The Trawler Restaurant in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, first opened in 1967, one year after I was born and just four years before I moved to Charleston, as an oyster bar. As their business increased, rooms were added onto the original structure until the restaurant had an impressive 15 rooms. It was in the mid 1970's that I first remember my family and I dinning at this wonderful restaurant. So of course I was saddened when in 1989 a raging fire consumed the restaurant. However, soon a new structure was built and we once again treated to some of the best dining that Shem Creek had to offer.
Then, Hurricane Hugo paid us a visit and left a path of destruction across the lowcountry. The restaurant was once again destroyed and rebuilt! After years of serving great food at reasonable prices to families they became an upscale pricey restaurant catering to the fine dining crowd. After eating at the restaurant for many years I dined there only once after this change and $300 later (yes, there was four alcoholic drinks involved in that bill for two) I came away with a full belly but with a lot less money in my wallet. It was the same quality of food that I used to enjoy when we ate there when the prices were affordable for many families the atmosphere was just not as rustic.
The Trawler no longer exists, it went bankrupt about four years ago and the site narrowly escaped becoming a condotel but instead was reborn as an event venue, Tavern & Table. Like most, my fondest memories of the dining experience was eating the crackers and complimentary crab dip while we waited for the waitress to come to take our order. The Trawler will never be again but their famous crab dip lives on thanks in part to persistence of customers, who loved it as much as I did, asking for their recipe!
Below is their simple but delicious crab dip recipe so that you can indulge in some of Charleston's history that I was lucky enough to live.
1 Cup (8oz) Canned Lump Crab Meat
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1⁄2 Cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons French Dressing (orange one)
1 to 11⁄2 Teaspoon Horseradish (from dairy case)
Mix ingredients and chill until firm. Serve with Captain’s Wafers.