Beach Report: Dirty Dick gets crabby

Dirty Dick is moving to North Myrtle Beach, and he says he's bringing a lot of wholesome family fun with him.

Ken Hersey - founder of Dirty Dick's Crab House - and partners Beany Macgregor and Jack Frestel bought the former Calico Jack's restaurant at 1101 N. Kings Highway.

A June 20 opening is planned. This will be the fourth Dirty Dick's.

The concept was Hersey's. He had a longtime career as a building contractor in the Washington area, but during a vacation to the Outer Banks he had an idea.

"Crabs are a summer tradition in the D.C. and Maryland area," Hersey explained, "but in the Outer Banks there was no local market for them. I thought, tongue in cheek, that 'One day I'll come here and open a crab house.' I told my friend, Dick, 'Wouldn't it be funny to open a crab house and call it Dirty Dick's Crab House?' I sat on that idea for 25 years."

In 1995, Hersey went to Kill Devil Hills and opened his crab shack.

That first small restaurant was quickly outgrown, so when a restaurant with more than 200 seats became available in Kill Devil Hills, Hersey took it. That was in 2001, and that's also when Macgregor joined the Dirty Dick's partnership.

Macgregor, a New Orleans native, had much experience opening new restaurants: He launched 87 Planet Hollywoods in 27 countries.

Since then, Dirty Dick's have opened in Avon, N.C., and in Panama City, Fla. If this fourth restaurant in North Myrtle Beach does well, it might be joined by a couple more Grand Strand units located a little farther south.

Hersey said he wants to make it clear his restaurant will be nothing like Dick's Last Resort in Barefoot Landing, and guarantees no one at Dirty Dick's will yell at or be rude to customers.

Families are welcome at Dirty Dick's, and children get their meals served on Frisbees they get to keep.

Adults can look forward to a menu full of fresh seafood. Hersey says all food is prepped on-site; Macgregor emphasizes Dirty Dick's uses American wild-caught shrimp - and "no frozen fish. If it's not fresh, we don't have it that day"

The menu includes "Real & Fresh" grouper filets (market price), flounder ($22 for a platter), fried frog legs, crab cakes (2 for $19), Creole stuffed crabs, jumbo stuffed shrimp and lump crab au gratin with shrimp and mushrooms. The restaurant will also have scallop cakes, shrimp and grits, linguine and clams, ranch pork chops, braised ham shanks, barbecue smoked chicken and chicken etouffee.

Dirty Dick's will be open for lunch serving a variety of sandwiches, such as po-boys, wraps, burgers, crab melt and seafood muffaletta. Lunch entrees include fish tacos, steak kabob, red beans and rice and Dixie chicken.

There will be four $6 lunch specials and an all-you-care-to-eat meal that will offer snow crab legs or spiced shrimp, Dungeness crab, corn on the cob, red potatoes, hush puppies and drawn butter for $6 over the seafoods' market prices.

Dirty Dick's hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. It will close for a month or three in the winter, and during that closure in 2011 some remodeling will take place.

T-shirts ("I Got My Crabs From Dirty Dicks!") will be $19; the retail shop will also have sweatshirts, shot glasses, pilsners, children's tattoos, flying discs and more.


Details on Grand Strand events and attractions:

www.myrtlebeachonline .com .