On The Yard


    The Alley: A Must See (and Taste) Stop on the Yard

    By Bill the Goat on February 15, 2023

    The Alley: A Must See (and Taste) Stop on the Yard

    Looking for a special dining experience on the Yard? The Alley Restaurant is the place to go. Nestled in the beautiful and iconic Naval Academy Club (NAC), The Alley brings the history and flavor of the U.S. Naval Academy to life. Even before its founding, the space was home to a popular bowling alley that entertained officers when the NAC was an Officer’s Club in the early 1900s. Now its namesake carries on this time-honored tradition, extending the welcome to locals and anyone visiting the Yard. Take a tour with us and experience this USNA treasure and one of the most unique restaurants in Annapolis!


    Changing with the Times

    Over the years The Alley has evolved to accommodate the changing tastes of the times. Most recently, it received a large-scale renovation in 2009 that included comfortable club seating and the warm and cozy wood paneling of an upscale club. Gorgeous newly added framed naval art brings this Annapolis eatery a maritime feel and accentuates the Chesapeake Bay-inspired dishes. It has a fun and quirky side too. When you first walk in, you’ll see the “observe foul line” light from the original bowling alley that promises a good time.


    Executive Chef Randy Pyren and his team have upheld the award-winning tradition of this popular restaurant for the last four years, even through the uncertain days of the pandemic. They have become known for high-quality, locally sourced cuisine that’s as delicious as it is beautiful, making The Alley at USNA a must-eat destination on the Yard. Pyren also oversees the majority of the other Naval Academy dining destinations, including the Drydock Restaurant in Dahlgren Hall (featuring the best-in-town pizza, but is currently closed for renovations) and Naval Academy Catering, which provides unparalleled service and food for events within the NAC and elsewhere on the Yard.


    Since it’s part of the Naval Academy Club, the Alley Restaurant is only open to the public at certain times, typically Monday through Friday for lunch. You can find their current hours on their website. Members include a large variety of people, including military officers from all branches of the Armed Forces, USNA Faculty and Staff, Naval Academy alumni, midshipmen and their families and others affiliated with USNA. 


    The Taste of Annapolis


    We encourage you to swing by this USNA restaurant if you’re taking a USNA tour, taking in the sights of Annapolis or even taking your midshipmen out for a bite. It’s an unforgettable dining experience that captures the magic of Annapolis. For lunch, you can enjoy a panoply of tasty appetizers, from buffalo shrimp tacos, to the savory crab pretzel with Chesapeake crab dip and cheddar and Jack cheeses, to mac & cheese with ham or Cajun seared chicken breast. 


    Try a cup of their cream of crab soup for a taste of the sea. There are fresh salads, including grilled Caesar and a roasted root vegetable salad, which is perfect for the cooler weather. You might enjoy handhelds like the juicy Alley Burger with garlic aioli, bacon and more, or the Beyond Burger with roasted red pepper and avocado. Step it up a notch with filet mignon with cheese or their famous Maryland crab cake—or try the vegan farro vegetable hash. Then finish it off with some chocolate mousse, New York style cheesecake and a long walk around the Yard! They also offer a buffet if you’re craving a sampling! Lunch in Annapolis is always a treat. Here’s the current menu for inspiration.


    For members, the dinner menu features a rotating seasonal menu. You can currently feast on a classic Maryland staple like crab pretzels or order some Alley Sliders for the table. Members also have the chance to try grilled salmon or coconut curry chicken. And no true dinner is complete without something a little sweet! Indulge in freshly made dessert and relax at the generously stocked bar, which is open to club members for happy hour and dinner, as well as any time the restaurant is open.


    Special Meals


    Throughout the year, Chef Randy and his team design members-only menus to celebrate special days, like Halloween, the Members’ Holiday event in early December, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Brunch, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and more; they are accompanied by themed three-course prix fixe selections. A recent Mardi Gras evening menu included three-course options like shrimp-okra hush puppies, blackened chicken and king cake. A Cinco de Mayo night featured a three-course meal with bay scallop and shrimp ceviche, coffee-crusted flat iron steak and chocolate plantain brownie, among other delicious choices. 


    Members have access to other events too. The Alley provides their famous Sunday brunches, Prime Rib Nights, Oktoberfest Nights and Lobster Night. During the football season, Friday night tailgates help kick off the weekend in style. All year long The Alley makes each meal memorable.


    The Perks of Being an NAC Member


    In addition to being able to enjoy happy hours, dinners and themed meals, you’ll also receive other great benefits like access to the NAC event facilities, premium catering, club events like wine pairings, shopping privileges at the Midshipmen Store, discounts at Navyonline.com, discounts for lunch and more. If you have a midshipman who’s attending the Academy, it’s also a wonderful place to spend time with them.


    For a sneak peek at The Naval Academy Club where the Alley is located, you can hop on our Tour & Tea tour, which brings you there for an afternoon tea time with delightful snacks and a side of history.


    There's never been a better time to be a part of the NAC (you just need to meet eligibility requirements to join), especially with so many excellent options at The Alley. You’ll also be helping the midshipmen since all proceeds from the NAC and The Alley go to the Brigade. Keep an eye on the site for new menus, specials and times—and make your reservation now for a memorable meal on the Yard!

    Visit the Alley!

    Bill the Goat
    Written by Bill the Goat | February 15, 2023


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