The Hoof, Fin & Fowl
By Karen Hendricks | Photography by Casey Martin
Jeff Jurkowski says he was probably about 4 years old when he first saw crabs being steamed.
Growing up in Baltimore, an uncle owned and operated a popular crab house that served up 600 bushels of crab weekly. With watermen also in the family, Jurkowski grew up learning about the Chesapeake Bay’s bounty. Seafood just might be in his genes, and now the chef/owner is sharing his flair for adventuresome dishes at Gettysburg’s newest restaurant: The Hoof, Fin & Fowl.
Jurkowski says he strives to offer quality menu items not found in other area restaurants—like quail, bison, and rare seafood—and that’s apparent from the get-go, beginning with appetizers.
Lamb Lollipops pair New Zealand lamb with a fresh, bright mint and basil pesto. Pork Belly Crustini combine bites of sweet, acidic, and fresh flavors with slow-roasted heritage Berkshire breed pork belly, a Jonathan Pea Sprout Slaw, plus a drizzle of fig and Balsamic glaze. Additional appetizers include Crab Balls, Conch & Sweet Corn Fritters, and homemade soups such as Maryland Crab.
The Hoof, Fin & Fowl, which opened in September, has been drawing customers who are hungry for seafood and more, says Jurkowski.
He previously operated a thriving roadside crab business in York, which morphed into a farmers’ market stand, then a crab and seafood restaurant. He’s been searching for a new location for several years. It was his wife, Denise, who suggested the Gettysburg area because the couple always loved visiting. When the former Subway restaurant on Baltimore Street became available, Jurkowski says it seemed like the perfect fit.
“One of the most important things to me was the outreach and support I received from other restaurateurs and business owners who came to dine and wish us well,” Jurkowski says. “It really communicated to me that businesses here help each other.”
The entree menu features Pan Seared Duck Breast served with a berry gastrique, fingerling potatoes, and seasonal vegetables; The Steak Plate offers a 10-ounce U.S.D.A. prime New York strip steak topped with mushrooms and onions aside horseradish mashed potatoes, Haricot Verts, and with the option of adding a crab cake—a source of pride for Jurkowski.
“It’s made in traditional Maryland style with no breading and great flavors,” he says.
Crab-Stuffed Lobster Tail, a menu special, spotlights Canadian or Maine lobster topped with Crab Imperial.
Jurkowski hopes to begin carrying four or five different types of oysters directly from an ice cart, from which he would shuck them, tableside.
“Oysters from British Columbia, the Chesapeake, East Point along the Delaware Bay—they have different levels of saltiness and different flavors,” says Jurkowski.
Jurkowski installed a bar in The Hoof, Fin & Fowl’s back room, looking out on the courtyard and adjacent shops. As of press time, he was expecting to receive a liquor license soon to begin offering beer and cocktails. In warmer weather, the restaurant’s back deck offers outdoor seating.
In addition to his previous restaurant experience, Jurkowski spent 11 years in management at Frito Lay in York, which taught him a valuable lesson he can apply at The Hoof, Fin & Fowl—the importance of cleanliness in food preparation.
Front-of-House Manager Sarah Schnars worked in Jurkowski’s York restaurant for four years. “I was excited for him when this opportunity came up, and I’m thrilled to be here. People in Gettysburg have been so welcoming and the business owners are kind,” she says.
Sous Chef Joshua Crowley says he started watching his mom cook at the age of three from a step stool at her feet and “always knew” he wanted to become a chef. Growing up in Texas, Crowley attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, and he considers himself a “very versatile” chef.
Family is still intertwined with business for Jurkowski. His wife often comes into the restaurant in the mornings to prepare desserts. Two of the couple’s three children are grown and perhaps following in their father’s footsteps—one is a food and beverage manager in New York’s popular High Line district, and another is in management at Gordon Foods in
It’s when he’s making pasta for the restaurant that Jurkowski feels connected to his mother. “I still use my mother’s pasta machine to make dishes like seafood pasta and crab-stuffed ravioli,” he says. “I was always asking her questions about cooking as I was growing up. I think about how much I learned from my mom, but I didn’t realize it at the time.”
The Hoof, Fin & Fowl
619 Baltimore St., Gettysburg
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