If you're looking to try local gulf coast seafood, definitely head over to Pinchers Crab Shack. They have several local locations in Collier and Lee County, but they also have restaurants from Key West all the way to Tampa. And even with so many locations, it's a restaurant that still feels like a local spot.
Pinchers Crab Shack has been advertising with us on the Paradise Coast TV channel for almost as long as the channel has existed so I was very eager to get out there to write up a blog article about them. I have so many things on the menu that I absolutely love, but I have a few favorites that I thought I'd share with you all today.
First of all, I went to the Tin City location which is a very unique and entertaining experience on it's own. Most of the other Pinchers locations are stand alone, or in a shopping plaza, but none of those other plazas are like Tin City. For a truly Old Naples feel, I recommend adding this Pinchers to your list of must-do's. Being at Tin City means that this Pinchers is right on the water, so you can see different boats full of eager explorers headed out to the gulf (other locations are also on the water like Fort Myers, where you can get a great view of the downtown buildings and the Caloosahatchee River).
Though locations change, the inside of a Pinchers usually looks the same from restaurant to restaurant like most chains, however they usually have a unique twist that makes each one just a little different from it's sister sites. The Tin City location, for example, has some old stained glass art work and local pictures from fishing excursions. They all have these funny wood signs up like the one below as well as a brightly decorated bar area (the bar is always 2 for 1 by the way, just saying).
Now for my lunch. I started with a half dozen raw oysters. Usually my husband will swing for the full 12 as his appetizer and he will give me one, but coming on my own meant I got as many as I wanted. Score! They are always so fresh and delicious. These local Gulf oysters (pictured at the top of the article) were particularly GINORMOUS! If you like raw oysters, or steamed, I definitely recommend you get them while you're at Pinchers.
Next up I got the crab and corn chowder, because its Pinchers CRAB Shack, so you know the crab is good. It's amazing. It's a little spicy, but not too hot, and if you want to amp up the heat, I recommend you add the Pinchers One Pepper sauce. Your nose will run and you will love every second of it (seriously though a drop or two is enough, don't get cocky and over do it). I also really love the gumbo there, which I usually add some One Pepper sauce to, even though it is also spicy. It's actually some of my favorite gumbo on Earth.
For my main dish I chose the crab cake, because again, it's known for awesome crab. I got two sides, which I chose green beans and broccoli, because they're both local veggies. Pinchers partners with local farms on it's green veggies so sometimes the options change from restaurant to restaurant or season to season, but they are all awesome. The Gulf Coast Town Center Pinchers in Fort Myers sometimes has grilled asparagus on its menu, and it is freaking phenomenal. The crab itself is locally caught at Island Crab Company, according to the menu and the crab cake comes with a stone mustard, which is one of the best sauces I've ever had. Seriously, try and order it with almost anything on the menu, it's so good!
For dessert, the waiter talked me into (he didn't have to try too hard) a key lime tart. I was actually already planning on getting a slice of pie, but I wasn't sure I could finish the whole thing, so he suggested I try the tart. It was just as sweet and deliciously sour as the regular sized slice AND they're individually packaged so you could get them to go if you want or even ship them to a friend (in a refrigerated package). My taste buds were so happy. Yours will be too!
When you head to Pinchers don't forget to use #pctvnaples so we can see all your food! Check out some of the other pictures I took while I was there: