The Crab Cooker – Tastiest Legend in the OC

Sep 25, 2010 by Sandy Schroeder

Since 1951 Orange County residents have been lining up at The Crab Cooker to enjoy fish dinners in the bright red building on Balboa Peninsula in Newport.

Serving the world’s finest fish and the best clam chowder was the goal and every other person in OC seems to have fond memories of being here to enjoy it.

It’s has an easy, picnic like atmosphere, where t-shirts and shorts are fine. Its restaurant and fish market do brisk business offering fresh fish, shelled fish, smoked fish, chowder and sauces.

You may find yourself waiting in line for a seat, parking curbside, and filling the meter, under the watchful eye of the Newport meter maids; but it all turns out to be worth it as you you savor your dinner.

Typical comments: “I have been coming here since my family took me when I was three years old. The seafood is delicious, always fresh, and the 3 sides (slaw, tomatoes or mashed potatoes, are just right.”

Or, “Now this is what seafood is all about! Fresh, tasty and a fair price.   Tuna appetizers, lobster, scallops, all to die for. Their service is great, and its setting is amazing.  I’m getting hungry thinking about this place. I hit the place before 4:00pm and save some money as its lunch pricing is a really good deal.  I’ve been eating here since 1971. This is the real thing–maintained for decades.  Be sure to pick up some saltwater taffy on the way out.”

In the Owner’s own words, here’s how it all began..

How did it all get started? Ever since I was a little boy, I have loved the Sea and loved to fish. As a young man when I returned home from World War 2 I worked as a journeyman carpenter by day, composed music and played the piano by night. One day while working I made a goal to spend the rest of my life working with what I loved, ‘FISH’. So after much scrimping and saving I finally made it into the seafood business in 1951.

The original name of our restaurant was Seafood Varieties and in front of the restaurant we had large lobster and crab cookers. It took about three years for me to realize that nobody knew us by our business name, instead they referred to us as the place with the big Crab Cookers. Essentially our customers named the restaurant, and I was happy to change the name for them. Time has facilitated many changes with our building, refrigeration techniques etc., but the one thing that has not changed or will not change, is our persistent dedication to constantly provide you, our customers, the worlds finest seafood. It may sound corny, but the truth of the matter is that in 1951, I fell in love with the fish business and our customers and I have been on a honeymoon ever since.The original name of our restaurant was Seafood Varieties and in front of the restaurant we had large lobster and crab cookers.

It took about three years for me to realize that nobody knew us by our business name, instead they referred to us as the place with the big Crab Cookers. Essentially our customers named the restaurant, and I was happy to change the name for them. Time has facilitated many changes with our building, refrigeration techniques etc., but the one thing that has not changed or will not change is our persistent dedication to constantly provide you, our customers, the worlds finest seafood. It may sound corny, but the truth of the matter is, in 1951, I fell in love with the fish business and our customers and I have been on a honeymoon ever since.

Bob Roubian, Proprietor

The Crab Cooker

Hours: Sunday thru Thursday, Fish Market, 10:00am – 9:00pm; Restaurant 11:00am – 9:00pm

Friday and Saturday, Fish Market 10:00am – 10:00pm; Restaurant 11:00am – 10:00pm

Two Locations: Original, 2200 Newport Blvd., Newport – 17260 E.17th, Tustin.

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