Make us your home page
Instagram

B&P's Billy Blue Crabs brings the Maryland delicacy back to Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE

Floridians know that when it comes to seafood, there are few things better than hovering over a mound of fresh steamed blue crabs.

It's not just the eating. It's the ordeal of cracking, picking and fishing meat out of the shells that lets one know there's probably no morsel of flesh as sweet as a hard-won bit of crab.

Bill Scarpo understands this well. Four years ago, he took a stab at bringing a taste of his native Baltimore to Hernando County by launching an authentic Maryland-style crab house in Spring Hill. Although the idea initially was a hit, high rent and a faltering economy forced him to finally pull up stakes last year.

A few weeks ago, Scarpo decided to refloat his crab shack idea, this time taking up shop in the dormant Florida Boy's Bar-B-Q restaurant building on the west side of Brooksville. Like before, B&P's Billy Blue Crabs revolves around the area's abundance of fresh-caught blue crabs and other Gulf of Mexico delicacies.

For Scarpo, who has spent the better part of 15 years in the seafood restaurant business, knowing one's niche is key.

"I've never been all that interested in upscale dining," Scarpo said. "I'm shooting for more of a Cheers atmosphere — a friendly, inexpensive family place where you can just relax and have a good time and not worry about having to impress someone."

For that reason, diners won't find themselves surrounded by fancy decor. Scarpo knows that crab eaters aren't into linen tablecloths. Rather, a sheet of brown paper and a couple of mallets seem to do just fine for picking through a mess of crabs.

When it comes to preparing blue crabs, Scarpo believes simple is best. His are trucked in live daily from Hernando Beach and are steamed in a Maryland-style broth of beer, vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. The restaurant also offers garlic-prepared crabs. Both sell at market price. Each Monday, there's an all-you-can-eat blue crab special for $23.95.

Scarpo's crab cakes ($7.95 for an appetizer or $14.95 for the dinner) are intensely personal as well. He uses only choice lump meat, and the cakes, which are offered broiled or fried, are prepared according to a recipe handed down by his family.

Sticking to local flavor whenever possible is also key. But while he relies mostly on fresh Gulf of Mexico seafood, Scarpo's menu also includes dishes made from fresh North Atlantic haddock ($7.95 for a sandwich), snow crabs and mussels from up North.

"My aim is to offer a lot of food variety to our customers," Scarpo said. "We'll pretty much cook any kind of seafood people want, however they want it."

There's more on the menu than crab and seafood. Scarpo has revived the restaurant's original barbecue pit for baby back ribs (half rack for $10.95), chicken and pork. And though there are a few pasta dinner entrees, Scarpo and his partner, Pearl Stuckey, are already considering adding more to the menu.

All entrees come with a choice of two sides. The restaurant is in the process of getting a license to serve beer and wine.

"We're just getting going, so we'll definitely be adding some things as we go along," Scarpo said. "But our goal is to be known as the destination for people who love to eat crabs. That's what we do best."

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1435.

If you go

B&P's Billy Blue Crabs is at 915 W Jefferson St. in Brooksville. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For information and reservations, call (352) 593-4185.

About this feature

Diversions publishes a periodic feature called "What's Cooking," a look at some of Hernando County's favorite dining spots. We welcome recommendations from readers. If you have a place in mind for us to visit, please drop us a line at What's Cooking, Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613, or e-mail your suggestion to lneill@sptimes.com. Be sure to include the name and address of the restaurant and a brief description of what you like about it.

B&P's Billy Blue Crabs brings the Maryland delicacy back to Brooksville 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Do you want Walmart in your home when you're not?

    Retail

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.

    Delivery workers who drop off Walmart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you're not home.
[ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times file photo]

  2. Trumps travel ban to be replaced by restrictions tailored to certain countries

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, the New York Times reports, citing officials familiar with the plans.

    President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from six majority-Muslim countries is set to be replaced as soon as this weekend with more targeted restrictions on visits to the United States that would vary by country, officials familiar with the plans said Friday. The new restrictions, aimed at preventing security threats from entering the United States, could go into effect Sunday after the conclusion of a 90-day policy review undertaken as part of the administration's original travel ban. Though the restrictions would differ for each country, people living in the targeted nations could be prevented from traveling to the United States or could face increased scrutiny as they seek to obtain a visa. [Associated Press]
  3. In dollars: How valuable are Florida's university football programs?

    Business

    The University of Florida football program is valued in a new study at $682 million, making it the most valuable university team in the state but still worth far less than several college programs topping $1 billion. Four years ago, UF's program was valued at just under $600 million.

    The University of Florida football program is valued at  $682 million, making it the most valuable by far in the Sunshine State. Pictured are UF cheerleaders leading the crowd in a Gator cheer on Clearwater Beach last December during the Outback Bowl Beach Day on Clearwater Beach. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  4. After 22 years, it's last call for beloved Ybor venue New World Brewery

    Music & Concerts

    YBOR CITY — Steve Bird spreads his tools across a patio table. He has awnings to unbolt and paraphernalia to unpry, from the busted Bop City neon by the stage to the Simpsons "El Duffo o Muerte" mural in the courtyard. He'll uproot a fountain and dismantle a roof and attempt to keep his bar intact. The …

    Various decor and memorabilia fill the walls and shelves at New World Brewery in Ybor City.
Long time music venue and hangout New World Brewery in Ybor City will be closing it's doors and moving locations. Patrons enjoy one of the last events before New World Brewery changes its location to Busch Blvd in Tampa.  [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  5. Florida bought more Pasta Passes from Olive Garden than almost any other state

    Food & Dining

    Floridians would like their bowls of pasta to never, ever end.

    Florida was the No. 2 state with the largest number of Olive Garden Pasta Pass purchases, an unlimited pasta pass for $100. Photo courtesy Olive Garden.