FLORENCE, S.C. – Nestled at the end of a row of businesses off Second Loop Road in Florence is the Blue Tides Crabspot, offering crab legs and a little something different: Jamaican ox tails and garlic neck bones.

Owner Chiquita Lewis said she got the idea for her restaurant from travels back and forth to Georgia.

“The first place I’d go was a ‘crabspot,’” she said.

She saw a need not being met in Florence, thought about it and prayed about it for approximately three years before the doors opened up for her in 2018.

She went looking for a location where a restaurant had already been established and discovered the building she now occupies.

“It is my first restaurant,” she said. “It is going good, but it has its challenges.”

Lewis depended on family and friends to help her in the beginning. She now has four employees.

“It is a big challenge, almost like being married to the business,” she said. “The first three months were a lot of trials and tribulations, but things are going smoothly now.”

The restaurant serves fried oysters, fish, shrimp, crab legs, lobster tails and Maryland crab cakes. The menu items are named for Lewis’ children and grandchildren.

The most popular menu item is the Mari box (crab legs, shrimp, beef sausage, corn, potatoes and eggs). It is named after her oldest granddaughter, Camari, 6.

The garlic neck bone is also very popular, Lewis added.

“Most everybody loves it,” she said.

The homemade red velvet cake is another crowd pleaser.

Lewis said before venturing into the restaurant business, she owned Emery’s bon bons. She made chocolate covered strawberries and caramel apples, a business she operated from her home.

Open Wednesday through Saturday, Lewis said the part-time hours work well for her.

She is a part-time hairstylist. She has two children at home and three adult children. She is from Florence but lived in Connecticut and Maryland before returning home. She is a 16-year March of Dimes walker and is glad to be contributing to her hometown.

She welcomes customers to experience her cuisine dining in or by takeout.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 3 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday. The location is 2421 Second Loop Road. For more information or to place orders, call 843-799-0326.

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