Crab Shack is opening down the street from another Crab Shack in Downtown

Redundancy isn’t just an at issue in the Long Beach food scene, but it is becoming apparent that it is one of the main reasons more local places are closing up shop.

BurgerIM, the fast-casual gastropub-y joint that opened across the street from three other gastropubs in Downtown, closed. And Poki Cat, which simultaneously opened two locations within about a half-mile of each other, has closed its Promenade location to make way for a Crab Shack.

That would be the same Crab Shack which has another location about a half-mile away at Broadway and Atlantic Avenue, is a single street away from its Cajun cousin, The Big Catch, and is literally around the corner from Chef Jason Witzl’s coming-soon mariscos space.

“The Streets [the former City Place development] will be a second location for The Crab Shack and operated as a quick service restaurant,” said Cameron Andrews, a representative for The Streets development in Downtown. “They will continue to operate the one at Atlantic and Broadway as a sit-down dining experience.”

A chain that has been expanding in SoCal—there are two Crab Shack locations in Gardena along with others in Carson, La Habra… —Crab Shack is a pseudo-Creole-style restaurant with a heavy focus on seafood. From fried oysters and soft shell crab to Po Boys and crab boils, think of the Crab Shack as a more corporatized Crab Cooker.

The seemingly ubiquitous name—there’s also a Boiling Crab chain, a Kickin’ Crab chain, The Crusty Crab in San Pedro, The Crab Pot in Alamitos Bay, The Cajun Crab in Lakewood… —makes it almost impossible to distinguish it from its predecessors and competition.

With The Big Catch just down the street on Broadway and the wildly popular San Pedro Fish Market opening a location within the coming weeks in Alamitos Bay—along with Creole staples like Sal’s Gumbo Shack and Crazy Creole Cafe—it will be interesting to see how The Crab Shack holds up in what are now two Downtown spaces.

The Broadway location has been somewhat cursed, given that it has been unable to hold on to a tenant. Great Society didn’t last three years and its predecessor, the maligned Peppercorner, saw its popularity quickly drop when it faced staffing and quality issues. All this, mind you, despite having one of the few expansive patio spaces in Downtown.

Opening in that space that has seen the closure of similar businesses seems either foolhardy or brave. We’ll see…

The current Crab Shack is located at 602 E. Broadway while the new Crab Shack will open at 325 The Promenade N. 

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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