil finished with balsamic vinaigrette. I then suggested he try their oysters and he picked six grilled oysters, two-two-two, Denson’s style, a garlic butter parmesan topping; Rockefeller style, a spinach and parmesan cheese topping; and “cackalacky,” Buffalo-style with celery pieces.

When the “toad” arrived, Lilly offered instructions for peeling the meat from the single bone down the middle to reap the most enjoyment from the meal. The meat easily slid off the bone. Within one bite, it became our new favorite fish.

When it came to the oysters, Taylor preferred the Denson’s and Rockefeller styles. I am allergic to oysters so I sampled only the toppings. The variety of styles proved a fun and delicious way of serving oysters. They were shucked by Arnold at the outdoor seating area called LeGrand’s Patio.

The grilled romaine salad was a new experience for me and the crab cake was a delicious addition to the plate.

Denson’s also has Trickling Springs Ice Cream Window where they serve ice cream in waffle cones, cake cones and sugar cones as well as milkshakes and sundaes.

Although Colonial Beach is a bit of a trek from my residence in Deltaville, I would make the trip again to enjoy the awesome food at Denson’s.

posted 06.29.2017

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