About 10 years ago, when my husband and I moved back to New Jersey from Philadelphia, we spent some time living in Mantoloking. This is one of those tiny Jersey Shore towns that is full of visiting families in the summer and completely empty in the winter. You can stand on the beach in the middle of January and truly feel you are the only person for miles.
Except you aren’t. Even though almost every business shuts down somewhere around mid October, the Crab Shack keeps selling what I consider to be the best local, fresh seafood available in the area. It is truly a shack, just a fish market with some picnic tables outside. But the same guy who went out and caught the fish that morning is selling it to you in the afternoon. I used to grab a bag of clams on my way home from work, throw them on the grill, and voila, dinner.
These days the Crab Shack is out of my way and I get my fish elsewhere most of the time. On a sunny fall or spring Saturday, though, it is still our favorite place to get a great flounder or tuna burger sandwich. This is no frills, styrofoam container stuff, but if you want the real Jersey Shore experience, this is where you can get it.
After Superstorm Sandy decimated the area, the county built an amazing playground right next store at the base of the Mantoloking Bridge. This means we now have the perfect spot for a play and picnicking sort of Saturday morning.
And I don’t have to pack the picnic. Win/win.