Monday, October 22, 2012

Tony's Crab Shack

The roof is vinyl, so the early evening rain provides a nice backdrop to the blues playing over the speaker system in the cramped space that serves as the dining room for Tony's Crab Shack, about 200 steps from the place where the crabs had spent the afternoon.

For about a third the price, our dinner here is every bit as good -- better, really -- than the fancy restaurant up the hill where we'd eaten the night before. While I'm waiting for my grilled oysters (delivered earlier in the day from Coos Bay, about 45 minutes north), I walk into the bait shop, where owner Tony is tallying up the day's take.

He's been here 23 years, he says, and he's closing in on his best year. He started, he says, just renting the basics to tourists wanting to catch their own Dungeness crab. They'd bring it back to his shack, where he'd cook it up and eat it at a picnic table. Nowadays, you don't have to catch your own crab to eat at Tony's.

Wanting to make my own sampler plate, I order three grilled oysters with butter and garlic, the seafood ciopino and the crab cocktail. Coupled with a Full Sail pale ale, this is the way fresh seafood is meant to be eaten. At two minutes to seven, the waitress starts shutting down the lights and tells a couple fresh from the door that they won't be served -- it's time to go home. The place next door, also serving fresh crab, had closed at 6 p.m. Welcome to Bandon, small town on the Oregon coast.

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