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Harahan, La. — There is a funky little spot in Harahan that looks like a  beach hut, but used to be a bank and is actually a great bar and restaurant. The Shimmy Shack is a spot where you can grab a bite or a drink and enjoy the quirky decor inside or the beach bar on the outside. This spot is known for funny messages on their signs and real-deal Bloody Marys.

Owner Jimmy Collins tells us that the building used to be one of Tom Benson’s early banks. When Collins got the property, he didn’t change much. The drive through window is still visible behind the bar and the video poker room is located in the original vault. Collins created custom bar stools to pay homage to notable names here and in the sports world. He also made use old menus from some of NOLA’s more beloved restaurants. All this creates a fun and casual feel that most chain restaurants try to capture.

Collins was gracious enough to sit down and talk food and drink with us, and show off a Bloody Mary that readers rave about. Collins tells us that the Shimmy Shack’s Bloody Mary is a little of this, a little of that and a whole lot of attention to detail. The Shack’s Bloody Mary is a not too tangy concoction of booze, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and a veritable feast of garnishes that include celery, bacon, peppers, onions, a wasabi-cream cheese stuffed olive, a cocktail weenie that looks an awful lot like the guy on the Big Shot bottle and even a chocolate fortune cookie.

If you still have an appetite after drinking (and eating) that cocktail, you can turn your attention to the Shimmy Shack’s food menu. We tried two thing off the menu, Collins’ favorite appetizer and one of the Shack’s panini sandwiches. The appetizer is a substantial portion of fried oysters and melted brie served over Pita bread and spinach and then topped off with crumbled bacon and a vinaigrette dressing. The flavors of this app are outstanding. You get six fried oysters per order which really makes the dish great for sharing. I told Collins that he was a brilliant man for going with a nice even amount like six oysters. It makes sharing this plate effortless.

We also tried one of the Shimmy Shack’s panini sandwiches. They call them flat sandwiches. They offer up five varieties of these paninis including the Philly, the Southwest Chicken, the Cuban, the Veggie and the Reuben. We had the Philly. This sandwich is a really great variation of the classic Philly Cheesesteak. It is stuffed with Philly-style steak, peppers, onions and three cheeses. The Shimmy Shack uses mozzarella, pepper-jack and Provel to their Philly flat. All of those cheeses are great for melting. And lets be honest gooey, melty cheese is really what makes for a great panini. The Shimmy Shack also offers up other great apps, sandwiches and burgers. They do a special brunch menu and even offer up a handful of desserts. So, shimmy on down to the Shimmy Shack for fun, food and one monumental Bloody Mary.