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Nov 2, 2009 06:49 PM

Sambo's Tavern (Leipsic, Delaware)

More than twenty-five years after my previous visit, I had the opportunity recently to return to Delaware's finest crab shack: Sambo's Tavern in Leipsic, Delaware, just outside of Dover.

A humble tavern overlooking the bay, Sambo's has been a fixture in Leipsic for several decades.
Comprised of two rooms: enter the bar area, with a handful of tables or walk to the main dining room with perhaps two dozen tables and a view of the bay.

The menu is comprised of a variety of bar foods, including pizza, salads and fries. But the real draw, and the only reason to visit, besides the friendly waitresses, are the crabs. Harvested from waters 9 miles off the coast of Delaware (it is illegal, I learned, to crab in the bay) and sold by the dozen ($25), eaten by hand on newspaper-draped tables using a mallet, a knife and brute force.
Sambo's is open from April to November only. There is seasonal variation in the size and quality of the crabs served. In late October, crabs ran about a half-pound each and were juicy and tasty, coated in salt, seasonings and, dare I say, a bit of sand. Wash them down with a pitcher of beer
(my preference, PBR, by the can). Service is cheerful and the dining room is a mixture of local regulars and a smattering of tourists, like me. I understand that during NASCAR season at nearby Dover Downs, the crowds can be thick.

Reservations are accepted. Web site? Not Sambo's. They still do things the old-fashioned way.

Arrive in Leipsic a bit early? Be sure to spend a few hours at the Bombay Hook Federal Wildlife Refuge nearby (, where you can see a variety of beautiful migratory and wading birds in a salt marsh created for the purpose.

Sambo's Tavern
283 Front St, Leipsic, DE 19901

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  1. I went through Leipsic a few years ago but missed out on Sambos. I was on the way to Bombay Hook where I saw the greatest show on Earth. Thousands of Snow Geese coming in to roost in late afternoon.
    Congratulations on your blog and good call to plug the Hook.
    Best wishes
    George Warburton

    1. I might add, forget it on NASCAR race weekends. They are jammed, with race car drivers, and teams & owners, reservations only. There is a rule that no one can bother them, and I have seen people get asked to leave for violating this. It is so crowded you can't move, and so noisy you almost have to shout. But somehow the food is still Perfect.

      I also will add, it is a tavern license, NO children allowed. I saw Velma ask, and apologize as she did, Bobby LaBonte to leave as he had his wife and baby with him.