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Jul 28, 2008 02:22 PM

Where to get hardshells in/near Richmond???

I really didn't think this would be such a challenge, but I'm looking for somewhere within about 60-70 miles of Richmond to sit down to some brown-paper-covered tables and eat crabs. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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  1. I posted a similiar query pretty recently. It's harder than I thought! I've heard good things about the Crab Lady, but haven't tried her yet. I've also started to look for a seafood place to sell them to me live so I can take them home and steam them myself. So far, the only luck I've had is with PT Hastings (the Parham Rd location). They steam them over the weekend, so you have to call them late Thursday or first thing Friday to reserve some live ones. They steam them plain, and since I prefer mine smothered in Old Bay I try to buy live. The quality has been pretty good so far this summer. Earlier in the summer I got fed up and drove home to Baltimore for some wonderful crabs at Mr. Bills, but that might be out of your 60-70 mile range.

    Let me know what you find, I'm still looking!

    4 Replies
    1. re: agoldman

      These are the responses to my earlier post. They might be helpful.

      1. re: agoldman

        Thank you so much! These sound like some great recommendations. I've driven by Arnest in Manquin a number of times on the way down to the river and wondered about it. The Crab Lady also sounds like a good option for bringing em back home. Who would have thought it would be so difficult to find good crabs in Richmond?? Just doesn't make sense. Good luck!

        1. re: RIC Steph

          In the everlasting search for crabs...

          This Sunday I went to the Crab Lady. Tried to, at least. Even though it's apparently open on Sunday, it was closed when I got there, and the only clue I got was a sign saying that they close when they run out of crabs. Just as we were about to leave, another car pulled up with a couple looking for crabs. They said that when the Crab Lady is closed they go to a place around the corner. I followed them there (it's on Nine Mile Rd, just past Gordon Rd - the sign said "FOOD" but I didn't see a name), and into a dive of a seafood place that was steaming up crabs! We got a dozen hot, spiced crabs and an order of onion rings to go. They weren't the best crabs I've had all summer (a little small, and the spice mix was a little salty), but they certainly hit the spot. Considering that they're the only place in Richmond where I've been able to buy freshly steamed crabs, I'll probably be back.

          Also, the Crab Lady has a few outdoor picnic tables, which leads me to think you might be able to eat your crabs there.

          1. re: agoldman

            We are regulars at the Crab Lady. It's gotten to be that we don't really enjoy crabs anywhere else. She gets good crabs, I like her homemade old-bay style mix better than Old Bay (I suspect she uses better rock salt, etc.), and it's sooo much better if you are two people eating a dozen to take them home and steam them in 2 batches so that you always have hot, juicy crabs instead of eating until the end until they're harder and colder. We went to Mr. Bill's last weekend and we decided that the crabs were well priced... but we'd rather just go home and get them at Crab Lady.

            Her hours can be frustrating -- what you need to do is call in advance and reserve your crabs. I think you press "1" after the message or something. It's not the most streamlined operation, but the people are friendly and it's worth the wait. I think it maybe used to be a restaurant, hence the tables, but we've gotten crab kickers (de-shelled, cooked in garlic, very yummy) before and eaten them there. She says that she has some regular customers who used to love crab but now only eat her shrimp kickers, so those might be worth a try. Hm... maybe we'll go tonight and get some shrimp!

    2. maybe out at "the rivah?" i don't know the area well but i'd think there'd be someplace.

      here's one - not too far from williamsburg. and if you search there are others. i've NO idea what's good. looks charming though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: AMFM

        Thanks! I read about this place recently and thought it might be worth a try. I've looked all along the rivers in the area as we go boating often and have been surprised that there aren't any crab shacks anywhere to be found. I'm also a transplant to the area and thought that they would be easier to find. Thanks again!

        1. re: RIC Steph

          let us know what you find. i'm still exploring too and love to find good places!

      2. The Crab Lady Crabs are surely worth the wait. Yes, her hours can be frustrating but she can't but enough crabs to offer longer hours. She says she can buy plenty of "junk" crabs but who wants those? Yes, her kicker shrimp and crab kickers are for sure unique! Go Crab Lady! And her Snow Crab Legs are huge as well as her Jumbo Shrimp! I wish she did have longer hours. Maybe we should start asking her for that. I have been buying her crabs for about 4 years and if she is not open I just do with out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Parks

          Finally had a successful visit to the Crab Lady! Definitely the best crabs I've had in Richmond. I only wish I'd managed to reach her earlier in the summer.