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Captain Benders Tavern

Published: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 01:11


2010 The Picket (Photo courtesy of Ben Gibson)

Stephen Kemmet, seen here at his establishment, is the owner and propietor of Captain Benders Tavern in Sharpsburg, Md.

In the surrounding areas, the criteria for critiquing an eatery are heavily based on location, history, and most important affordability. Upon dining at Bender's, it became apparent that accomplishing satisfaction on all three levels was, in fact, possible. Never mind the warm esthetics of the establishment because, for this owner, food quality and service are his top priorities.

For an atmosphere rich with history and full of flavor, simply cross the bridge and head to Captain Benders in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The restaurant/bar located on Main Street in Sharpsburg is quaint and casual and is kept secret enough that the service is always quick. The drink specials and plate prices at Benders are ideal for college students because everything is affordable. The majority of the menu items are under $10. Daily happy hour specials, as well as the always-running $5 buckets of PBR and Natty Boh, keep a good time at a minimal cost.

The menu at Benders includes a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. 

The wings are huge and come in a variety of flavors: Old Bay, Ol' Louisiana Jerk, BBQ, Mild, and Hot.  Upon tasting the wings in the surrounding area, it is safe to say that Bender's serves the best.  Readers should be advised that the hot wings are extremely hot! The key ingredient in the hot sauce is the ghost pepper; the hottest pepper in the world.  

Another popular choice is the fried pickles with spicy dipping sauce.  Some may be frightened by the concept of a fried pickle, but shouldn't.  Think mozzarella sticks with a pickle in the center instead of cheese.  The fried pickles are delicious and are a must try for any pickle enthusiast!

The salads at Bender's are great too. A fantastic recommendation is the Hub City Salad.  It is made with chopped romaine lettuce, an assortment of garden vegetables, bacon, shredded cheese, blackened chicken and a pistachio lime vinaigrette dressing.  The flavors blend perfectly together and are lighter than many other menu offerings. 

Another thing that sets Captain Bender's apart is that they offer their own food challenge called "The Monument."  This challenge includes: three 8 oz Black Angus burger patties stacked on a kaiser roll with lettuce and tomato, with layers of chili, cheese, hot sauce, fried pickles, onion rings and spicy dipping sauce.  The sandwich is served with a dill pickle spear and a plate of cheese fries topped with bacon and sour cream.  The challenge is to finish the entire plate in 30 minutes, and the meal is free.  Failure of the challenge costs around $30. 

All of the food at Bender's is made on-site as soon as the order is placed. The sauces are homemade using the owner's specific recipes, which can be purchased upon the request. 

Captain Bender's Tavern also offers a variety of drink challenges.  The most recent is the duck-duck-goose, where the customer drinks two specialty shots out of a duck decoy and a third out of a goose decoy.  The winner is awarded a free t-shirt and the luxury of being the drunkest person at the bar. 

Bender's offers a change of scenery and an escape from monotony of German Street, and with the Bender shuttle service available on campus every weekend; people don't have to compromise safety at the expense of a good time. 

4 out of 5 stars

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