Datts Seafood brings Baltimore-style comfort food to Hanover

Datts Seafood opened on New Year’s Day, taking over an old building but bringing a new style, concept and cuisine to Hannover.

For owners Steve Jackson and his wife Tania, having their own restaurant was a dream they had shared for decades.

“He’s been cooking for me since we met when we were 18,” Tania said.

Steve was 13 when he started working at his uncle’s restaurant in Baltimore, learning the trade alongside his family.

“I learned the trade at a young age, until I was 18, and then I changed careers and worked in public safety,” Jackson said.

A career in public safety saw Jackson serve in multiple roles, such as a correctional officer and state parole officer. Although he always had hopes of opening a restaurant, the opportunity never presented itself – until this year.

(L to R) Steve Jackson and his wife, Tania Jackson, laugh as they listen to their daughter, Tamber Jackson, tell a story at their family's new restaurant, Datts Seafood, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Hanover Borough.

Recently, Jackson was sent to work as a parole officer in Philadelphia, which required him to spend time away from his family in Hanover.

Although they missed his presence at home, Jackson’s family also missed his food.

As she listed the fast food chains her family was starting to frequent, her youngest daughter, Tamber, joked, “We were hungry without him, and when he came home we were excited.”

At home, Steve took over the kitchen, spoiling his family with seafood dinners, mouth-watering comfort foods like shrimp and grits, and his creamy mashed potatoes.

“We missed him, and we talked about finding a way for him to come home, so I just prayed to God, and then this idea (the restaurant) was born,” Tania said.

That’s when Jackson decided it was time to retire from public safety and pursue his lifelong dream of owning a restaurant.

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Dates Seafood

(L to R) Tania Jackson, Tamber Jackson and Steve Jackson pose for a portrait in front of a wall filled with customer signatures at their new restaurant, Datts Seafood, Wednesday, January 12, 2022, in Hanover Borough.  Although they just opened on New Years Day, dozens of customers have already signed the wall and left positive messages for the Jacksons.

A tribute to the family behind the counter, Datts is an acronym and each letter is named after a member of the Jackson family – Dante, Amber, Tamber, Tania and Steve.

“We always thought that was what we wanted to do, and when we found this place, it took a lot of work, but it was a great opportunity,” Jackson said.

Datts Seafood’s menu is a cozy selection of soul dishes inspired by Steve’s Baltimore upbringing, and offers more than the name suggests, including all-day breakfast.

Breakfast favorites include a variety of breakfast sandwiches and Steve’s hand-breaded chicken and waffles seasoned to perfection, or the classic Southern shrimp and creamy grits.

Cheesesteak fans may reconsider the Philly version once they try Steve’s Baltimore-style cheesesteak sub.

Cheesesteak connoisseurs will find plenty of melted provolone — not whiz — on Steve Jackson's

Taking only minutes to prepare, this sub combines caramelized onions, provolone cheese and tender steak, layered between a hot roll slathered with mayonnaise and topped with tomatoes, lettuce and onions.

Also on the menu are hand-breaded shrimp and giant handmade crab cakes that are fried to perfection, leaving them crispy and chewy.

Although these are just a few items on the Datts menu, customers can expect to find a variety of seafood options such as whiting or haddock, fried clams and many more. future.

For Steve Jackson, cooking is second nature, he has never even written a formal recipe for any of his dishes.

“They are written in my mind,” he said.

His daughter Tamber is the youngest in the family, but said she plans to continue working and supporting the family business even after graduating from college this spring.

Datts Seafood Hand Breaded Shrimp can be served with half a dozen sauces.

“I grew up eating my dad’s food, but hearing someone else say they love food makes me happy because I know my dad does what he loves and people appreciate it.”

Tania said that from the first week the restaurant was open, the Hannover community welcomed Datts with open arms.

“People have told us they want us to succeed and stay, and that’s a beautiful feeling.”

The Jackson family’s mission is simple: share the food they love and make everyone who walks through the door feel like family.

Lena Tzivekis is a reporter for the Evening Sun. Follow his Twitter at @tzivekis, and say hello or tell him where to find the best cup of coffee!

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