You’ll be Hooked on Pinchers Crab Shack!

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant Lakewood Ranch - Sarasota, Florida

Photo courtesy Pinchers Crab Shack

One of the pleasures of visiting or living in Southwest Florida is dining on freshly caught, beautifully prepared seafood.

Pinchers Crab Shack Garlic & Butter Blue Crab Clusters

Photo courtesy Pinchers Crab Shack

Pinchers Crab Shack is a well-established chain of casual seafood restaurants with a firm emphasis on quality and value. Started in 1997, there are currently 9 Pinchers Crab Shacks around southwest Florida, including restaurants at Naples’ Tin City, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota and at The Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant at The Marina at Edison Ford Ft. Myers, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

The company motto is reassuring – “You Can’t Fake Fresh”. The well-publicized secret of Pinchers Crab Shack is that they have their own fish house on Pine Island to ensure quality and availability.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurnt Snow Crab

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They bring in a thousand pounds of blue crab every day, among other seafood, and co-owner Grant Phelan handpicks the best to supply his kitchens. In fact, Pinchers Crab Shacks are the second largest buyers of blue crab in the USA.

Family History behind Pinchers Crab Shack

Family owned Pincher's Crab Shack 9 Florida locations

Photo courtesy Pinchers Crab Shack

The Phelan family originated from Texas where they had five Irish-themed restaurants during the mid-1980s. The family, consisting or Tony Phelan, wife Kathleen and son Grant, decided to relocate from Texas to southwest Florida. They opened their first Pinchers Crab Shack in Bonita Springs, despite Tony being diagnosed with cancer and son Grant being still at college.

They wanted to create a seafood shack-style eatery with just six tables to bring the Gulf of Mexico lifestyle and seafood to more inland locations. The gamble paid off. Now boasting a string of crab shacks to their name, the Phelans have even ventured as far afield as Key West with their stone crab menu and laid-back charm.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant Tin City Naples, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Part of the appeal of Pinchers, as regulars will tell you, is the down-to-earth ambiance which stems from the unique nautically-themed décor. Tony Phelan spent his time gathering “junk” and kitschy items such as metal barrels and discarded water skis to deck out his new restaurants along with fish-design tables and equipment bought at restaurant liquidation sales.

While other seafood restaurants fight to survive, Pinchers Crab Shacks continues to thrive. Perhaps it’s because regulars are treated as old friends, or because there’s always a family-friendly welcome. The comprehensive kid’s menu includes bottomless fountain drinks and smiley fries or a fruit cup. Better still, kids eat free with certain adult entrees so it’s worth checking out the details.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant Tin City Naples dining

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The call ahead seating and daily Happy Hour are popular in all the Pinchers Crab Shack locations including Tin City waterfront and Fort Myers Beach.

Pinchers Crab Shack Tiki Bar Ft. Myers Beach, Florida

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The newly opened Crab Shack at The Marina at Edison Ford in Fort Myers also has two banquet rooms – the perfect spot for a waterfront wedding reception or celebration.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant waterfront deck The Marina at Edison Ford Ft. Myers Florida

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Crabs and More on the Pinchers Menu

Stone crab fans travel from far and wide to enjoy the freshest crabs at Pinchers Crab Shack. However, there are plenty more fine dishes to delight any fish or seafood lover. Start with the mouthwatering hot crab and cheese dip, or perhaps a jumbo lump crab cake.

Pinchers Crab Shack restaurant stone crab claws

Photo courtesy Pinchers Crab Shack

Snow crab, king crab, Dungeness and blue crab are all featured on the extensive menu. Salads, tacos, fish bites, oysters and fish platters are popular favorites along with Texas Tony’ Baby Back Ribs and pasta.

Pincher's Crab Shack restaurant & Bar grilled fish dinner

Photo courtesy Pinchers Crab Shack

Whether you crave traditional fish and chips or crab-tastic specials, you simply can’t find fresher than Pinchers and their call-ahead seating makes sure you get a table.

Written by:

Nita Ettinger is Co-publisher for Siesta Publications Inc. and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed magazines and the website Must Do magazines are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County Chamber of Commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications can be found.