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Getting crabby

Navigating all-you-can-eat crab hot spots in Charlotte

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Though fall Has finally arrived in the Queen City, some of us aren't quite ready to dive head first into the pumpkin spice latte and blanket scarf season. For those folks who are dragging behind, I highly recommend feasting on all-you-can-eat crab legs.

While a crab leg feast is reminiscent of summer's long, sunny days, the beach and the ocean, it's actually entirely appropriate (and deliciously, basically necessary) to enjoy all year long. Those pop-up lingering warm days are the perfect excuse to indulge in a pint and some crab legs on a patio for an outdoor feast, so don't let the approaching fall temperatures deter you. Crab legs and Monday night football are a beautiful pair.

All-you-can-eat crab legs may seem like a random culinary topic in landlocked Charlotte, but I promise you, it's not. Did you know "all-you-can-eat crab legs" drives the most traffic to my local food blog?

Since it's clear we have a lot of crab-loving Charlotteans, I'm here to tell folks about what they've seemingly been searching for. This includes where you can get all-you-can-eat crab in Charlotte.

My favorite spot to go to for an all-you-can-eat crab feasting is Kennedy's Premium Bar & Grill in Elizabeth. On Monday nights after 5 p.m. you can eat all the crab legs you want at Kennedy's for $29.99. Yes! Unlimited crab legs for under $30 bucks may be a gift from the seafood gods.

I highly recommend getting there early, staking out a place on their expansive patio near a TV (it's football season after all) and ordering a pint of your favorite Olde Mecklenburg brew for $3. Really, nothing makes me happier than unlimited crab legs and three dollar beers.

Beware of their sneaky attempts to fill you up prior to your crab feast (swift move, Kennedy's). I recommend that you limit yourself to one (okay, maybe two) hush puppies from the basket your waiter will bring while you're waiting for the main event, and that you just pick at the standard house salad you'll also get, before pushing it aside.

Soon enough, your waiter will deliver a platter of crab leg clusters and a bucket for shells. Then, it'll be time to get to work. The waiters do a great job of keeping the crab legs coming — when we go, it's easy that we fly through platters and platters of legs and leave at least two buckets of shells in our wake.

Besides having an excellent patio and an attentive wait staff, Kennedy's cooks their crab just how I like it: steamed warm with a hint of salt. A pinch of salt is key to balancing out the natural sweetness of crabs.

Your crab will come with a choice of dipping sauces, melted butter and something that resembles Thousand Island dressing. It's good stuff, but honestly Kennedy's succulent crab is so tasty that you could enjoy the meat without dipping it into anything at all.

If you don't feel like making the trek to Elizabeth on Monday nights, don't worry, there are other places in Charlotte where you can get your crab leg fix. Treehouse Whiskey and Fork in SouthPark also does all-you-can-eat crab legs on Monday nights (it's all served with fixins' like corn on the cob and potatoes. It's all quite similar to a low-country boil).

If you're in the mood for all-you-can-eat crab on Thursdays, head to Lure Oyster Bar, where there's a $25 special.

Also, on Oct. 29, Charlotte's Carolina Fish Market will host CrabToberFest. It's an all-you-can-eat blue crab festival that's going down at Unknown Brewing Company. There's also shrimp and plenty of beer options for an additional fee. As usual, you'll have to sign a shellfish waiver at the door in order to partake in the all-you-can-eat crab legs feasting event.

Chrissie Nelson is a public defender by day and a food blogger by night. Read about her foodventures, restaurant reviews and other Charlotte musings at offtheeatenpathblog.com.

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