DMV Dining

The day I found “The Crab Boss”

Summer 2015.

I was standing at the kitchen counter over a relatives house, enjoying a casual conversation.  While fiddling with some of the alias things on their counter, I noticed a club style flyer for seafood.  I was familiar with the growing trend of people selling home cooked dinners via social media, but never really saw a flyer for such in person.  As a True Marylander, anything with steamed shrimps or crabs, I’m sold.  Anyway, the glossy flyer had pictures of seafood platters prepared by somebody who called themself the Crab Boss.  The platters on the flyer had shrimp, crab legs, corn, sausage, and potatoes- a typical seafood boil more or less. My relative had no clue where the flyer came from, and saw no problems with me keeping.  A few days later, the flyer popped in mind.  I had a craving for seafood and not the normal chain, Red Lobster type. The flyer had no contact information other than a number so I sent the person a text. The person replied with a menu, and asked me what did I want to order.  I ordered a platter with corn and potatoes. They sent me a time and address to come pick it up.

Let me just say, if the address wasn’t in Bowie, I probably wouldn’t have gone, alone, at that.  The things we do for food.  I pulled into a subdivision, and texted the number I was here.  There were several other cars in the lot parked kinda crazy with hazards flashing.  Were they there for Crab Boss as well?  Few minutes later, the Crab Boss emerges with a hot seafood platter and a winning smile.  He said he was a Florida Boy new to the area, giving the DC metro a new style of seafood. Okay, Mr. Crab Boss, your sale presentation was nice.  Let me be the judge of your product.

I was anxious to go somewhere that I could sit and eat.  The seafood smell of Old Bay, shrimp, and crab legs had my car smelling tasty the whole way home. This better be good cus it sure smells good.

courtesy of IG @crabboss00

I got home, cracked open the platter, and he was right.  It was a new style seafood for me. Very similar to a seafood boil in which everything is cooked in the same pot and shares the same flavor, but this had a special oomph, a special sauce, I couldn’t put my finger on.  I shared a few shrimp with my household, and their response was the same.  Something about this is soooo good.  Its seasoned so well.  The corn tasted like the potato and the potato tasted like the sausage and the shrimp but in a good way. Overall first impression, I would try it again, the drive was a little far so not sure how often.  I took a picture of his flyer and sent to my friends stamping his seafood.

About a week later, the seafood urge was back.  I texted the number my order, he sent me the time to pickup and away I went.  Same quality platters with that same oomph taste.  Just that quick, I became a regular.   He was only open on certain days, then he moved so he was temporarily closed, I was all in his business availability like a true Stan.

After a brief hiatus, one day, he emerged (became active) on Instagram @crabboss00.  His posts of the seafood platters drenched in special sauce would make anybody hungry.  His name “The Crab Boss” was becoming known in the area.  He stopped selling platters out of his house, and started selling them mobile.  He would post a location and time (usually late evening), and you would “pull up” as he says.

The first time I went to one of his pop-up locations it was almost surreal.  When I pulled in the parking lot, other cars were already there waiting.  I pulled in a spot, and watched for his truck to pull up.  He arrived, and scores of people hopped out of their cars forming a line at the rear of his truck.  You paid your money, got your platter, and away you went.  Each time I went to a pop-up location, the line was a little longer than the time before.  You could hear newbies asking “if it’s really THAT good” or “what comes in a platter?”, and then vets like myself who wondered how many platters it would take the newbies before they became regulars.

Pretty soon this wasn’t just about seafood.  It was a whole experience.  You would wait all day for The Boss to post a location that evening, tag your friend, cousin, etc, then dart off to get your spot in the parking lot.  Hoping when he pulls up, it will be close to your spot, and you won’t have to lightly jog, but you WILL lightly jog to get in line if you have to.

While standing in line, you see young people, old people, people with kids, someone you recognize from social media but don’t personally know, somebody from high school, his exposure was so broad you could literally see anyone in line. Everyone’s facial expression was in agreement that the seafood was just THAT good, and the cat/mouse chase to get it was just something you had to do.

The demand for the Crab Boss grew crazy, and this is from a fan in the stands watching.  The good part being his product never changed, and I was rooting for him and the success of his business.  I watched it bloom from literally in house to a line of a hundred people waiting for a seafood platter.  The downside is there are complainers.  “The lines are too long, the price is high, blah blah, needs more organization.”  Some people need structure and can’t just go off the fly.  This was one of those things you have to step outside your normal box and experience.  If he sells out before you get one, try again another time, no love lost.  He was a one man show that literally turned into a legend overnight per se.  Expect kinks and complaints, but the product itself is sooo worth it.

He’s now opening an actual store location. His name is commonplace, and I wish him nothing but the best. He’s an example for all entrepreneurs out here.  Think outside the box with marketing yourself, but more importantly have a quality product to back it up.  I’ve seen the complainers in his IG comments get swarmed by those who will stand by his platters as if they made them personally.  It’s your product that will have a hundred people in line at 10pm on a Thursday night in the RAIN.  And, then again on Friday night. And, then again next week.

courtesy of @crabboss00 IG

That special sauce, is really something special.   Kudos to the Boss!

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