Metro-East Living

At Jack Crab, area’s newest seafood restaurant, your meal is in the bag

Skip the fork; it’s OK to eat with your hands at the newest seafood restaurant in the metro-east.

Jack Crab, a new seafood destination near Marcus St. Clair Cinema, recently opened at 51 Ludwig Drive in Fairview Heights.

The former home of Joe’s Crab Shack isn’t a traditional seafood restaurant with white tablecloths, shrimp cocktail and a picture-perfect lobster hanging on the wall. It’s more modern and a little trendier than that.

At Jack Crab, paper table coverings catch the juice that drips from giant bags of seafood. Customers receive bibs and napkins when they order the restaurant’s signature dish: boiled seafood.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Jack Crab:

Classic seafood boil — in a bag

Your seafood isn’t served on a platter at Jack Crab. Instead, the classic seafood boil comes in a giant plastic bag filled with crab, shrimp, potatoes and corn on the cob. That bag is placed in the center of a table, which has a built-in-bucket in middle.

During the meal, patrons can dump their leftover shells, peels and messy napkins in the bucket.

Inside the bag, customers can choose from three different seafood boil flavors: Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic butter or a combination of all three called the “juicy special.”

A look at a seafood boil bag from Jack Crab. The popular item contains boiled seafood and spices. Cara Anthony

Prices for seafood boils range from $ 11 for crawfish to $26 for snow crab. Prices vary for combination boils and lobster. Every order is served with corn and potato.

Out with old, in with new look

Jack Crab is owned by Will and Joanna Chan and managed by Lynn Li.

Li said of the food-in-a-bag concept: “It’s really fun, and it’s like a style, you pull it (the bag) a bit ... then we just eat like this,” she said.

The exterior of the former home of Joe’s Crab Shack hasn’t changed much, but the interior has received a total makeover from top to bottom.

A new bar, new tables and booths give the restaurant a fresh look and vibe. A new waiting area near the front entrance is outfitted with sleek leather seats.

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An inside look at Jack Crab in Fairview Heights. Provided

Outdoor season will be available this spring, and the restaurant expects to receive its liquor license soon.

Jack Crab is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Bringing life back to Ludwig Drive

The arrival of Jack Crab marks a new beginning for Ludwig Drive in Fairview Heights. Jack Crab is the third new eatery to open there in recent months.

TBD Bar + Social opened last August at 15 Ludwig Drive, bringing games and trendy bar snacks to the area.

Rio Grande opened in December at 47 Ludwig Drive with 20 margarita flavors on the menu.

From cheesy burritos served with a tiny Mexican flag in the center ($9.75) to sweet and sour mango tacos served with rice and beans ($11.75), Rio Grande offers a wide range of traditional and adventurous Mexican cuisine.

Now that you know about the latest eateries to open in Fairview Heights, check out the newest businesses in downtown Belleville.

Cara Anthony covers restaurants and retail for the Belleville News-Democrat, where she works to answer readers’ questions about restaurant openings, business closures and the best new dishes in the metro-east. She attended Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville and grew up in East St. Louis.
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