Saturday, July 22, 2017  

O'Shucks Raw Bar and Restaurant: There's a New Vibe in Town


There is a new face on Prince Street and its name is O’Shucks. Located in the historic downtown district of Tappahannock at 324 Prince Street, the new raw bar/restaurant recently opened in April. The 100+ year old building has a décor fitting to its time period with black and white prints on the walls depicting local river scenes. The original tin paneled ceiling has been beautifully retained and painted. The shiny beautiful tables were locally made and a quaint lounge area all add to the vibe of small hometown camaraderie.

The relaxed atmosphere makes all feel welcome and the dining music is not something you would hear on the radio often. You can dine with family and friends to the tunes of The Rolling Stones, Queen, The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, Black Crows, Crosby Stills, Nash and Young and more popular classic bands and enjoy a dining experience worthy of repeating.

O’Shucks specializes in seasonally fresh local oysters, crabmeat and fish, but they are not all seafood. O’Shucks also has Angus beef burgers with your choice of cheese on a brioche bun, chicken salad on a large croissant, Rubens, BLTs made with local ingredients when in season, various salads and soups, BBQ chicken, short rib melt, Cubans and more on their daily lunch menu. Those that prefer seafood will find headliners on the lunch menu such as their signature fish tacos, crab cake on brioche bun, oyster po’ boy on a sub roll and shrimp-n-grits, which are the most popular items with the lunch crowd. Customers can call ahead for take-out also if they are not able to dine in.

Their dinner entrees will consist of ever changing seasonal specials to include oysters, crabmeat and various types of fish that are in season. Diners will always have the choice of a pasta dish, chicken specialty, steamed shrimp, a choice of soups and high quality cuts of steak. Rotating appetizers may consist of mozzarella sticks, cocktail crab claws, fried oysters, steamed shrimp and hot wings. O’Shucks entrees include pasta Alfredo with shrimp or chicken, BBQ, Mahi Mahi, salmon, grilled BBQ chicken breast, crab cakes and fried soft shell crabs this season. There will be nightly seasonal specials as well. Also, to make your taste buds dance you can enjoy tantalizing desserts homemade by local bakers.

Their tasty Sunday Brunch is served from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch standards have a little added oomph to them at O’Shucks. Diners can savor a Cajun scramble which consists of three scrambled eggs with crawfish, corn, onions, peppers and cheddar, a Cuban omelet with pulled pork, black beans, corn and cheddar, or a Virginia omelet with local lump crab, country ham, tomatoes and brie. More tried and true brunch plates include French toast, fruit topped yogurt, egg specials, corn beef brisket hash, eggs Benny, BLT, O’Shucks Angus cheeseburger and shrimp-n-grits. So treat yourself to a fantastic brunch after church on Sundays at O’Shucks; it has the makings of a new family tradition.
With summer approaching, O’Shucks will focus on local blue crabs, including soft shell crabs. Crab specials will be abundant and pick-your-own steamed crabs will be available as a Wednesday night special for you to enjoy with your favorite golden beverage. O’Shucks will specialize in local oysters and oysters on the half shell. Not only on the menu but also shucked on-site in the fall and served by their own shuckers on the deck of their round stern workboat, the Miss Tappahannock, which also serves as the bar.

Besides Coca Cola products, coffee and tea, O’Shucks has a nice selection behind the bar, beers include: Devil Backbone, Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Heineken, Yuengling, Guinness, Corona, Budweiser and Bud Light, Miller Light, Natural Light, Coors Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Wines from some well known wineries are also available in Pinot Grigio, Rose, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and mixed beverages are served as well.

O’Shucks is housed on historic Prince Street in a building that was built in 1906 as a meeting hall for the Association of American Mechanics which was comprised of local business people. Their primary focus was housing orphans. In those days there were many orphans because so many parents died at a young age. In 1943, Milton Brooks purchased the property and it became Brooks Dry Goods for many years. In 1980, John E. Hamilton purchased the property and leased it to local businesses, then later turned it into his law office. The building was purchased in 2000 from Hamilton by J.L. Blanton. He too leased it to various businesses and it eventually became Blanton Rental Office. As with all buildings on Prince Street, it has had very few owners in the past 100 years. While maintaining their rental office and part-time town residence upstairs, in September 2012 the Blanton family began discussing the idea of turning the downstairs into a restaurant. In April 2013, O’Shucks opened its doors to a very receptive crowd. In making it a family affair, the late Mr. Blanton’s son and grandson, Joey and Garrett, own and operate O’Shucks along with help from Joey’s wife Downi and daughter Anne Lewis while Molly Barbee is general manger.

In keeping with Blanton’s lifelong support of the local economy, you will find that, when available, items and food have been purchased locally. This also applied with all of the contractors, artists and photographers that helped mold O’Shucks into reality as well. Blanton states, “We hope that O’Shucks will add something to the historic section of town and the Tappahannock Main Street Program which has had much success with the Farmer’s Market and the Tappahannock Concert Series to date.”

O’Shucks is loaded with an experienced crew. Top notch chef, Aaron Anderson, his first mate, Garrett Blanton, manager, Molly Barbee, and her top crewmate, Tiffany Northern, have pulled the seasoned staff together and have things running smoothly. Management is in the process of selecting items for a standard dinner menu and will have additional specials daily. They are acquiring feedback from diners about their favorite meals and also putting together a children’s menu.

Hours for lunch are Tuesday thru Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and dinner hours are Thursday thru Saturday hours 5 – 9 p.m. The hours for Sunday brunch are 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and hours will be modified for Wednesday night “Crab Night” which is coming soon. Please call 443-4402 for questions or  to order carry-out and ‘like’ O’Shucks  on Facebook to keep up to date on  dining specials.