So, Holly’s closed.


After more than half a century, the multi-generational family business and regional culinary landmark served up their last piece of Eastern Shore fried chicken and their final chocolate milkshake this past Sunday.

Located in Grasonville along the Rt50/301 highway, about ten miles from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, Holly’s Restaurant opened in 1955, three years after the bridge’s completion. For many of us around here, as well as for a multitude of folks who passed through over the decades, Holly’s has been a part of our whole lives.


Holly’s is now one of those places.

One of those places that used to be, but isn’t any more.

Carnabucci’s carryout, The Islander, Leonard Smith’s store, Fox’s five and dime stores, Bill’s Bargain Center, the Stuckey’s in Grasonville, Dezi’s, The Circle Restaurant, Tastee Freeze, Capt. Alex’s, Gil Dunn’s pharmacy, Ebb Tide, Grollman’s Hardware and Liquor, Bob’s Mini-mart, Anglers, Jinx’s, dozens of places, so many I have trouble recalling them all…and now Holly’s – all places that seemed like they’d always be there, and then one day ‘poof’, they disappear. Gone. Only existing in the flimsy tatters of our collective memory.


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Some places are other places now, like how Hillside is Georgie’s now, and how Yachtsman Inn is now Café Sadu, and like how no matter what the sign outside that one place might ever say, it’ll always be No Place to me.


For me, Ram’s Head Shore House will always be, not even the Island Inn, but the Silver Dollar. That building has been there a long time, and before we ever even came along, it’d been called a bunch of different names.

Don’t care.

It’s the Silver Dollar.

Throughout the generations that preceded us here on the Eastern Shore, landmarks came and went. A hundred years ago, the Love Point Hotel was one of the grandest of those Chesapeake Bay resorts that dominated regional tourism – until Ocean City boomed. That place in particular died a pitiful death.



My grandparents spent their money at community institutions I probably never heard of. General stores. Farm equipment dealerships.  Beauty shops.

I bet when my parents were young and running around, there were hotspots that they could never imagine not being there.

And then they weren’t there.

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It’s sad because it marks the passing of our time here.

Reminds us how fleeting life really is.

But it’s joyous, too.

Because I get it.

Because if I learned anything from those old Tuesday and Thursday nickel beer nights at Waterman’s Inn, I learned that it’s always a good idea to leave while somebody’s still gonna miss ya.



Photos Courtesies and thanks to: Mike Bedard (Holly’s closed), Marlene Meyers (Holly’s flooded),  Mike Rosendale (Gil Dunn ad), The Ewings (The Circle), Will Clark (Anglers), Jane Coppage (The Islander),  Kent Island Heritage Society (Love Point Hotel), and J. Eric Drummer (Holly’s ashtray)

 Jane & John Martin @ Ebb Tide, Courtesy: Kevin George  —-  Julius Grollman,Courtesy:  Kent Island Heritage Society  —-  Jane and Jinx Legg,Courtesy: Kristen Legg Thomas   

34 thoughts on “SO, HOLLY’S CLOSED

  1. Jeez….was wondering when they were going to shut the doors. Heard a few months back they’d sold to Royal Farms or some other of the gas and grocery joints that it seems we’re seeing more and more of these days. Steph and I stopped there Western Shore bound several weeks back and got our last chocolate shake – boy am I glad we made that stop! Holly burger and fries. Thank you for the write – I always enjoy your work!

  2. Dear Brent: This one brought tears to my eyes. When we moved here 13 years ago, my husband’s friends from Washington would drive over to meet him and have a late breakfast at Holly’s on Saturday mornings. They were a great group of guys who had known each other for a lot of years. When Bill died, the breakfasts stopped. And several more of the gang passed away shortly after. I forwarded this to the youngest, the only one I know who is left. His name is Tom, a wonderful young man who hung out with the old guys and soaked in their wisdom. I told him that the torch has passed. And indeed it has, as it must. But, like you, Holly’s and places like Holly’s will always exist for me in my fondest memories of Bill and his friends.

  3. Wonderful article Brent. I have been in the shadows watching the close of this piece of history for quite some time. As sad as it is to see such a long time community landmark disappear into our memory it brings on opportunities for those who were in limbo as the clock stood still in this old establishment. The doors closed so that the older seasoned employees can slow their pace and the younger can make their mark doing something else. God Bless them all.

    • Thank you very much for commenting, Bonnie. Sometimes it’s hard to know if what I’m putting out there is landing anywhere. This particular post seems to have touched a lot of people. I’m grateful. Please stick with me.

  4. I will miss Holly’s went there for breakfast every time I cross the bridge to go to O.C. Where I am going to go to now? 😦

  5. Do not for get the waters man inn and the hotel where Hardee’s is at can not remember the name of it also don’t for get Joe downies I believe that is how it was spelled. I enjoyed reading your article brought back so many memories growing up. hard to believe what was then and what is now time fly’s thanks for the memories

    • ahh, Waterman’s Inn. I got those nickel beer nights in at the end. That place was something special. And the Islander is in that one pic, that’s the hotel was where Hardee’s is. Glad you enjoyed the post Joe, and very happy you took the time to comment! Please continue to check in!

  6. This is so sad. Hollys was always a place where we stopped on the way to the beach
    and on the way home. I was just there the weekend after Labor day. We will miss Hollys. Best of luck yo
    you all.

  7. So sad… , “So long” -to so many fine spots and finer people. Though I’m just another chicken-necker, I do remember many of the spots you noted. Thanks for these great pix and your typically fine thoughts and comments !

  8. Not sure how I missed this one. Really enjoyed reading it. One of the places gone but not forgotten was Peggy’s Dinner. The reference to hot spots mom and dad made me think of it.

    Norma Coursey


    Ashley Premier Properties


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