“Your eyes thrust sharply through golden pillars of light, toppled by crisp, puce leaves, whose sweet staccato now croons alongside the sound of distant drumming. A colonial fifer joins them both, and so, too, does another instrument thunder forth from your core.”
This seems to have become a leitmotiv for visiting historic Hampton Roads, Virginia. To the advantage of those hungry residents and tourists, however, Hampton Roads also boasts a variety of restaurants that specialize in sating the region’s own historical palate: seafood, with an indigenous Southern twist. One Hampton Roads restaurant—The Skrimp Shack—unencumbered by its relatively young age, has far surpassed this indigenous, culinary standard, making its definite mark on “Old Dominion” foodways for years to come.
Hampton Roads, Virginia, has long been the site of regional and national ritual, ushering in millions of buoyant tourists every year to invoke the spirits of America’s colonial and antebellum past. Whether it be at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown, or Lee Hall Mansion, Hampton Roads certainly has the gamut of what every fun-loving Southernist looks for in a getaway. And, thanks to restaurants like The Skrimp Shack, that is apropos what she or he looks for in Southern cuisine.
The Skrimp Shack (yes, that’s “skrimp” and not “shrimp”) opened its doors to the eager public in 2011, and their lines have not shortened since. Its initial location in Yorktown, Virginia, drew hundreds of citizens and tourists from all over the East Coast with the bold challenge to “leave the restaurant hungry.” As Hampton Roads’ folklore tells us, no one has done so successfully. At least not yet.
Touted for its authentic display of Southern hospitality, The Skrimp Shack is the self-proclaimed “Home of the Fattest Fish Sandwich.” There is no hyperbole here, as any seasoned customer of The Skrimp Shack will not only testify to the size of the fish sandwich, but also to the sheer quantity (and quality) of food given at such low prices.
The Skrimp Shack offers an array of dishes, ranging from fried “skrimp” baskets to whiting dinners, and even draws on the foodways from other Southern states, as with their scrumptious Catfish ’n’ Skrimp Po’ Boy. For those having an aversion or allergy to seafood, The Skrimp Shack serves a Giant Chicken Sandwich, “drenched in secret sauce.” Paired with such sides as fresh homemade coleslaw, steaming hush puppies, and macaroni and cheese that is like no other, we can see why this restaurant has become a favorite among Hampton Roads’ residents and visitors to the historic area.
Stacey and Mitch Hartman, the lovely couple who established The Skrimp Shack in 2011, have not solely been serving up seafood dishes. Rather, according to Mrs. Hartman in an interview with local news broadcasters, The Skrimp Shack has also fared well in serving the general public by creating dozens of jobs. With four new venues now bustling in Newport News, Yorktown, and Portsmouth, and two more making their way to Hampton and Richmond, Mrs. Hartman’s assertion that the Skrimp Shack is improving lives all across the Hampton Roads area has become quite compelling.
A visit to one of The Skrimp Shack’s four locations around suppertime will speak highly of the extensive renown and gratitude upheld by the restaurant’s customers, who just keep coming back for more, irrespective of what their stomachs can hold. And for the traveling Southernist, a stop at The Skrimp Shack is the perfect way to conclude her or his day among the relics of the Southern past, by partaking in the coastal folk culture of the present.
SEE MORE SKRIMP SHACK PHOTOS HERE