Opening amid the pandemic, Shuck Shack has brought a taste of New England to Buffalo

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on Western New York’s local restaurant scene- but it hasn’t stopped some new places from popping up this summer.

Shuck Shack is one of the new outdoor dining concepts that has found success this season. The “New England-inspired seafood trailer” is located in a parking lot overlooking the water at 301 Ohio Street.

The menu includes several types of oysters- with descriptions of their unique flavors and where they were caught- steamed clams, and lobster- either by the claw, or on a roll.

The restaurant is the brainchild of Mike Tobin, who also owns Fresh Catch Poke Co., which has locations on Franklin Street in downtown Buffalo and on Main Street in Williamsville.

“I was out in Boston last August, working with my fishermen for Fresh Catch, and when I was walking up and down the harbor front there, I really fell in love with that look, that style,” Tobin said.

Shuck Shack offers the relaxed seafood experience you can find throughout New England- no white tablecloths or cloth napkins here.

“We wanted to show people that seafood doesn’t have to be bougie- very good, high-quality seafood, in a relaxed atmosphere,” Tobin added.

COVID-19 threw a wrench into the plans for opening this year- “It was kind of, ‘do we do it or do we shelf it for the summer?’ Tobin said. “We decided to push forward and go after it.”

Shuck Shack opened over the Independence Day weekend, and has been bustling ever since.

“The reception’s been awesome,” Tobin said. “The response has been great- it’s almost as if they needed this sort of thing.”

Shuck Shack is winding down for the season- they’re closing down for the season after Labor Day weekend. Tobin says the same fresh-caught oysters will be available at Fresh Catch after Labor Day.

“The Cape Cod fishermen pull them that day, drive them to Boston, and they’re here the next day,” Tobin said. “I think people have really been able to tell the difference- people are appreciating truly fresh seafood.”

The seafood spot is going out with a bang with a “Labor Day Weekend Oyster Fest” through Sept. 7.

There will be three packages available, priced for four people, including taxes, fees, and gratuities for a 90-minute time slot.

Part of the proceeds from the multi-day event will go to funding scholarships for Emerson Culinary and Hospitality students. fund scholarships for Emerson Culinary and Hospitality Students!

“The hospitality industry is really taking a beating right now, so we’re trying to show kids that we’re not going anywhere- we’ll be evolving and changing,” Tobin said. “We need innovative, fresh minds coming into the business- I want to make sure the kids know this is a great industry, it’s a beautiful thing that we’re able to persevere through this right now, and we want to show others that they can do it too.”

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