- Buford Highway
The Scoop: Fresh oysters, shrimp, and crawfish: ask any Louisiana native or fried seafood aficio...The Scoop: Fresh oysters, shrimp, and crawfish: ask any Louisiana native or fried seafood aficionado in Atlanta, and they'll likely tell you that these delicacies are mysteriously absent from our city's dining scene. Sure, there are restaurants that serve these things, but much like a Goldilocks finding her oatmeal, the experience has to be juuust right. The right amount of zing in your crawfish. The perfect texture of the remoulade on your po'boy. A certain kind of laid-back, casual atmosphere not a five-star restaurant, but perhaps a shack? With cold-cases stocked full of seafood and the spicy scent of crawfish a-boilin' in the back, Crawfish Shack on Buford Highway hits the spot, and it is, indeed, just right.
The owner, Hieu Pham, started out as an interior design student, but we're much happier that he's now designing the perfect crawfish boil blend for our bellies instead. An Atlantan by birth (a "Georgia peach," as he says), Pham grew up taking vacations to visit with friends and family in Louisiana and Houston, Texas. His love for the crawfish and oysters served up in shacks along the Gulf drove him to recreate the same experience for Atlantans. "The seafood's about as close as you can get to eating it right off the boat," he says. And boy, is it fresh. The Shack's crawfish, shrimp, and fish are all from the Gulf, and they all get gussied up with homemade touches like Hieu's house crawfish boil blend, with a handful of secret ingredients that give it a nice little kick. Or the homemade remoulade, which has enough creamy pizazz to spice up any po'boy. Or the fresh-pressed sugar cane juice, or the hot beignets made each morning... need we go on? The Crawfish Shack is even one of the few restaurants in town that uses freshly shucked oysters, instead of the packed variety, for their fried oyster dishes, hand-shucking 'em straight out of the cold case before giving them that crispy fried goodness. And with approximately 2,000 lbs. of crawfish-selling a week during peak season, you can be sure that those 'dads haven't been sitting in a freezer for months.
When the Shack first opened in 2008, it came dangerously close to shuttering, thanks to the inhospitable economy that had just hit Atlanta's restaurant scene. But miraculously, the restaurant was able to survive on word-of-mouth alonea testament to the signature blend of yum that Hieu and his family were serving up. Three years later, the walls of the Shack are lined with glowing accolades from food critics, and the dining area's been expanded with plenty of big, wooden bench-style tables (yet Hieu says they still get lines out the door sometimes). The Shack has a steady group of regulars, who are “like family,” and make a point to drop in two to four times a week. Yup, it's that delicious. So delicious, in fact, that over the years, the Shack has won a special jewel in its crown: Louisiana natives' approval. And now, ours too. This is our kind of love shack.
Boiled Crawfish: Market Price
Oysters on the Half-Shell: $12 per dozen
Fried Crawfish Po-Boy: $6-8.99
Shack-Tastic Platter for Two: $39.99
Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 – 8 p.m.