Dec 15 2014

Crab Shack Celebrates 15th!

It’s hard to believe Ron Hill opened the doors to Folly Beach Crab Shack more than 15 years ago.

Years ago, partners Dan Doyle and Ryan Condon convinced Ron to follow through with his lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant on Folly Beach.  Their decision to offer seafood on tables with huge buckets in the middle for trash was an innovative way to serve customers at the time.  Their creativity didn’t stop there but continued as they created an extensive menu loaded with a full raw bar, fried or grilled plates, and buckets overflowing with extra large shrimp, snow crab legs, and oysters.  Land lovers have fierce lunch and sandwich options as well.  

Upon arrival, take a close look at the murals in the open restaurant. Ron commissioned his brother, James Christopher Hill, to demonstrate what the restaurant represents. Scenes of the old pier and front beach are awe inspiring. A bounty of seafood surrounds an old house that could be found anywhere off the Folly River. James brings an instant familiarity by integrating the old with the new.  

Hill’s dedication to the Lowcountry Local First community is extending past just buying local seafood from merchants in the area. Backman’s and Crosby’s provide many of the staples used in the restaurant. For hard to get items, or as a supplement, Hill negotiates with Sysco for only the best and freshest ingredients.  He keeps his ears to the ground and listens to what his customers want. His intuition now is to expand his buying habits to local farms.

FollyBeach.com had a chance to review a 4-course meal with Hill’s contribution to how each dish is created.  He gives full credit to his chef, Chef George Rivers, who works solidly to perfect and maintain a high quality of standard, Sous Chef Nathan Albertson, and General Manager M. K. O’Connell. First, gigantic shrimp were served two ways, fried and grilled, with remoulade and cocktail sauces.  Crisp and fresh, the shrimp were absolutely divine and well cooked.  The fried shrimp, coated just once and lightly floured, had a nice flavor.  Being so large, they can sometimes be overcooked and chewy.  Not here.  They were absolutely perfect.

Next, we were served a sample of their shrimp and grits with tasso gravy.  If you are like us, we like our gravy light and not drowning the plate.  In many instances, restaurants use their gravy to cover up a plate of average (or below average grits).  Again, not here.  Being true down home Southerners, we are grits snobs and appreciate them when done well.  The Crab Shack uses a stone ground yellow grit, heavy cream and just the right amount of salt to make the creamiest grits in town.  The gravy didn’t hide the texture of them but added a nice flavor to the plate.  Again, huge shrimp nestled into the grits, inviting us to try each bite, which we did and enjoyed immensely.

The third course consisted of a bucket full of Frogmore Stew and topped with snow crab clusters.  The overflowing bucket contained tasty bits of sausage, potatoes coated with their seafood seasoning, more of those gigantic shrimp and corn on the cob.  The crab legs and shrimp were the heart of the bucket.  Well cooked and easy to crack and peel, the moist pieces of sweet meat were delivered in perfect bites to our mouths.  

Finally, slices of key lime pie and salted caramel cheesecake rounded out our meal. By this point, we could hardly eat any more, but the desserts were top notch.  The excellence in service, food and passion for truly connecting with the public is easily seen in both Hill’s attitude and throughout the restaurant’s culture.  It is clear why the business is celebrating 15 years, and it’s also no surprise that Southern Living Magazine has called the Folly Beach Crab Shack one of the top 10 seafood restaurants in South Carolina.

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