The Crazy Crab
A Crazy Bit of History:
In the late 1800s, 18-year-old Simpson Vanderhorst Toomer arrived on Hilton Head Island, on a schooner with huge majestic sails, to learn the oyster trade. Simpson found the island rich in natural resources and in 1902 started the S. V. Toomer Seafood Company on the exact spot The Crazy Crab Jarvis Creek now resides. In the 1900s an acre of land sold for a mere 50¢. He paid native Islander, Amelia White, $500 - extravagant for his time - for the deed to this acre because this is where the river came in close to the land at a very low sea level. The perfect site for a successful oyster steaming and shucking business.
Toomer had a large clientele and shipped oysters as far away as England. In the 1940s, the great hurricane blew down his wooden shucking structure. He rebuilt and continued to prosper.
The Toomer family welcomed 4 sons and 3 daughters who stayed in the seafood business, although most left the island. After Simpson’s death in 1958, his son, William Seamore Toomer, took over the family business and ran it for 17 years as his father had. In 1975 William demolished the shucking shed and built a restaurant, Boiler’s Seafood, and an oyster factory to provide seafood for the restaurant and profit from the surplus.
In 1984, after 10 years of operating Boiler’s, and 30 years of running his beloved family business, William leased the building and property to prominent island restaurateurs - the Reilleys and Kennewegs - who opened The Crazy Crab.
Fire destroyed the original Boiler’s/Crazy Crab building in 1998, but a new building, designed to take advantage of the amazing views, was built on the original land.
A second Crazy Crab opened in Harbour Town in 1986 in view of the lighthouse, marina and 18th green of Harbour Town Golf Links. Today, both locations are proud to continue the seafood business that Simpson Vanderhorst Toomer founded in 1902.