How Two Brooklyn Restaurateurs Are Clawing Their Way to Success

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Entertainment, Faith, Media, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Almost six years ago Fifi Bell-Clanton and Gwen Woods left their jobs and took a huge leap of faith.

“We quit our jobs and six months later we opened the Crabby Shack,” said Woods.

They didn’t have a background in the restaurant business but they did everything possible to claw their way to success.

“After everyone left we were mopping the floor, scrubbing the dishes, doing the toilets, and we were whipped, it was exhausting, exhausting,” Woods continued.

It was a big risk, about 60% of all restaurants fail in the first year but Bell-Clanton and Woods persevered.

“You can’t give up there’s going to be time when you want to throw in the towel but you just can’t,” said Bell-Clanton.

Business is booming, with customers traveling from all over ready to put on their plastic gloves and dig into the delicious crab recipes.

“It’s black history month. I’m always supporting black businesses and I had the weekend off so I figured let’s shoot out to Brooklyn – come out to the Crabby Shack,” said customer Malika Nzinga from Harlem.

The Crabby Shack was part of New York’s Black Restaurant Week, held during Black History Month.

“We are in Crown Heights, a gentrifying neighborhood, a lot of the traditionally Panamanian restaurants that are here and the black own restaurants are gone. We wanted to make a statement saying you know we are here,” said Woods.