Southern Staple on the Florida Shore

The Crow's Nest Restaurant & Marina


There is something about the simple yet endearing combination of creamy grits and smoky shrimp that awakens a feeling of familiar comfort, even for those that do not call the Deep South home. This seemingly humble dish carries with it a rich history; from the South Carolina Lowcountry kitchens of the Gullah, descendants of enslaved Africans, to fine dining tables across the country looking for the perfect hint of Southern flavor, shrimp and grits have made their culinary mark on the Florida Gulf Coast as well, at The Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Marina.

Having lived two years in Charleston, South Carolina, the buckle of the aptly named “Grits Belt,” Chef Jon DeRue’s interpretation of this iconic dish blends classic and fresh flavors. “I’d say it’s a spin on a traditional Southern shrimp and grit,” Chef DeRue explains. “This is just a nice play on it, a southern Florida play on it.” While a more traditional offering may be heavy on stock and tomato, Chef DeRue infuses the stone-ground cheddar grits with cream for a rich, smooth taste, and creates a tantalizing Creole pan sauce with a blend of Cajun seasonings, onions, Tabasco, bell pepper, and Worchester. With a nod to its Florida home, the dish is topped with hearty Gulf shrimp as the final instrumental touch. One bite, and you may find yourself transported; catching a whiff of honeysuckle or surrounded by fireflies, as The Crow’s Nest Restaurant and Marina brings the Lowcountry to the Gulf Coast.

1968 Tarpon Center Dr, Venice

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