If you are not in the mood to catch ’em, cook ’em and clean ’em before you get to eat ‘em, make your way to I Got Your Crabs Shellfish Market and Oyster Bar on the bypass in Kitty Hawk. These folks can take care of your every crab need and they will do all the hard work and leave you to the best part, enjoying ‘em.
Celebrating their fifth year in business, the family that owns and runs the counter-centric eatery are as local as the crabs they serve.
Hunter Stewart is the master crabber behind the operation and his wife Olivia and young children, Sifer and Chilton, work just as hard to help make the operation a success.
Stewart has always had a passion for working the water and you might have bought crabs from his trailer near the state line, and his family home, in Currituck. The restaurant is a natural expansion of his entrepreneurial skills, Outer Banks style.
Tucked in the northern end of the Dunes Shopping Center, the comfy crab joint is intimate and the service and smiles are friendly and genuine.
You can call ahead for steamed crabs to take home or you can eat-in and leave the dirty dishes for another day.
The crabs are guaranteed to be local and they even keep a stash of frozen soft shells, culled from their own off-site shedders, on hand for salty gourmands to cook in their own kitchens.
Oh, and lest we forget, they have a lot more than just crabs. Locally caught fish, shrimp and oysters are prominent on the menu. A few of their sides are even on the super healthy side. You can order a side of steamed asparagus with a half-pound of steamed shrimp for a lean lunch or dinner on the go.
One a recent visit, I sat at the counter and enjoyed a dozen shucked oysters and an order of fried soft-shell crab tacos. You can also get tacos stuffed with fried oysters, flounder, steamed shrimp and a variety of other fresh seafood. All are served in flour tortillas then topped with cheddar cheese, cabbage slaw and house made mango salsa. Delicious and easy to grab and go, too.
It is hard to decide what to order; the steamed seafood, fried, just-caught fish platters, homemade soups and granddaddy’s chopped salad with vinaigrette recipe all are delicious choices.
If you are not worried about leaning, go for the sweet potato fries as a side to whatever you order. I Got Your Crabs has amazingly fresh seafood, but some nights it is those durn fries that will get your attention. The clincher is that these sweet, crispy, hot pillows are served with a maple dipping sauce that will have you grabbin’ and dippin’ like a kid who gets to eat pancakes for dinner. Amy Gaw is a food entrepreneur who has eaten, cooked and written about food on the Outer Banks and surrounding areas for more than three decades. A clean food advocate with a focus on local seafood, Gaw is also a salt maker and the founder of Outer Banks SeaSalt.