Greensboro catches a Skrimp Shack
By: Jennifer Zeleski
If you’re looking for fresh seafood in Greensboro, all you need to know are two words: Skrimp Shack. And no, you didn’t read that wrong.
The ‘skrimp’ come tossed in a basket, tucked into tacos or piled high on Po’ boy sandwiches. You can also catch whiting, flounder, haddock, catfish and more at the restaurant that claims to be the “home of the fattest fish sandwich.”
It is not a shack, but rather at the corner of a strip mall, located at 815 W. Gate City Blvd. and wasn’t hard to find with a line spilling out the door. My boyfriend Peyton and I eagerly waited to get a glimpse inside.
Each table had a bottle of malt vinegar, Texas Pete hot sauce and a large shaker of Old Bay seasoning, and gave us a good indication of what we would find on the menu: a mix of Southern-style with fried seafood and fish plates, sandwiches and sides, and even a section dedicated as “enough to feed the family.”
We knew we had to try the shrimp, but how would we be able to decide what else we wanted to indulge in?
Kids meal combos, chicken sandwiches (for those who avoid sea creatures in their diets) and a list of sides that you hope for at your next church picnic: collards, macaroni and cheese, hush puppies, green beans, coleslaw and more.
After a dizzying amount of combination ideas, and a few exchanged comments with other customers, we made our choices. I picked the crab cake from the daily special menu, knowing it might be my last chance to snatch one depending on availability, with a side of macaroni and cheese, and an order of 10 shrimp for Peyton and me to share. He chose the tilapia sandwich, which came with 3/4 pound of fish on a sesame seed bun, and a side of fried okra.
It wasn’t a long wait as we watched dozens of Styrofoam containers loaded with fish come out the door, or land in the hands of eager, hungry customers.
I knew we were in for a treat when I read the disclaimer on the wall: Eating our food may lead to an addiction. We are not responsible for any sudden cravings, urges, or your car seemingly driving here on its own.
Our food arrived in several baskets, but the one that got the most glory was the tilapia sandwich. Peyton and I exchanged glances of disbelief at its size, which he observed as “bigger than five fast-food fish sandwiches combined,” and “the biggest fish sandwich I’ve ever seen.” It was then that we decided to share it.
The fish was light and fresh and had no indications of being frozen. It was tender, evenly breaded, and paired well with tartar sauce, malt vinegar, or fresh lemon–depending on your preference. The sesame seed bun tied it all together, being soft and pillowy, but still strong enough to hold (most of) the weight of the sandwich.
If you plan on ordering one of the “fattest fish sandwiches,” plan to share it with a friend, family member or significant other, even if you’re starving when you arrive. You won’t regret it, and you’ll be able to split the roughly $10 combo that comes with a side and drink.
The fried okra was a first for me, which can come as a shock for anyone who knows that I grew up in North Carolina for a majority of my life. However, having avoided it for so long, I knew I had to give it a chance, and this was a good time to do so. In small, bite-sized portions, the okra had a crisp breading around every inch and held a distant savory vegetable flavor with each try. I came to enjoy it after some initial hesitation. Peyton popped them back with enjoyment, and I savored a few and decided it might not be the first side item I would choose next time around.
After fighting my plastic fork with Peyton’s, I moved on to my crab cake. It was about the size of my palm, breaded and deep-fried. Having experienced one of the most highly-acclaimed Baltimore crab cakes just a few weeks before, I knew this one couldn’t be held up to quite the same standard, but it held its own. Not too oily or greasy from the fryer, the crab had a great savory yet sweet flavor and was not packed or oversized with filling rather than crabmeat. It had the melt-in-your-mouth texture that you look for in a great crab cake and was easily one of the best I’ve tried in the Piedmont Triad. There wasn’t a single crumb left once it was gone. The price might seem a bit steep at $8, but when you consider the $15 ones at the coast, the massive amounts of fillers and lack of seasoning, this one is a great deal, and definitely worth a try.
My macaroni and cheese, as always, was highly anticipated. It was stovetop macaroni and cheese without the dense, cheesy texture that had a white, creamy sauce free from clumps or a baked-style topping. It had a good saltiness with every bite and is my personal favorite to pair with a crab cake, regardless of where you’re having one. If you’re missing the breadcrumb crunch or added seasoning, sprinkle some Old Bay on top. (Trust me, you won’t regret it.)
Last but surely not least, was the shrimp itself. Fried, crisp and ready to be drenched in cocktail sauce (if that’s your forte), it gained the affectionate name at our table as “skrimp snack.” To my surprise, the tails had been removed, and you could pop each one into your mouth with a satisfying crunch and overall fresh flavor. Peyton and I tend to avoid shrimp, but this was delicious and well worth the try.
The portions of food are large compared to the prices, which are just under the average of a local lunch, and it would be a great stop to share a plate, dinner or sandwich, with a glass of sweet tea.
Maybe you only treat yourself to fresh seafood during your summer trips to the coast, or you avoid “inland” seafood at all costs, but Skrimp Shack might just allow you to cave into your crustacean cravings without packing up the beach chairs and sunscreen.
Jennifer Zeleski is a student contributor to YES! Weekly. She is originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communications at High Point University.