Finding good food along highways I-75 or I-95 is worthy of writing about, and Tubb’s Shrimp & Fish Co., just a few miles off I-95 in Florence, South Carolina, is one of those places. We started our driving adventure last Wednesday, driving from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Trenton, Maine, and planned our first stop in Florence. I’d done some advance research, choosing a dog friendly hotel since the fur kids were along, and ran across some press for Tubb’s, boasting their fresh seafood, which always catches my attention. After a visit to a wooded dog park, and checking into the much more dog friendly than people friendly hotel, we headed to 15 2nd Loop Road in search of Tubb’s.
Tubb’s Shrimp & Fish Co. – Soulful – Southern – Seafood. The street appeal definitely doesn’t do the place justice, so without the advance research, we may not have selected the restaurant. It appears to be an old converted service station with adequate parking, and when we walked into the fairly sparse dining room, we were greeted with, “take a seat wherever you’d like”, a bit of a southern draw added. From here on out, the experience was much more than anticipated, and good in all ways.
We were presented with laminated menus, there were also specials on a chalk board, and an unexpected, diverse bottled beer selection. After working two hours early morning, followed by nine hours in the car with two dogs, we were both ready for a beer, or two.
Steamer buckets weren’t available that evening, so Jack and I both chose platters, where you get to select 1, 2, 3 or all from: shrimp, scallops, oysters, flounder and crab cakes (I believe chicken tenders are an option as well). Jack had slaw and waffle fries with his shrimp, scallops and crab cake. I chose grits and roasted root vegetables with my grilled shrimp, scallops and crab cake. The seafood was obviously fresh, and prepared to perfection; tender shrimp and scallops, and the crab cakes were mild but flavorful, and full of crab, not filler. I loved the natural stone ground yellow grits, and the roasted root vegetables were another unexpected treat. The waffle fries were freshly cut, and the slaw was that sought after marriage of sweet, tart and crunchy goodness that accompanies seafood so wonderfully.
The servers were young, and pleasant, and about half way through our meals, Kyle Hardee approached our table to check on us. Until then, Kyle was working the dining room, clearing tables, chatting with guests, and answering questions from servers. He owns Tubbs, along with partners Steve Toniolo and Travis Miller. Kyle is a good ole boy with a kind smile who genuinely wanted us to enjoy our experience. He shared that the three owners were once sales reps for Monster.com, who sold fresh seafood along the road in Florence on the weekends, seafood he drove to the coast to retrieve each week. They quickly recognized the demand for fresh seafood in Florence, which led to the birth of Tubb’s. Recently voted The Best of the Pee Dee, we learned that Pee Dee refers to the northeastern corner of South Carolina, an area of the lower watershed of the Pee Dee River, and is named after the Pee Dee Native American tribe. It’s Kyle’s goal, along with his partners, to become the catalyst for Florence’s rediscovery of local seafood and produce. “We want the Pee Dee to have access to not only the freshest fish, but also our knowledge and passion for that perfect specimen. We want our customers to trust and rely on our product and expertise. We pledge to keep sustainability of our coast at the forefront of our operation.”
Hats off to Kyle, his partners, and his staff! Our first culinary adventure of this trip was memorable. We’ll send our friends, and we will return.