1. Lestardo’s Crab House (New Castle, 328-5070) offers blue claw, king, snow and Dungeness crabs.
2. Boondocks (Smyrna, 653-6962) might be the boonies, but it’s well known to crab-lovers. Pregame with the Swamp Water cocktail or an icy pitcher of beer and some crab soup.
3. Leave little pickers at home if you go to Sambo’s Tavern (Leipsic, 674-9724). Because it’s a tavern, no one under 21 is admitted. Founded by Samuel Burrows in 1953, Sambo’s has become legendary as much for the crabs—delivered by watermen right to the restaurant dock—as for the NASCAR memorabilia. It’s a hit with the race crowd and the drivers. Time your visit. The restaurant closes in winter.
4. The Surfing Crab (Lewes, 644-4448, thesurfingcrab.com) was started by second-generation crab house owner Don Vechery. The Caribbean-blue restaurant cooks the crabs to order so call first to check availability and order your preferred size.
5. For more than 25 years, crab-happy tourists have wielded mallets at Lazy Susan’s Hot Fat Crabs (Lewes, 645-5115). You’ll dine at picnic tables in a replica lifesaving station.
6. The iconic Lazy Susan’s now has company on Del. 1. The Crab House (Rehoboth Beach, 227-2019) is owned by the Big Fish Restaurant Group. Along with blue crabs, you’ll find Maine lobsters and shucked oysters. The Crabby Hour at the bar features crab deviled eggs, steamed mussels and chilled shrimp.
7–9. Along the southern beaches, head to The Blue Crab (Bethany Beach, 537-4700), Mickey’s Family Crab House (Bethany Beach, 539-5384) and Fenwick Crab House (Fenwick Island, 539-2500), the granddaddy of local crab houses.
10. In western Sussex, the Old Mill Crab House (Delmar, 846-2808) is a legend. So is its fried chicken.