Photo: Pictured above, Attalla city officials, fire department, friends and C&J’s Crab Shack employees join Corey and Jazmine Winston at their ribbon cutting March 6.
By Katie Bohannon, Staff Writer
Downtown Gadsden’s C&J’s Crab Shack’s motto is “come in as a stranger and leave feeling like family.”
While C&J’s Crab Shack owners Corey and Jazmine Winston were once strangers to the restaurant business, the couple represented a family united to achieve success on March 6 when they opened their second location in Attalla.
The City of Attalla welcomed the Winstons to 125 Gilbert Ferry Road, hosting a ribbon cutting for C&J’s Crab Shack’s second location. Attalla Mayor Larry Means, Mayor Assistant Debbie Steele, city officials and the Attalla Fire Department attended the ribbon cutting to express their support and dedication to a strong, long-lasting business relationship.
“We’re so tickled to have you here,” Means told the Winstons. “I know you’ve been through a lot to get here and jumped through a lot of hoops to get here, but you’re part of Attalla now.”
C&J’s Crab Shack began in 2018 after Corey and Jazmine discovered that one of their favorite seafood restaurants closed. Following Jazmine’s suggestion that they make their own crab boil at home, the couple posted their meal on social media and received an overwhelmingly positive response—the post went viral. Family, friends and strangers alike suggested time and time again that Corey and Jazmine turn their recipes into a business, but with no prior restaurant experience, the couple was hesitant.
While Corey worked at Goodyear and Jazmine ran a clothing boutique, the pair united their talents and started small, selling delicious meals from a seafood truck. To their surprise and elation, the Winstons outgrew the seafood truck in three months. With the instantaneous prosperity of their truck, the Winstons moved to 514 Broad Street in downtown Gadsden, where they fed satisfied customers a plethora of seafood specialties, from gumbo to crawfish to shrimp and grits.
“[When we moved to the Broad Street location] I said, ‘This is too big! We’ll never fill it up,’” said Jazmine. “Now, [the Broad Street location] is too small and we don’t have enough room. Within a year, we opened up this one [in Attalla]. That’s the story.”
The Attalla location provides hungry guests with the same favorites as Broad Street, featuring reoccurring dishes like snow and Dungeness crab, lobster and family steam-pots with Cajun potatoes and corn. For those who might prefer to skip the seafood, the Winston’s Crab Shack offers a variety of alternate options like chicken alfredo, Philly cheesesteak and chicken fingers.
“[What I enjoy the most about our business] is our customers,” said Jazmine. “We have really, really great support for us from our customers.”
With so much success in such a short amount of time, the Attalla location marks only the beginning for the Winston’s business endeavors. Jazmine continues to operate her boutique, Jazz It Up (formerly known as Pretty Plus Clothing), in a shop next door to the downtown restaurant. The couple aspires to open a third C&J’s Crab Shack to pursue their dream of franchising the restaurant and recently purchased Brother’s Bar in Jacksonville, which they plan to open the first week in April. For the husband and wife who embarked on this year-long journey, Jazmine and Corey Winston prove that hard work and determination generate prosperity, togetherness calms the rough seas of life and two are truly better than one.
C&J’s Crab Shack in Attalla will serve guests Wednesday and Thursday from 4 – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. each week.