DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken

All-You-Can-Eat | Chicken Dinner | Crab House | Seafood
Memorable
One of the best
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On the wall in the front room of DeShawn’s hangs a bell with a long chain on its clapper. First-time customers who have enjoyed their meal are encouraged to ring it. When they do, a dining room full of happy eaters applauds them. DeShawn’s is the sort of place that inspires exultant loyalty among both staff and customers.

It is not hard to see why seafood lovers are enamored, even putting aside the restaurant’s signature splurge – all-you-can-eat crab legs — really big, meaty ones — for about $40. There are so many good crustaceans and flatfish to eat, most meals less than half the price of the crab-legs blowout. Fried shrimp are taut and sweet and encased in vividly spiced breading’ Flounder is skin-on flavorful, also sheathed in a full-flavored crust. There are robust catfish (whole or filleted) and scallops and oysters and a whole menu of broiled seafood and even a real low-country boil of shrimp, potatoes, sweet corn, and sausage.

As for fish-frowners, note the full name of the restaurant. No afterthought, DeShawn’s splendid chicken is breaded and fried to crispy-crunchy succulence with the same expertise that graces the seafood.

Both fish and chicken are terrific, but a person could make a meal of nothing but side dishes. Foremost among them is hot baked potato salad, rich with cheese and mayo, radiating the flavor of superabundant bacon laced throughout. Mac ‘n’ cheese is deeply cheesy, ranging from custard-soft center to chewy edge. Turnip greens contain as much turnip as greens; they are pungent and intriguingly bitter. Collard greens, on the other hand, are soft and earthy with full-bore vegetable character.

Aside from offering excellent food that is well priced and served fast, DeShawn’s earns warm feelings from its clientele because it is so resolutely casual. No airs or pretense here. It is an eating hall unceremoniously made of cinderblocks painted ocean blue with a wood floor that is battleship gray and the usual array of nautical nick-nacks hanging on walls and from a ceiling where overhead fans spin. Waitresses wear shirts that say “Let’s Get Crackin’.” Tables are available either normal height or at high-chair level; they are made of polished wood-grain material that is easy to wipe clean.

The only negative thing about DeShawn’s is that it has earned a large army of loyal fans, which means that on a weekend night, the wait for a seat inside can be up to an hour. Do note that DeShawn’s is closed Monday and Tuesday and closes at 5pm on Sunday.

Finally, a fun nugget of knowledge: Deanna Brown Thomas, who owns the place with her husband, Shawn Thomas, is the daughter of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. Brown grew up just across the river in Augusta.

What to Eat
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Crab Legs (All You Can Eat)
Crab Legs (All You Can Eat)
Must-Try
The biggest crab legs around, served piping hot
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Shrimp & Flounder Lunch Special
Shrimp & Flounder Lunch Special
Must-Try
Nice lunch: shrimp and flounder accompanied by mac 'n' cheese and turnips with greens
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Hot Baked Potato Salad
Hot Baked Potato Salad
Must-Try
Hot baked potato salad includes bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Turnips
Turnips
Must-Try
Turnips are about half turnips and half their greens.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Biscuit
Biscuit
Must-Try
Biscuit, brushed with honey butter, is a natural fried chicken companion.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Fried Chicken
Fried Chicken
Must-Try
The superabundance of crisp, peppery fried chicken coat is a wonder of the fried chicken world.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Oyster Po Boy
Oyster Po Boy
Must-Try
The bread & garnishes are ho-hum, but the abundant, freshly-fried oysters are grand.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Must-Try
Sweet potato cheesecake is dense and big-flavored, enough for two.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Key Lime Cake
Key Lime Cake
Sweet, ingenuous layer cakes are a house specialty. This is Key lime.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese
Mac 'n' cheese is creamy with a few crunchy pieces from the edge of the casserole.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Collard Greens
Collard Greens
Collard greens are a powerhouse vegetable. Vinegar-pepper is a welcome add-on.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies are are a staid seafood companion.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Cheese Grits
Cheese Grits
Customers are invited to help themselves to a bowl of cheese grits.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Yams
Yams
Soft, syrupy yams are insanely sweet.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Gumbo
Gumbo
Intensely smoky gumbo, loaded
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Lowcountry Boil
Lowcountry Boil
Traditional lowcountry boil is here supplemented by the kitchen's famously large crab legs.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes
Crab cake meat is more shredded than lumpy.
DeShawn’s Seafood and Chicken, Pink Lemonade
Pink Lemonade
House-made pink lemonade: very sweet!
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
10 stops | 48 MILES | 1 hr 22 min

Aiken has long been a vacation destination for the horsey set – back in the 1950s, weekly non-stop train service direct from New York served wintering horses, horse owners, and their staff. It remains a destination for horse people of all kind. If riding (or watching) the four-legged athletes conjures up an appetite, there is…

6 stops | 63 MILES | 1 hr 35 min

Road Trip Overview

After moving to Aiken, South Carolina, Michael Stern put together an expertly crafted list of his six favorite local restaurants. This road trip, spanning 63 miles, will take just over an hour and a half of driving to complete. Along this drive expect ice cream that has people driving across the state…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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