Two Spots You'd Never Think To Get Crack Conch and Fritters on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
Dee Dee's Conch and Barbecue Shack and Nemo's Fish & Chicken are both small establishments located off Atlantic Avenue, places we're betting most familiar with the area may have never noticed. And it's a shame, because both serve some pretty amazing food, minus the hefty price tag.
Nicole Danna Fried or "crack" conch from Dee Dee's in Delray Beach.
Although both Dee Dee's and Nemo's have been in Delray for close to five years -- Dee Dee's recently moved to a large red brick building on the south side of the street while Nemo's sits in a small space next door to a beauty supply shop just east of I-95 -- they aren't your typical Atlantic Avenue haunts. In fact, you'd pass right by them on your way downtown if you didn't know any better. Now, maybe you won't.
Why? Because both spots dish out a house specialty that's hard to find done well now matter how high the price tag: conch. Conch fritters, fried conch and conch salad, to be specific. And despite being close to one another, their recipes are not.
Dee Dee's is named for its Bahamian-born owner, Dee Dee Miller, who opened the conch and barbecue shack just over four years ago on a nearby side street off Atlantic Ave. behind fast food burger spot, Checkers. Coming from the corporate world, Dee Dee told Clean Plate Charlie she left her job to pursue a career doing something she loved: making her father's conch and mother's Southern barbecue. She started with nothing but a tent and folding table making $25 a day outside a Boynton Beach church. Soon, the demand grew, forcing her to move locations to a larger space in Delray Beach -- and eventually open a storefront in town.
Today, Dee Dee uses several varieties of conch to make different dishes, from the fritters and conch salad to her own fried "crack" conch recipe. Fresh-caught Bahamian conch is used to make the house specialty "conch lady" -- flat, doughy, pancake-like fritters that are a pleasant departure from the fried balls of flavorless dough you'll find at most establishments. Dee Dee's island relatives bring the conch frequently, which is torn from the shell hours before delivery and pounded to tenderness and mixed with her special batter, a family recipe that includes a number of spices and ingredients, and is sold at the restaurant separately for those who want to replicate Dee Dee's cooking at home using their own choice of meat.
A softer conch meat -- using a different species than the Bahamian variety -- is used to make the conch salad and crack conch, both served with Dee Dee's own house made dipping sauce and "yella," or seasoned, fries. The crack conch here is served in large strips fried with a crispy breading, light enough to allow the flavor of the conch meat to truly shine.