It was 1968. The Democratic convention exploded into chaos, Mayor Daley drove the machine, and the Vietnam War raged. The White Album was released, Martin and Bobby were killed, and the youth generation trusted no one over thirty. It was, to say the least, a turbulent time in Chicago and the world. But on Chicago’s north side, a young man named Danny “The Turk” Denizman was working hard to realize his dream of owning his own restaurant. Danny was an engineer, but to make extra money, and to satisfy his restaurant itch, he worked nights at a joint called The Gaslight Club on State Street. He saved enough money and bought a building at 676 W. Diversey.
In 1968 Half Shell Oyster Bar was born. Danny, his daughters, Deborah and Candie, and son, Ali, worked side by side building a loyal and dedicated following of customers who loved not only the fresh seafood and shellfish, but also the fun and family environment the small, corner-street restaurant offered. It became what Danny always wanted: a family of owners, employees, and customers who loved to have fun, break bread, and make great memories.
Sadly, Danny and his two daughters have passed on to the greater ocean in the sky. Danny’s son has his own restaurant on Halsted. And as for Half Shell? Well, it’s still in the family. In 2019 Danny’s grandson, Anthony, became the owner and proudly carries on his grandfather’s dream and legacy making Half Shell the best, and now longest running, crabhouse in the history of Chicago!
So like it’s always been: Gentlemen, take off your hats, cash only, no reservations, and welcome to Half Shell! Let’s have some fun!