Cafe Society

The Crawling Crab -- sibling to the Yabby Hut -- opens on Federal Boulevard

Anh Nguyen may be the only person alive who was bitten by dead shark. And, no, this isn't a fish tale. Nguyen, who opened the Crawling Crab, a Cajun seafood joint, last week in a South Federal Boulevard small mall, was hanging the beast from the ceiling, when his wrist somehow collided with the dead shark's teeth -- real teeth -- and he sliced his wrist, producing a gash that required a dozen stitches.

Anyway, aside from a convincing scar, Nguyen is alive and well, and his new restaurant, a sibling to the Yabby Hut in Lakewood, which is owned by his brother-in-law, is already generating plenty of buzz for its fresh seafood seasoned with Cajun spices.

"We were completely packed on the day we opened, and we're seeing a lot of people coming back a second and third time," says Nguyen, adding that diners are stuffing their gills with seafood while having dinner -- and then ordering additional food to take home. "So far, things have been going really well, and I think we're in a great location with all of the traffic on Federal."

The board, an ocean of lobster, clams, crawfish, snow crab, king crab and blue crab, shrimp and oysters, all of which can be augmented with butter or Cajun seasonings, is a straightforward lineup of seaworthy nauticals that are flown in fresh on a daily basis. "Every single day, we send someone to the airport to pick up our lobsters, which are flown in from Maine, as well as the rest of our seafood," says Nguyen, pointing out, too, that his lobsters are more than a pound each and ring in at $13.99. "This is one of the best deals in town," he insists.


And the space, furbished with everything from a lighthouse to a replica of a ship bedecked with booths to wooden posts grafittied with autographs, one of which is scrawled by the bishop of Vietnam, who recently passed through Denver, is full of kitsch. Tables are topped with white plastic, the ideal surface to throw down crawfish; eleven flat-screen TVs, all of which are tuned to music videos, are hitched to the walls; and while there's no liquor, there's an ample beer selection.

At the moment, the joint is serving dinner, Monday through Friday, beginning at 3 p.m., and lunch and dinner on the weekends starting at noon, but weekday lunch may be on the horizon. "We're definitely thinking about opening for lunch during the week, but we want to get everything organized for dinner first, and then we'll see about lunch, and maybe even happy hour," says Nguyen.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson