In the early 1990’s I was in the 5thgrade and walked home from school. Every Friday, Mrs. Mary Allen fried fish, chicken, shrimp and curly fries for her church’s dinner sale. Because I was a nerdy and devout Christian kid (it worked on me), the seniors in my neighborhood loved me.
I helped them clean out their driveways, mow the grass, and even wash cars. My generosity earned me amazing benefits that has me reminiscing about the good old days while also feeling a bit sad because I want our kids and Black communities to experience this level of civic engagement and familiarity. Hopefully, as we’ll see a resurgence of these beautiful exchanges as we remember who we are.
One of my childhood treats included getting an entire free tri-fecta of chicken, fish, and shrimp every Friday. Mrs. Allen was of the Gullah Geechee culture, so she created her own batter and seasoned the chicken with a poultry blend that has my mouth watering, homesick for its unforgettable flavor. In addition to her homemade seasoning and flour blend, Mrs. Allen sometimes drove three or four times a week to catch fish and go to the beach pier to purchase fresh caught shrimp from Cuban fisherman.
I’m writing from firsthand experience because some of the neighborhood youngins and I used to accompany her in the summer months. We even got to work with Mrs. Allen for some of her big weekend fish fries!
On a recent Black foodie trip to Savannah, GA, the spirit of Mrs. Allen was reborn at Shabazz Seafood Restaurant located at 502 W Victory Dr, Savannah, GA 31405. Like Mrs. Allen’s, the cuisine at Shabazz is fresh, hot, and delicious.
Owner and community man, Mr. Yusuf Shabazz was courteous and generous to his customers and even made time to come over and share the restaurant’s thirty-one (31) year old history with us. While we chatted, he served samples of their signature punch, which tasted like a Kool-Aid frozen cup and the throwback red carton jungle juice had a baby. Good God, just thinking about that ice-cold refreshing goodness while standing in the blazing Savannah midday sun, I am both thankful and thirsty.
The punch was a great entry point into the world of delicious, beautifully coated, fried shrimp and fish. I had the fish sandwich and fried shrimp, both of which were lightly battered in what seemed to be a mix of flour and cornmeal seasoned with their in-house seasoning blend. The batter took me down memory lane with its flavor and soft crunch revealing a tender and wonderfully flavored seafood. The light dusting of the batter also prevented a lot of unnecessary breading that often masks the flavor of the actual seafood. A lacy, crisp, brown crust embracing a unique seasoning blend provided for a true foodie experience, making our trip more than worth it.
For dessert, we had the privilege of slicing up the renowned Shabazz signature bean pie. This pie is pure heaven. The taste and consistency is like the well-dressed cousin of the sweet potato pie, who also happens to be a terrific dresser with one of the nation’s most notable Jordan shoe collections.
A no frills outside dining area along with quick service places Shabazz at the top of my list for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner while visiting Savannah. You can visit the website at www.shabazzseafood.com or call them at (912) 777-7589. You can read more on amazing eateries in your hometown and the nation by following us @thehungryblackman on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe below: