BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A landmark leaving. Harborplace, the center of Baltimore’s biggest tourist attraction, is losing a major tenant. After three decades, Phillips Seafood is moving out.

Weijia Jiang has new developments on Phillips’ possible future.

The news generated emotional reaction all day long, but in a late breaking development, it appears Phillips might not be that far away from here when it moves out.

For many–Marylanders or not–Phillips Seafood is a landmark as prominent as the Inner Harbor, where the restaurant has been a staple for 31 years.

But the pair is breaking up.

In a stunning announcement, the company says, “Phillips Harborplace has terminated their lease at the Inner Harbor effective Sept. 30, 2011. We are exploring other options in the Baltimore market.”

“I don’t know where we gonna come for our happy hour and fun,” said Susan Wilkens, Phillips Harborplace customer.

“I think it’s tragic,” said George Thompson, Phillips Harborplace customer.

Phillips is the last of the original Harborplace tenants. Since opening in 1980, it’s been the keystone of the Light Street Pavilion.

But Phillips is pulling all three locations there: the main restaurant, the buffet hall, and the to-go counter.

“Life evolves, things change, cities change and we’re very confident something new could come in and be even better,” Laurie Schwartz, Waterfront Partnership.

“I talked to General Growth,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “They already have an exciting tenant signed up. You know one door closes, another door opens. But it’s certainly going to be sad.”

Maybe not that sad after all.

Late Friday, WJZ’s media partner the Baltimore Sun reported Phillips is close to signing a deal to stay near the Inner Harbor and move less than half a mile away to the site of the old ESPN Zone, which shut down last June.

“I’m feeling fine,” said a Phillips employee. “They said just be patient.”

No deal for the new location of Phillips has been confirmed.

Phillips has several other locations including Ocean City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Comments (42)
  1. Bill says:

    Good, they really lost the touch for good seafood. I had guests in town and got a crab cake there, II was embarassed, the little sub shop near me has much better crab cakes. Not like the Phillips when I was a kid

  2. Mark says:

    Good. They must have realized their seafood wasn’t good enough for Baltimore. We all stopped eating there b/c crab wasn’t crab anymore. Its a shame they couldn’t have funneled good seafood into at least one restaurant location and stayed in town.

  3. WMG says:

    i agree, good – their foods sucks anyway; just another chain who lost focus on quality and authentic MD staples…ie… crabcakes

  4. michale says:

    Good, especially when they’re trying to win customers over with their $29 dollar all you can eat seafood buffet. Really is someone going to pay that much to eat versus grabbing a pizza or sub in the other eateries at the harbor shops..

  5. Bill says:

    I never did like them they are over rated over priced and over the hill, good riddance

  6. hon says:

    Bill you are exactly right——– I could get a better crab cake or fish meal at a sub shop and less expensive— they wore out that name to greed rather than keeping with quality….

  7. ed says:

    Phillips blows, thjey use Asian crab meat that is s…..t tasting.

  8. cw says:

    I agree, the food sucks. I stop going to the harbor because of the over priced food, the over priced parking and the crime. I usually dine in Towson or the White Marsh area. I go where the parking is free.

    1. dan says:

      Free parking in Towson? Where?

      1. cw says:


  9. steve says:

    Faidleys is wayyyy better.

  10. dan says:

    Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.–bring it on.

  11. Doug says:

    Good riddens ,you suck,Phillips .
    I got served bad clams casino .
    I spit mine out while the other people at my table inhaled theirs’.After that,the rest
    of the meal tasted like a discarded deep fried whale bowel on bland cardboard warmed over with a twist of lemon.
    Later that night,most of those same people were vomiting their way around the inner harbor.
    A few made a contest out of just how far they could spray their barf.

  12. dan says:

    They got to big for little old B-more.There business now consists of sending that foreign crab meat around the world to people who don’t know any better.Is OC location the next to fall ?

  13. Doug says:

    Look up the word ” disgusting” in Webster’s dictionary and
    you’ll see a picture of Phillips Seafood restaurant.

  14. Kathy says:

    We are seafood snobs in Baltimore – we know good seafood and Phillips was not. Once upon a time they were – when they were the only Phillips in Ocean City. When I was a kid we used to wait in line every year to eat there – sometmes for an hour. Because the food was good. Then they branched out and went down hill rapidly. I can get better crab cakes at Fin’s in Canton Square.

  15. dan says:

    Are they really leaving the inner harbor when they are going to the ESPN ZONE location? Will the food change?

  16. dan says:

    haha….i have to agree with all comments on how overrated Phillips actually is. I took my sister/brother in laws there a few years back and my sister in law ordered a “wedge” salad. The waitress said it was great. So when she brings it out its a quarter wedge of a head of lettuce with dressing on it…$9. ha…I told my s.i.l to send it back and say she’ll buy her own head of lettuce for much less LOL. We havent been back since.

  17. tsd1216 says:

    Food is horrible…they fell off years ago… u can find them at any rest stop…

  18. Roger MacDonald says:

    We stopped going to Phillips; the food quality fell off and paying top price for their food was not acceptable.

  19. donato says:

    Let’s face it. It is not the food, which isn’t very good. It is the atmosphere. The Harbor turns into East Bmore/ or the Wire after 7PM and on weekends. especially on Sunday.. Gangs of African American youth just looking for a fight.

    None of us that are in walking distance go there. After all the recent crime and lack of police presence, why would any business stay.

    Sorry that the truth is politically incorrect.

  20. M.A. says:

    The article won’t say the real reason Phillips is leaving after 30 years.C’mon, we all know it has to do with the not-so-desirable people that roam the pavilions and the waterfront. I haven’t gone to Harborplace in years because of the lack of safety. When asked by out of town colleagues and friends where to go downtown, I specifically tell them to stay away from Harborplace, that it is not safe, and make other recommendations. Phillips is leaving because they aren’t drawing the people who will spend $ in their establishments. Ms. Mayor, are you listening? Unless you want the waterfront area to become a commercial graveyard of empty space, you need to address the crime and the roaming clusters of loud and obnoxious kids/young adults who have no regard for the people around them.

    Sitting at an outside restaurant and listening to Tanisha and Donel shout back and forth to one another is not my idea of a relaxing dinner.

    1. RP says:

      I went to Hooters 2 days ago, and the entire time I was there about 5 homeless people walked directly thru, one even asked me for money WHILE I WAS EATING AT HOOTERS! Out of control

  21. bill says:

    Best crab cake besides my own “By The Docks”in Bowleys Quarteres MD no Gangs!

  22. Gordon Ramsey says:

    Go away you bunch of donkeys. It’s always raw. SHUT IT DOWN!

  23. Joy Anderson says:

    They should have left 10 years ago..FOOD SUCKS!

  24. B-Dog says:

    Good bye and Good riddance, Philips.

    Ye sold out 20 years ago. I don’t know anyone that goes to Philips anymore.

  25. B-Dog says:

    Good bye and Good riddance, Philips.

    You sold out 20 years ago. I don’t know anyone that goes to Philips anymore.

  26. Angel says:

    Very Sad to see Philips leaving, but it’s life and change is Good. I hope Baltimore stop slow boating around and clean up the Inner Harbor as well as Baltimore. Stephanie Rawlings talk a good game, but I think it’s time for her to show some real action. Put up or shut up and get out if No Change to help us living here in Maryland, MD Sucks!!!

  27. the truth says:

    They better have another name entity in that spot come Labor day race weekend or there will be a huge lost opportunity. Mayor Rawlings & Police commissioner Bealfeld, get the Black thug gangs out of that area as they intimidate the tourists & just regular people downton for an evening out. N.Y. city doesn’t tolerate that nonsense & that town is full of spoonies but they behave or their heads will get rearranged & they’ll spend some time in the slammer. The only good thing about B’more is the downtown so let’s have a strong police presence everywhere but have them trained & not all black. N.Y. has more white cops because they can read & they don’t speak ebonics.

  28. the truth says:

    Oh, I forgot to add in my last post, N.Y.C. Has a strong mayor whos is a liberal but a no nonsense guy in Mike Bloomberg. He is white, well educated & doesn’r speak ebonics. He doesn’t need the $$$ as he is of the Bloomberg family news but does it for the passion of making a contribution back to his native hometown. Be nice if we could find dedication of that kind in Baltimore instead of ineptness, corruptness & just laziness.

  29. anon says:

    i for one love phillips seafood, most of you havent been there for years, you cant comment

  30. Daisy says:

    It worries me to see that General Growth Properties in involved here. What ever happened with their bankruptcy? They have had a habit of forcing out tenants in their other malls because they already have other tenants lined up for that space. I was down town for a press conference last year and was shocked that Harborplace’s Light street pavilion is pretty much vacant already. Very disheartening since I remember the hey-day of the Inner Harbor. The Ghost of Dear departed Willie Don needs to come down and impart some wisdom to all these fools letting downtown crumble.

    1. the truth says:

      GGP, Emerged from bankruptcy last year yet you have reason for concern. Their track record is lousy though & they have several poorly managed properties in this area that they have done nothing to improve their bottom line. The Village of Cross Keys is a jewel in a wonderful planned part of Baltimore yet it is dying of neglect. Columbia, Towson, the Harbor mall all are run down with poor bottom lines.

  31. Primetime Editorials says:

    i love this place
    im going to visit the new location

  32. Doug says:

    A better meal can be had in the nearest McDonald’s dumpster.
    And no tip.

  33. CHUCK says:

    Your all right,PHILLIP’S has lost the good seafood crown of yester year’s.Parking suck’s.Crime is within eye sight,in any direction looked.I don’t go into the city anymore,and I don’t do work in the city anymore.Until the people of this state start paying attention to the other 42 state that allow you to protect yourself,”O” well BONA PETITE.(I was ROB’d there a few year’s ago)TRY SOUTHERN MD,you might be surprised what you’ll find.

  34. bRice Phillerups says:

    I’ll give you the inside scoop about why we’re leaving Harborplace. The price of Common Carp meat (what we use instead of crab for our crabcakes) has increased exponentially. We can no longer afford to buy such high quality meat to serve to our tens of remaining customers. Sure we’ve done our best to keep costs down, prices up, and our bottom line padded, but in these tough economic times, even using discarded meals from Mo’s Seafood couldn’t save our downtown location.
    So, I would personally like to thank everyone who came out in the past few years and spent at least $150 each time. You kept a Baltimore icon afloat, and helped pay off my wife’s new knockers.


  35. Mark Anthony says:

    I am an event planner and I am bringing a group of 30 to 40 people from New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC in two months for an All You Can Eat Seafood Feast at Philip Harbor Place on 301 Light Street. Does anybody have any suggestions for an All You Can Eat Seafood Feast near the harbor other than Philips? I read everyone’s comments and do not like what I hear. Desperate for restaurant suggestions.