By Rick Clapp
If you are looking for an authentic Cajun cooking shack right out of the swamp, on this side of the Texas/Louisiana line, then venture no further than to Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack in Kemah. This laid back and fun eatery was the brain child of good friends and business partners, the dynamic night club maven Paul Latour and the always fun and high spirited Alan Franks.
The Swamp Shack celebrates its 4th anniversary this month, thanks to all of their loyal customers and employees. Owner Alan Franks always boasts about his employees and co-workers who have been with him for many years –Lori Holze, 1996; Jennifer Bowman,1997; Guillermo Aranda, 1999; Christina Jorgensen, 1998; and Bob Derring, 2005. Experience, quality food and good customer service is the key to any successful establishment.
“We are always training and striving for perfection,” Franks said.
Owner Alan Franks is single, an avid golfer, skier and loves to work out and travel. He began his career in 1992 at Cotton-Eyed Joe’s, Jason Brown’s Saloon, the Turtle Club and operated the famous Seabrook Beach Club. His sons Blake, 19, and Jacob, 15, are a big part of his life.
It is all about Cajun seafood at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack. Without a doubt they are known for the earliest arrival of crawfish in the market, as well as the last place to get them at the end of the season. Diners can enjoy spicy crawfish starting mid-November, all the way until the end of August.
Furthermore quality, not just quantity, of these delicious mud bugs comes first. There is “nothin’ betta” than a warm afternoon, about five pounds of seasoned bugs and your favorite ice-cold beverage. As the famous Cajun Chef Justin Wilson would say “I guarantee cher, it’s good!”
Another popular seafood delicacy are the five versions of smoked oysters on the half shell; parmesan, pontchartrain, mango/salsa, mexican and pico. For those who just like it raw, try a fresh dozen on the half shell. Served on a bed of ice with a spicy cocktail sauce, it will set you free. And don’t forget to try the award winning Gumbo.
The Shack is filled with delectable appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms, stuffed jalapenos and the delish Crabvocado. The vast menu is filled with Cajun seafood delights from fried or BBQ gator bites, shrimp and oysters diablo, red beans and rice, swamp chili, crab corn bisque, sliders, juicy burgers, crab pots, boudin, andouille sausage, fried seafood, Cajun stuffed steaks, pork chops, creole style etouffee, surf and turf and lobster on occasion.
Signature dishes and favorites include blackened chicken pontchartrain, blackened trout medallions wrapped with stuffing, topped with blackened shrimp and served with a pontchartrain sauce. C’est tres Bon!
Desserts galore! Try the mud pie, crown royal bread pudding, lily pad key lime pie and more, and the bar is fully loaded with well and top shelf liquor, good wines and ice cold beer.
The dynamic duo of Alan Franks and Paul Latour made their dream come true by successfully creating and operating a fun, quality family restaurant that both locals and tourists call home. The original Alan’s Crazy Swamp Shack is located near the Kemah Boardwalk and overlooks the picturesque, sailboat and yacht filled Kemah Marina. Live music plays every day and twice on the weekends.
Franks and Latour both thank the Kemah city officials, police, Mark Kane and Jim Whitecotton of Landry’s and the Kemah Boardwalk for keeping the area a safe, clean and well-run family destination.
Congratulations to these two wild and crazy “In-Spirit Cajuns” on their 4th year of operation and the opening of the new Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack located in Houston.
In summary; the prices are moderate, the restaurant is clean, staff is attentive and polite, the food is very good and served hot. Reservations are not needed. They offer both catering services and take out. For more information call 281-334-5000 or go to www.theswampshack.com.