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Shackin’ Up With Uncle Joe

We stopped by the new Uncle Joe’s Crab Shack on Maple Road in Amherst, just outside of Buffalo, NY at two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. We like to go to popular restaurants at odd times, to avoid the crowds. Call it Linner, I suppose.

Our timing didn’t help this time around, there was still a 45 minute wait. We gave our name and my cell number so that they could reach me when the table was ready. (I have no idea what they do if one of the 7 people in the contiguous United States without a cell phone shows up).

We amused ourselves during the wait as most eight year olds would, by poking and teasing each other. Unfortunately, the youngest of us was 18.

We were finally seated in the packed dining room and ordered pots of crab. I don’t recall what they are called, but they are good sized steamer pots.

We were provided with utensils and a bucket that fit into a hole cut into the center of the table. This was to discard crab shells, napkins and other detritus. But it was oddly fascinating. It was hard to resist the temptation to use an excessive number of napkins, or grab items from neighboring tables, just to experience the joy of tossing random garbage into a bucket cut into a hole in the center of the table. I wonder if I could convince my husband to do this at home.

But, as always, I digress.

The waitress took our our orders and tied around our necks bibs that had been scrawled with vaguely dirty sentiments. “I went out for a good time and got crabs” for my better half and “I’m here for the crab facial” for me.

The crab was quite tasty, especially considering that this was an inland location of a chain restaurant. The crab came with corn on the cob and boiled potatoes, both of which I scoffed at because after all, there was CRAB.

At one point during the meal, the seventies classic “Carwash” began playing, and all the servers lined up alone the periphery of the dining room and performed a choreographed dance routine to the music, a pigtailed toddler joining them as well. It was quite fun and when I wondered aloud if they interviewed or auditioned for for jobs here, our daughter responded that it appeared that all you needed to work there was to “be loud and have rhythm.” We suggested she apply.

Oh and my favorite feature in the restaurant was that two big wash-up sinks were provided right in the dining room. If you had ever seen me eat crab (and you won’t) you would understand why.

So, we ended up with a nice meal, two crab pots, an order of fries and 3 soft drinks for under $60. Not bad.

We may have ended up with one or two of their fun tee shirts if it hadn’t been so crowded. Maybe next time.

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