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Soft Shell Crab Mania Strikes Charleston Once Again

Where to find softies in the Lowcountry

A soft shell crab.
Softies are now available in Charleston.
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

The weather is chilly in Charleston, but signs of spring are showing up at Lowcountry restaurants in the form of soft shell crabs. On Tuesday, March 14, everyone’s favorite seasonal crustaceans started appearing on restaurant menus. A quick glance at the evening’s offerings revealed the softies at the Grocery, FIG, and Park & Grove. Professional tip: when counting down the days to soft shell crab season, the Grocery or FIG are usually the ones to watch for the first supplies coming into Charleston.

This year, the Grocery offers a soft shell crab appetizer and its famous trio of “Old School, Old South, and Old World” (Old School is sauteed in lemon butter sauce, Old South is dusted in cornmeal and deep fried, and Old World is roasted in the wood-burning oven). FIG is going with a sauteed softie with warm tartar sauce, spring vegetables, and trout roe. And Park & Grove serves a soft shell BLT on milk bread for lunch.

Charleston residents and visitors go absolutely mad for softies each year, whether they be fried, pan-seared, or on a sandwich with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. As the short-season delicacy makes it to local restaurant menus, we’ll put together an extensive map, along with a description of the dish. If you see a softie, send a note to

Update: The 2023 soft shell map can be found here.