Eps 6 Bayou Restaurant – 73 years of history


1949Bayou Restaurant and Bayou Crab Shack opened as a sandwich shop with Al and Jewel DiDomenico

Converted phone booth from the Bayou Restaurant - a long-standing business in Havre de Grace 

George Wagner – our casual historian – shares a bit about this converted phone booth from the Bayou Restaurant. Lou Ward purchased the restaurant in 1982, converting the phone booth into a great place to show off his collection of photos and articles about the restaurant.

Throughout this post, he shares some of the memorabilia (not the little dutch boy) … old exit lights, original menu from DiDomenico’s, photos, and newspaper clippings.

A fun note: Amanda McFadden, daughter of the DiDomenico’s and owner of the recently closed Amanda’s Florist, remembers using the phone booth to call friends because she wasn’t to tie-up the restaurant phone.

1950s  – renovations – I hope to get more details from Amanda DiDomenico McFadden about the restaurant. I do know Amanda grew up in the upstairs living area of the restaurant. 

architect's drawing of the remodeled Bayou Restaurant of Havre de Grace
Architect’s drawing of the Bayou Restaurant renovations – 1953 or 1955

This architect’s drawing (dated either 1953 or 1955) of the renovations to the Bayou Restaurant is similar to what you see today. 

Silver Chef Bayou Restaurant in Havre de Grace

I think the “Silver Chef” was a seller for commercial kitchens, most likely sponsoring the signage.

Check out this early menu:

Bayou Restaurant menu -1 DiDomenico
Bayou Restaurant - 2 DiDomenico
Bayou Restaurant - 3 DiDomenico

A Responsible Part of HdG History!

In 1961, it was listed as “desegregated,” meaning its owners had made the change following the CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) pressure earlier that year and stuck with the new policy. In this way, the Bayou avoided being the target of a Freedom Ride sit-in on Dec. 16.

from Harford civil rights . org

1982 – Lou and Terri Ward purchase the Bayou

from The Baltimore Sun

At one time they had fresh vegetables growing for the restaurant and ‘after a severe drought, the Wards decided to turn the area into a parking lot.’


The newspaper article mentions the following:

Ward (Lou) said the first change to the restaurant under his ownership was eliminating the automated crab-cake maker. He said the machine would mix shredded crabmeat with filler and stamp them into a shape that resembled a hockey puck. The cakes would then be frozen and served throughout the winter.

“That contraption, when operating, resembled the assembly-line scene from that I Love Lucy episode when Lucy and Ethel were boxing chocolates at a candy factory,” Ward said with a chuckle.

“In response to customer requests, we switched to back-fin crab meat with far less filler. They now rank as our favorite dish,” he said.

Example of Reviews

A guide at one of the local museums directed me to The Bayou, a decades-old restaurant at 927 Pulaski Highway (Route 40). I really enjoyed my broiled crab cake, which was lightly crispy on the outside and filled with sweet, juicy lump crab meat on the inside, and my tasty side of stewed tomatoes.

July 3, 2021 from LancasterOnline

This amazing business captured the many changes that have occurred over the same years in Havre de Grace. The Bayou was closed permanently on December 23, 2022, and the building has been sold. We are happy for Lou and Terri Ward to be able to enjoy new adventures in their retirement. But we also know there are many locals who will miss their regular gatherings there! (AND the crab cakes!!!)

Remember, don’t throw the Havre de Grace ‘stuff’ out when you’re cleaning out a home, settling an estate, or just ‘downsizing,’ without checking in with George. Don’t give him cause to cry!!!

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