If you own a restaurant and your motto is “Best Bugs in the Biz,” it’s a pretty sure bet that it’s all about the crawfish. The Crawdad Hole has been getting it right since 1995. That’s when owner Joe Schowah started selling crawfish in a single-room take-out place, but my, how things have changed. Over the years, rooms were added, seemingly willy-nilly, to accommodate the growing number of fans. There indeed is no architectural style—unless cool and funky is a style—but I think you are going to like this place. Today, Scott Wesson is co-owner with Joe, and things just keep getting better.
As the restaurant has grown, so has the collection of memorabilia that adorns the walls. Joe brought in an album cover he liked, and a customer added a baseball cap. Soon posters, photos, foosball helmets, and vinyl records crowded the wall space, and today there is hardly an inch of bare wall to be seen. It’s hard to imagine there is a place anywhere that rivals the Crawdad Hole for individuality.
No matter the décor, this place is mostly about crawfish, but there are a few other good things to eat (remembering that crawfish are seasonal). My friend Scott Leatherman and I sampled a little bit of everything and found nothing to complain about; in fact, every bite seemed better than the last. We snacked on spicy boiled peanuts and could have made a meal of them. The tamales, which we didn’t expect to find on the menu, were Delta good and with a drip or two of hot sauce were delicious. The turkey necks were also a delicious surprise, and of course, they were spicy. One last surprise was a pretty darn good cup of gumbo.
I got a quick look at the kitchen, and it was just about a funky as the rest of the place. Screened walls could not keep this place cool, with so many butane burners roaring at full force. There were potatoes boiling, corn simmering in another pot, and of course crawfish and shrimp cooking away. The air was sharp with spices, steamy, and a sensory delight.
The crawfish and shrimp were just-right spicy and cooked to perfection, and when combined with corn, potatoes, and sausage, I am not sure we could have asked for more. There were rolls of paper towels on every table, which were much needed, and hot sauce as well, all essential ingredients to this unique culinary adventure. Eating crawfish is a tactile experience, as well as a social event, so be prepared for a bit of a mess, but with good friends, and such good food, it hardly matters.
Few places get the crawfish experience as right as the Crawdad Hole. When you are up for a little spicy magic, check this place out.
1150 Lakeland Dr., Jackson
Open Wed-Fri 2 to 9 p.m., Sat 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sun 12 to 8 p.m.