The Cajun Crawfish Hut serves up mudbugs - boiled, fried, po-boyed - as you might expect from the name of the Long Beach eatery. But the menu offers seafood, from alligator and shrimp to mandatory gumbo.|
Dona and Gus Harris moved from Chicago in 2002, bought the existing restaurant at 300 East Beach Blvd. and spiffed up the menu. They opened three years and one week before Katrina wiped away their hard work.
Good News One: In mid-January those addicted to Crawfish Hut fare can once again have it. The Harrises will open "in a little place" at 100 East Railroad St. Explained Gus Harris, "We were hoping to open Jan. 2 but finding the materials and the workers slowed it a little."
Good News Two: "We're going to be back on the beach, hopefully as early as this summer, though that might be stretching it," Harris said. "I already have the site plans drawn and submitted to the city for permits. When they start laying the water pipe on the beach road we'll start building the building."
Katrina claimed everything, including $4,000 worth of expansion designs still on paper and a new $5,000 air conditioning system. Flood insurance paid off the mortgage and to rebuild they've applied to the Small Business Administration for a loan.
"The locals want to see things where they were," Harris said. "I'm not going to sell to high-rise developers. We're going right back there and build what we had - a little bit bigger, a little bit stronger, a little bit better."
Although from Chicago, Gus Harris has visited here all his life because it's where his mother grew up. The third-generation Chicago restaurateur adapted easily to the local laid-back style: "Even though we'll be a little bit bigger, we'll still have the Coast atmosphere. We were so well-supported by the local people."
- KAT BERGERON