In today’s blog post, I want to share with you a Provo ‘MUST SEE’, the infamous (& somewhat famous) ‘Da Conch Shack & Rum Bar’ which is located on the leeward side of the island right on the beach! I think the name of the place says it all – it IS a shack that serves primarily conch (pronounced konk) & has a terrific, be it a small bar that is well-known for it’s rum punch. Rum punch, especially at ‘Da Conch Shack’, needs to be handled with care….. This powerful concoction is delicious, sweet & definitely carries a PUNCH. Plus our bartender is a fun instigator of trouble soon to come when he arrives with a big smile to offer you a second: ‘Another one to have some fun??’ Or in my case, since I won’t go near the dangers of rum….’Another wine to make you feel fine?’ You will not want to leave this place - the bartender poet, the delicious food, the smiling service & INCREDIBLE views make this place a must, each & every time we visit Provo.
I have put together a small photographic tour for you, so you can share in our day at ‘Da Conch Shack’ – take a look below & join us there virtually….
This boat, filled with empty (harvested) conch shells, is located in the dirt parking lot. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of conch that is served in this place, there are more shells on the beach…. More on that later….
Eric, the manager of ‘Da Conch Shack’ greeted us at the entrance – such a lovely surprise — it was so good to see him again!
The photo above is the view just as you walk in & to the right of the entrance – it’s the ‘premier’ dining area right near the bar. After all, if you are dining at a rum bar – you have to be near the bar where all the action is. You can see that it’s built right on the sand, ocean in the background.
A view from our luncheon table – this is the perfect place to kick back, forget your troubles & put your tootsies in the sand & sea. Oh yes – you can have a great meal here too!
Here’s the beach view from our table. You can see that most of the seating is here on the sand at picnic tables….This is a great place to bring your family – you can let your kids wear themselves out on the beach, while you have your lunch….It’s great fun to watch kids find conch shells on the beach & bring them back to their parents with pride, saying: ‘Look what I found!’ There are thousands of conch shells at the water’s edge, left there from the ‘cracking’ (harvesting) of the conch.
The image above is a photo of the new & fancy dining area at Da Conch Shack – it was being built last year at this time when we were visiting. It really saves patrons from waiting for tables!
Here is Chef Erika in the kitchen doorway – it’s a small place & she cooks a lot of great food out of that little kitchen! It just goes to show you that you don’t need a big, fancy kitchen to create good food — you just need heart & soul – and Erika has it!
There is a small ‘indoor’ dining area adjacent to the kitchen, where you can see the staff preparing set-ups for the next round of guests.
Is this not the cutest little building??!! These are the restrooms; gentlemen keep right, please; ladies to the left….
Now that you have had a tour of the property, let get down to lunch, starting with the menu.
Now let’s open it up & take a look…
Here is the Rum Punch portion of the menu…. A glass – $6, a pitcher $28, ‘Fuzzy, Happy Feeling – FREE!!! I had a really good giggle the first time I read that line!
Above is the beautiful-looking, delicious tasting & infamous Conch Shack Rum Punch, known to have made people believe that dancing on a table is an acceptable activity and that taking a swim off the beach (in your clothes) might be fun…. The stories abound in this place!
So what did we have for lunch? Well, conch of course! I adore conch, I have since I was a child. I take every opportunity to enjoy it while we are in the Caribbean. Da Conch Shack has the best conch salad on the island so that’s what we had. We ALWAYS visit Da Conch Shack when we come to Provo & it wouldn’t be the same with out conch salad.
I had mine with a little bit of minced habanero peppers on the side for just for a little kick. Habaneros are HOT, so I am definitely gingerly in the use of them in my salad.
So what is conch salad exactly? Well, it’s a ceviche dish made with conch. The conch is used raw & is ‘cooked’ in a marinade of island citrus, typically sour orange & lime, but everyone’s recipe varies just a little. Additional ingredients include onion, tomato, green pepper & cucumber, hot chile peppers, usually habanero, are added at the chef’s discretion. The reason that Da Conch Shack’s conch salad is SOOOO good is that is SOOOO fresh. Remember the photo of the beach — that conch comes right out of that water, gets cleaned on the beach & goes into that cute little kitchen that you saw.
Take a look at the video that I took of one of Da Conch Shack team showing me how to crack conch. Now, I must tell you that I have tried this myself, because of growing up in the islands & I have been ‘conching’ (diving for conch) more times than I can count….there is a definite technique to removing a conch from the shell & this is the ONLY method that has worked for me. Take it from one that tried many different ways as a kid…..
The first key in removing a conch is making a hole in the shell in just the right spot. This in itself takes some practice. The perfect spot is, I am told, at about the third spiral of the shell. I just know I am going to get comments from my Bahamian pals about this…. If you carefully watch this gentleman cracking this conch, that’s about where he is hammering. The next key issue is to NOT MISS the shell! You can see this guy has done this procedure about a million times, he probably started as a small child. He then puts a knife into the hole that he has made in the shell & cuts through the tendon that holds the animal in the shell & pulls the mollusk out of the shell by it’s horn. From there, he will clean the conch & off to Chef Erika it goes…this one & hundreds more like it are served at this place! Pretty scary-looking to a non-islander, perhaps, but I can assure you that conch is delicious. It has a sweet and firm flesh that is used in everything from salad to stews in the Caribbean.
I will tell you in a later blog post all that I learned about conch at the local conch farm – interesting and amazing stuff is happening there.
Here is a close up of the pile of conch shells at the shoreline – there are thousands….
I found a really pretty conch shell on the beach…..
Da Conch Shack even has a small stand where you can buy a really beautiful, specially cleaned & polished shell. Tourists do love them! The Queen Conch, which is what is eaten here & what lives in this gorgeous shell is indigenous to the Caribbean so it’s a real Caribbean treat!
Back up to ‘Da Rum Bar’, I trot, to find my beloved having some fun with the guys at the bar……
The Rum Bar Team really have a good time in their work, as you can see. They genuinely have a blast doing what they do! It’s always such a pleasure being there, every time we visit, we have a blast! Everybody that works there is having a good time giving the patrons a GOOD TIME!
I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to ‘Da Conch Shack’….More news from the Turks & Caicos coming soon.