The Crabfather of Colington

Illustration by Natalie K. Nelson.

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The Crabfather of Colington

by Georgann Eubanks
Southern Cultures, Vol. 24, No. 1: Food IV, The Coast

“For a long time, only coastal folk bothered to seize the moment of the crab’s transformation and make a sandwich of it.”

Murray Bridges, the proprietor of Endurance Seafood, was in his sock feet. He was sitting on a burgundy recliner in the den of his brick ranch house in Colington, North Carolina, near Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks. Bridges, now in his mid-eighties, specializes in soft-shell crabs, but he wasn’t working on the water that day. He was able to receive visitors on this mid-April afternoon in 2016 because a nor’easter was pummeling the pollen-laden pines and blooming dogwoods outside. The sun was bright and the sky was crystalline blue, but the temperature was in the low fifties. Roanoke Sound was roiling with white caps all the way back to Mann’s Harbor, on the mainland.