It’s a small pretty place, in a strip mall on the left hand side as you’re going south. It’s easy to miss, the thin line of brown buildings (or building perhaps, as there is only one). Map it before you go, if you’ve never been. It’s also often crowded. The first time I came the crowd was so substantial I never tried getting in the door. This time I arrived a little early for lunch.
The staff were largely young men, well groomed, in black t-shirts with crawdads on ’em. There was an older lady whom the patrons called “Mom”. I can only guess she helps run herd on the crew here. The walls are covered in the kinds of ridiculous sayings intended to amuse, but mostly, this place comes off as clean and.. cute. Yes, I said it: cute. You could take a date or a wife here and not be embarrassed.
The staff here is also largely Vietnamese. The story has been told, I know, but in short, we have had a wave of Vietnamese immigrants that settled in places like southern Louisiana, Kemah Texas and Mobile Alabama who took up fishing. They learned the ways of their peers who were often Cajuns. So, these days, the best Cajun in Atlanta comes from the Vietnamese community. Makes sense, in a historically transformative way.
You get into a line and order. Staff ask you if it’s a “to go” order or eat in. You sit and wait for food to be delivered. It might take a while but the pot in which they serve steamed seafood could fit in almost any restaurant. Ironically for a shack, they pay a lot of attention to the way things look.
I liked what I ate. I’d have ordered food “to go” for my family, but I worried about the commute. This is the kind of eating that is best fresh and steaming. You don’t want to be caught an hour driving with a batch of boiled crawfish. But it is a nice restaurant, the crawfish have a dash of spice to them, and you can wear a T shirt and a “John Deere” hat here and not seem out of place.
Crawfish Shack Seafood
4337 Buford Highway
Atlanta, GA 30341