The Chain Gang

Joe’s Crab Shack Admits Its Beach-Kitsch Thing Isn’t Working in NYC

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Maybe to atone for the city’s soft spot for Bubba Gump Shrimp, New Yorkers have shown themselves to be commendably resistant to Joe’s Crab Shack. One of city’s final two remaining locations, up in the Bronx, will close “in a few months,” the chain says, along with another that’s over in downtown Newark.

It’s fair to say Joe’s used to have high hopes for the New York–metropolitan–area market — 16 of its 128 locations are presently located in it. But according to today’s New York Post, the company admits its carefully crafted, witty image (the go-to spot to “take your top off” and maybe receive a casually racist place mat) isn’t scoring the requisite “urban appeal.” The confession comes just a few months after Joe’s also shuttered its location in Harlem — the city’s first to open, back in 2013. The only remaining location will be out in Elmhurst, Queens.

Robert Merritt, head of parent company Ignite Restaurant Group, says Joe’s will finally just accept its sad fate as a hokey souvenir store that also offers food. “It’s a vacation brand,” he told investors, adding, “Florida is a perfect market for us.”


Joe’s Crab Shack to Close Last NYC Location