How a man’s love of crawfish & his wife’s love of Texas led to restaurant success in the Houston area

Renowned restaurant Crawfish Shack to do the boil at Crawfish Fest at Discovery Green on April 13

Crawfish Shack in Crosby is one of the busiest crawfish restaurants in Texas (KPRC/

Twenty years ago, Dan Meaux worried his little crawfish business was about to crack. Sales were slow. He wasn’t sure if his new restaurant would make it.

He had grown up on a Louisiana farm with crawfish ponds pretty much in his backyard. He went to school to study restaurant management. This seemingly was what he was meant to do... but it wasn’t working out.

That is, until he persisted. He moved his small to-go only restaurant in Crosby, Texas to another spot nearby and added some tables in the second year. By the third year, things began to take off.

Now, Meaux and his wife run one of the most successful crawfish restaurants in the country.


On a busy day, Crawfish Shack can go through 180 sacks of crawfish a day, more than anyone else in Texas -- boiling 6,000 pounds of the mudbugs for dine-in, to-go, and drive-thru customers. That doesn’t include their catering gigs or the bags of live crawfish they sell to businesses or residents looking to do their own boils.

“A lot of people drive a long distance to get our crawfish, because they also want our seasoning,” said Meaux. “There’s 100 ways to cook crawfish, but it’s only going to be as good as the flavor.”

Meaux told Chris Shepherd, host of KPRC 2′s show “Eat Like a Local with Chris Shepherd”, that he changed his seasoning recipe thirteen times and lowered the salt content three times before he got it just right.

“The salt to me takes away from all the flavor, because every time I lowered my salt content, the flavor just came out more and more so we sell a lot of seasoning here,” said Meaux.

“I’m going to get some before I leave. I mean, why would I not?” laughed Shepherd.

“The flavor’s just amazing. That’s, I think, the number one reason for the volume that we do here and the success over the twenty years that we’ve been in business,” added Meaux.

"Eat Like a Local" host Chris Shepherd chats with Crawfish Shack's Dan Meaux (KPRC/

Crawfish Shack first opened in 2004. From the beginning, it was a family affair. In fact, the reason they’re in Texas instead of Louisiana is because of Meaux’s wife.

Meaux was attending college in Lafayette, Louisiana when he got a job as a server in a Hilton hotel restaurant. That’s where he said he fell in love with the restaurant business, switched his major to restaurant management, and transferred to the University of Houston.

Once in the Lone Star State, he got his degree and met the woman he would marry.

Meaux told Shepherd, at the time, he still planned to move back to Lafayette to open a seafood restaurant. His wife Jennifer; however, said she was never leaving Texas.

“I said, if I’m going to stay here, I’m going to do crawfish,” said Meaux. “Crosby has been an amazing place to start our business.”

Meaux and his wife have given back to the community hosting events and by providing employment to young, hard working teenagers.

“The youth here are amazing, because 80% of our employees here are high school, or recently graduated high school,” said Meaux. “They work for their money, they pay for their truck note, their insurance, college... We have a lot of kids who go to Texas A&M and come here on the weekends to work.”

Traditionally, Crawfish Shack starts the season with drive-thru only because the volume of crawfish is not yet available. This year, with the crawfish supply limited, the opening of their dining room was delayed. As of mid-March, they were fully back in business.

On an average Saturday in crawfish season, Meaux said 2,000 customers can file through the dining room. Cars will start lining up at eight in the morning. Sometimes when they open in the afternoon, they’ll already have 50 to 60 cars in line.

Because of the demand, customers are encouraged to check Crawfish Shack’s social media and website for hours and availability before heading to Crosby.

“Nobody’s boiling the amount that we do... It’s taken 20 years to get to this point,” said Meaux.

He added that his family is all there with him, which he considers one of the biggest blessings of their business.

“My wife and I are partners in this. She works a ton. She does a lot of the behind the scenes. Our two daughters work here and manage here. Our son-in-law works here. Our father-in-law works here.”

All of the crawfish they serve comes from between Lake Charles and Crowley, Louisiana. Meaux said three of the people he gets crawfish from went to high school with him, so they take good care of him.

In Crosby, Meaux returns the favor and takes good care of his customers by taking extra precautions to only serve the best crawfish around. His team filters through the crawfish to make sure only quality ones go into the boil or bag. They use what Meaux described as a “big jacuzzi” for crawfish to aerate and clean them before they’re cooked.

For the boil, they season the water and then season the crawfish again after they come out of the pot. Giving them time to steam in a chest after they boil makes them extra juicy.

Crawfish Shack offers seven different spice levels in order to suit every taste.

Meaux said he eats crawfish every day during the season. Being able to serve the community something he loves is rewarding year after year.

“I love the beginning of the season. It’s a happy time. This is my happy place.”

🦞 Get your tickets to Crawfish Fest! Use promo code FRIEND for $10 off a crawfish plate with the purchase of your ticket! 🦞

About the Authors

Sports mom, amateur nature photographer, and regional Emmy award-winning television producer

Field producer by day. Cruise director by night to a busy, foodie, outdoorsy family, which includes two sports loving boys and one craft beer loving husband.

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