Pappas Seafood’s new Perry Hall distribution center opens Wednesday and includes takeout for crab cakes

Pappas Seafood Co. plans to package and ship millions of crab cakes from its new Perry Hall distribution center when the center opens next week.

But you won’t need to place a mail order to take some of the goods home. The new Pappas Center will also have a grab-and-go seafood store for locals who want to purchase crab cakes, soups and more.

The fulfillment center will open concurrently with the distribution center on Sept. 20, said Karen Zimmerer, managing partner and chief financial officer of Pappas. The 7,500-square-foot shipping center, which will also house the local seafood chain’s offices, has been in the works for more than two years and won approval from the Baltimore County Council last year when council members voted in favor of a zoning change allowing the facility to open at 8801 Belair Road.

A draft design was not initially part of the building plan, Zimmerer said, but was based on customer feedback.

“It’s such a prime location, such a prime business location on Belair, so we decided to try it,” she said.

In addition to crab cakes, the new grab-and-go item will sell Pappas favorites like Maryland crab soup and “Humpty Lumptys,” the seafood chain’s name for meat-topped deviled eggs crab and Old Bay. The store will not sell steamed crabs, Zimmerer said.

Similar to Pappas Seafood takeout in Parkville, customers will be able to place takeout orders online. There will also be in-store kiosks for ordering on site. The takeaway counter will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The store will initially be a pop-up concept: Zimmerer said the grab-and-go store will have a three-month trial period to gauge local interest. “If it gets really, really busy and we outgrow this place, we might look at other real estate,” she said.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting of the distribution center and pop-up is planned for October 7. The Pappas Center will help the 51-year-old seafood company streamline its shipping operations, which until now have been spread across four different buildings. and three shipping containers.

The new space will include five cold rooms as well as an office area with table football and space to expand the company’s workforce of 24 employees.

Pappas has restaurants in Cockeysville, Parkville, Glen Burnie and Bel Air, and ships to customers throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Zimmerer said last year the company shipped 3.5 million crab cakes a year. Pappas, founded in 1971, has at least one famous fan: Oprah Winfrey, who included its crab cakes on her “favorite things” list in 2015.

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