The Best of Savannah

THE ORIGINAL CRAB SHACK: Best Seafood Restaurant and Best Islands Restaurant




The Crab Shack has been a staple on Tybee Island since the early 80s. It’s famous for its humble beginnings as a fishing camp and bait shop. 

The food may not be served on plywood tables like Jack and Belinda Flanigan, the original founders, constructed, but it hasn’t lost its signature taste over the last three decades. 

Voted Best Seafood Restaurant since 1998, the restaurant has reigned as the region’s seafood giant for over three decades.

But what makes The Crab Shack such an unforgettable experience?

“We’ve been doing the same thing ever since we opened in the late 80s. We do a Lowcountry style cooking that hasn’t changed since we started. It’s consistent. People know what they’re going to get when they come here. And it’s also a little part of the Lowcountry because that’s how people have been cooking here for centuries,” said the Crab Shack’s Director of Operations, Justin Fowler.

In fact, the food is so good that many out-of-town Crab Shack loyalists make the journey to visit the restaurant, sometimes coming from hundreds of miles away to get a taste of their signature Lowcountry boil.

The old style of cooking, Fowler said, is something the restaurant prides itself on, preserving local tradition while catering to fans old and new.

Fowler said the restaurant is full of memories from the people that work there as well as the guests.

“Seeing some of the people come here every year, seeing some of the same faces is one of my favorite parts. There are people that fly down here and eat lunch with us and fly home. We get to see those same folks frequently. They get to share their memories and how they first found out about us. How it grew, it used to be just this little spot next to the water and now we seat over 700 people.”

click to enlarge THE ORIGINAL CRAB SHACK: Best Seafood Restaurant and Best Islands Restaurant
The Original Crab Shack

The Crab Shack is more than just food–it’s a family.

But it’s not only the returnees and tourists enjoying the good food on the water. Locals also continue to visit the restaurant.

“We are a tourist destination, but we have a great local crowd and a great local following.”

Some say that the food isn’t even the greatest attraction but instead, the experience.

“It’s the whole experience. It’s where we’re at and our people and the food is great. But, it’s the whole experience that makes us who we are. We’re just a fun relaxing place to hang out.”

Whether it’s watching the alligators in their famous alligator pond, checking out the birds in the aviary, snapping a pic of one of the lazy cats on the property, or just kicking back for a cold drink, The Crab Shack has something that everyone that tourists and locals can both enjoy.

The restaurant embodies the spirit of Tybee, inviting those interested in fine dining or those who have just wrapped up a trip to the beach. 

No matter what you’re wearing, you can be sure The Crab Shack will welcome you with open claws.

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