All Star Crab Shack
Owner James Littles serving up good food by good people
Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 6:06 p.m.
James Littles, who was raised in the Duval neighborhood in northeast Gainesville, has stretched his entrepreneurial wings a little bit farther — and closer to the streets he played on as a little boy.
Littles, who owns All Star Sports Bar on SW 13th Street just south of Williston Road, opened All Star Crab Shack at 1818 NE Waldo Road a month ago. The building formerly housed Crab House II, and is less than five minutes from the Duval neighborhood.
Littles, who is very proud of his Duval roots, said he decided to open the business on Waldo Road because of the popularity of the wings sold at the sports bar.
"We came up with a slogan at the sports bar — ‘The best wings in town,'?" said Littles, adding that people constantly told him he needed to find a place to sell the wings when the sports bar is closed. He said he began looking for a place to sell wings, and once he decided on the location, he said it was a no-brainer that he had to sell crabs as well.
"Everybody in Gainesville like crabs, garlic crabs especially," Littles said.
Littles said although the different flavors of wings he sells are very popular, he said the menu is dominated by seafood items that include garlic and spicy blue and snow crabs, burgers, fish, oysters and fried and garlic shrimp. He said fried crabs are also on the menu with side items such as fries, grits, hushpuppies and potatoes.
The wings are served in several flavors, including barbecue, Cajun ranch, honey barbecue, hot, lemon pepper, mild and sweet and tangy and other flavors.
"Our customers are buying the blue crabs and the wings at about the same rate," Littles said. "They both are selling really well."
He said he learned how to cook crabs by watching others in the crab selling business in Gainesville and Jacksonville. He said after carefully watching experienced crab boilers make their own sauces, he developed a recipe for his sauce to carve out his own niche in the industry.
"It's all about the sauce," Littles said. "It's about what you are giving them on top of the crabs."
Littles, who lives in Jacksonville, is also the agency/operator of an Avis Budget Car Rental business in Albany, Ga. He said he travels to Gainesville every Wednesday and spends the weekends here. He is a 1995 graduate of Buchholz High School, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2000 from the University of Virginia and is a U.S. Army veteran.
Queneller Clark said she likes the garlic crabs and fish at the business so much that she has eaten there at least four times since it opened.
"I like the sauce they have here," said Clark, owner of Stop the Madness, a nonprofit organization in Gainesville, after buying a combo tray of fried crabs and potatoes.
Tiffani Bryant came to the business for the first time recently to order fried crabs and a combo tray of garlic crabs and potatoes.
"I was interested in what the food tastes like, so I decided to come get some," said Bryant, as she stood in line with her 5-year-old daughter. "I don't know what to expect from here, but I have worked at all of the crab places around here, and I know how good crabs taste."
Littles said customers who patronize All Star Crab Shack are guaranteed good food served by good people.
"I always want to leave a mark on anything I do," Littles said. "So when I say good, quality food, served by good, quality people. I meant it from the heart."
Hours of operation are from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday.
The phone number is 352-278-5589.