Crabby Bills has the following locations:
The original Crabby Bill's opened on April 28, 1983 and has been going strong for the past 20 years. "That's a lot of crabs and fish," says Ellie Loder Jenkins, Crabby Bill's daughter and corporate manager. She tells the story this way. In 1968, Bill and Dolores Loder decided to pack up their five children (Ellie, Cookie, George, Matt and John) in the family station wagon and move from New Jersey to Pinellas County on Florida's West Coast (just west of Tampa).
Bill & Dolores had run a successful seafood restaurant in New Jersey and Bill had supplied the seafood from surrounding waters, but a death in the family caused them to consider a new beginning in a new location. "My parents packed up five kids, and everything they owned in the station wagon and pick-up truck, and moved," explains Ellie. "When we first got here, our kitchen table was a picnic table," which is why the picnic table has special meaning in the restaurants and for the family today.
Crabby Bill has been the captain of a shrimp boat, sold Blue Crabs and Stone Crab Claws from a truck on the side of the road, Crabbed, Clammed and Fished for a living, just about anything in the seafood business to make a nickel Bill has probably done it. Opening a seafood restaurant again as Bill and his wife Dolores had done in New Jersey was only a natural thing that was bound to happen given enough time.
The first few years, the Loders ran a restaurant on Redington Shores, and then on Bay Pines, a location that had been a produce stand. They sold seafood by the pound, cooked it and served it outdoors, family style: all-you-can-eat feasts with a salad bar, steamers, shrimp and crab for just $3.95. (Whoa!) Patrons drove in and ate on picnic tables or on the tailgates of their pick-ups. After losing that location to a fire, the Loders temporarily relocated to Madeira Beach and then to the Tyrone Mall area in St. Petersburg Florida.
The restaurant on Tyrone Boulevard in St. Petersburg, "Captain Bill's" just got out of control for us-it was too big-and we wanted to go back to our roots," explains Ellie. That's when the Original Crabby Bill's on Indian Rocks Beach was born.
Bill had sold his restaurant "Captain Bill's" and a name change was necessary. At the family dining room table everyone was wondering what we should call our next restaurant and someone said "we like selling crabs and who's crabbier than dad, how about Crabby Bill's "the name has quickly become his. Although we sell crabs and lots of them the name is more about the man than anything." Through it all, Bill Loder's philosophy has been, "buy it cheap and sell a heap", and the restaurants have always reflected these values. "Our kids all cut their teeth in the restaurants; in fact, my son learned to walk here," says Ellie. Paulie, now an adult, "manages the wholesale division of the company. If the family wanted to be together on Thanksgiving, they'd just bring the kids to work."
The 5 kids married and their spouses came into the business. Then the 14 grandchildren came into the business with their spouses. And so on, and so on. There are four great-grandchildren today, so it seems that the legacy goes on. Ellie reminisces, "Everyone knows somebody named Bill; thank goodness dad's name wasn't Myron or we wouldn't have sold a T-shirt".
Crabby Bill's now has eight locations in Florida along with its own seafood business (Double D Seafood, named after Bill's wife, Dolores, who's nickname was DD) with 40 commercial fishing boats. Double D Seafood has retail stores on Duhme Road (just west of Madeira beach) and on Ft. Harrison in Clearwater. Their boats are docked on Madeira Beach and the wholesale distribution plant is in downtown St. Pete. The wholesale division sells fresh fish to Canada and China. Double D specializes in Grouper, Snapper, Shark, Clams, Blue Crabs and Stone Crabs. They have 175 customers other than the Crabby Bill restaurants.
In Crabby Bill's restaurants and Double D Seafood we have long-term employees. Some crewmembers have been with us for the 23+ years. It's like an extended family." Crabby Bills wish to show their appreciation to all in this huge extended family, every bit as much as the spirit of Bill and Dolores. Ellie say's "Our people make us better than the competition at cooking and serving the best quality seafood anywhere".
Not only does Crabby Bill's do such great job with Crabs and Grouper but also we're famous for cheap Oysters on the 1/2 Shell. We sell a lot of them to keep em' fresh and delicious, better than the other guys.
Hope this familiarizes you with our little family fish business. And remember what Crabby Bill always says: Don't Worry; be crabby.
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