As mentioned in the About section of the blog, one of the main things I want to do with the site is provide honest reviews of restaurants in Auburn to help students on a budget determine where to spend their limited resources. There are many wonderful places to eat in Auburn, so I had many options to choose from. I went back and forth on which local eatery to review first before finally deciding to visit The Creole and Seafood Shack aka The Shack.
For years The Creole and Seafood Shack was quite literally housed in a shack. I remember driving past the unimposing shanty dreaming of the amazing grub that waited within those tattered walls. I promised myself that one day I would climb the creaky steps out front and walk through the front door into a magical world of spicy creole food. Unfortunately, The Shack relocated before I ever stepped foot in the original location, so my quest for the spicy sustenance I craved would have to be fulfilled at The Shack’s new location. I must admit, when I set out on my journey to The Shack last Thursday I worried that the change in venue might have taken away some of the magic.
You see, I have a theory that some of the best food comes from places that you wouldn't dare enter without having prior knowledge of the culinary treasures awaiting discovery within. My theory would be put to the test since The Shack moved from its original location to the building that was previously home to the swanky Auburn City Limits. I’m happy to say that The Shack's new location exudes a quaint ambiance deserving of its namesake. The “new building” possesses a worn exterior that reminds you of grandma's house and "down home" cooking.
Ready to put The Shack’s motto of "The Small Place with Big Taste" to the test, I stepped through the unremarkable side entrance to begin my culinary adventure. Once you cross the threshold, you can’t help but be taken aback by how spacious the restaurant is inside. Sure, the dining area is small, part of The Shack’s “down home” charm, but the tables are spaced such that you wouldn't feel crowded if the dining area was full. I went mid afternoon, so I ended up being the only patron in The Shack. Obviously, this made it difficult to get an accurate assessment of how fast the service is (I received my food rather quickly). One thing I can definitely say is the cashier/waitress was very attentive and friendly. She was very knowledgeable about the menu and helped me decide what my first dish from The Shack would be. In the end I settled on the crawfish etouffee.
While waiting on my food I enjoyed taking in the atmosphere. Put simply, the place is really clean. Of course, this takes away some of the fun of dining in a real shack, but what The Shack lacks in untidyness it makes up with character. Throughout the dining area guests can see walls adorned with artifacts that pay homage to The Shack's Creole/Cajun influences. The atmosphere is made even more festive as diners are serenaded by the sounds of the bayou playing softly over in-house speakers.
When my meal arrived I was immediately impressed with the portion size. The meal consisted of crawfish etouffee served over a bed of rice with a side of French bread. I’ll go ahead and warn you, the food is spicy. I like spicy food, but if you don’t care for it, you may want to avoid the crawfish etouffee. My first few bites told me all I needed to know, the food is good and more than delivers on the promise of big taste. I finished my entire plate and felt satisfied (not hungry or too full). My only real complaint about my experience would be that the meal was a bit on the expensive side. With a tip, I spent around $15 for lunch (I drank sweet tea and water).
Overall I would recommend that anyone in Auburn looking for a nice creole meal stop by The Shack. The price might be a bit steep for some, but you are treated to a dining experience in Auburn, AL that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the area. The atmosphere is laid-back and you definitely feel welcome the moment you step through the doors and are greeted by the friendly staff. The food I ate reminded me of a home cooked meal, as it should. The Shack’s food is cooked to order and served in a style favoring substance over style, just like mom and grandma like it. A few football seasons back ESPN’s Todd Blackledge featured The Creole and Seafood Shack on his “Taste of the Town” segment. It’s nice to know that years later, it’s still one of the more unique places to eat in Auburn, AL.
Visit The Shack on the web at www.da-creoshack.com. There you can view a menu as well as find directions to The Shack.