For 50 years, Shuckums has not only survived, but has thrived.
By Jan Waddy 747-5072 | @ PCNHJanWaddyjwaddy@pcnh.com
PANAMA CITY BEACH - For 50 years, Shuckums has not only survived, but has thrived. "We started with fresh shucked oysters from Apalachicola and still get them several days a week," said owner Mack Carter. "Last year, we topped 1 million individual oysters for shucking and selling - raw oysters and baked."
They also served that many the year before that. General Manager Ernie Carnall runs a daily oyster count on the computer at Shuckums, whose motto is "We Shuck'Um; You Suck'Um." The slogan is even printed with the oyster mascot, "Slick," on T-shirts that have been spotted as far away as Afghanistan and New York - even in Collin Raye's video for "That's My Story." Before the camel outside was bolted down, it became a traveling mascot lifted by sororities and fraternities. Slick even got his own beer, Slick's Red Pearl Ale.
"Oysters are still the No. 1 seller," Carter said. "With a name like Shuckums, it's got to be. They trust the name, oysters and seafood."
Shuckums Oyster Pub & Seafood Grill, 15614 Front Beach Road, officially turns 50 this month, spanning a long line of traditions, such as the Super Bowl - its 51st run is Feb. 5. Shuckums, whose 1Â½ acre parking lot is 4-feet deep with oyster shells, has seen U.S. presidents go from the 36th (Lyndon B. Johnson) to the 45th (Donald Trump).
"We were in the Vietnam War when Shuckums started in '67," said Carter, who would graduate six years later and go on to become Sgt. Carter, U.S. Marine Corps. Carter bought Shuckums for $16,500 in February 1982; he was 27 at the time. Even though it was "a real hole in the wall," he knew he had "a little gold mine."
Along with help from his former brother-in-law, he began remodeling the building while living out of a trailer at the beach.
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