Like an oyster hides a pearl behind an unassuming shell, the gruff exterior of the Shakin’ Crab belies the modern design of the dining area.
Co-owner Jack Ouyang is hoping to open the restaurant by this Friday, Aug. 19.
Editor’s note: Not long after publication of this article, a spokesperson for the restaurant confirmed that it’s now open for business.
Walking into the restaurant, you’re transported to a dockside by plenty of wood, thick rope, netting and vintage Edison-style light bulbs.
The restaurant, at 2405 Miracle Lane in Mishawaka, is in the former Ponderosa Steakhouse, but aside from the familiar slanted metal roof on the outside — now painted blue — you’d never be able to tell.
Formerly announced as The Boiling Seafood, Shakin’ Crab is part of the same franchise, which both operate under the same concept of boiling seafood. The name change came down to preference.
“I just liked the name [Shakin’ Crab] better,” Ouyang said with a smile.
Behind the scenes, the cooks have been busy learning the boiling style for the past three months while renovations have been underway.
At Shakin’ Crab, sauces — made in-house — are added to a bag of your chosen seafood, which is then sealed and boiled, allowing the sauce to coat and cook into the meat. Your meal is served in the bag it’s been cooked and brought out in a bucket, which serves as a place to toss what’s left of your crab legs.
Portions will be large, and you’re meant to eat with your hands alongside your friends and family, but silverware will be available if you need it.
The menu includes blue crab (as a seasonal item), crawfish, oysters (raw or steamed), snow crab legs, king crab legs, shrimp (with or without heads), clams, baby clams and mussels. The cost for each boil will be based on their market price, so prices will fluctuate weekly. Meals come with corn and potatoes, except for the raw oysters. You’re also able to add sausage to your boil in half-pound and full pound increments.
You can also get combination boils if you want to sample a few different items. Fried baskets will also be served, which includes shrimp, catfish and calamari baskets as well as three different flavors of chicken wings.
There will also be craft beer in bottles and on draught, but Ouyang didn’t have the full tap list available in time for publication.
Ouyang thinks Michiana will be excited for the New Orleans Cajun-style of food, and he’s personally attached to the region.
“I’ve lived in Plymouth since ’99, and I didn’t want to leave [the area to open somewhere else],” he said.
Shakin’ Crab will let customers participate in that attachment too. as they’re encouraged to sign the wooden walls with permanent marker and build a connection to their favorite spot, or to memorialize a special afternoon.
A private party room is nestled in the back of the room near the hand washing station, which is spacious for small groups.
Business hours will be form 3 to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from noon to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday.