New Orleans-style restaurant Hank’s Crab Shack puts ‘a lot of love into the food,’ owner said

New Orleans-style restaurant Hank’s Crab Shack puts ‘a lot of love into the food,’ owner said

Hank’s Crab Shack gets and sells several hundred pounds of crawfish daily, especially during the peak of crawfish season. (Morgan Theophil/Community Impact Newspaper)

At Hank’s Crab Shack, it is not uncommon for natives of New Orleans to walk in skeptical and leave with their heads spinning and stomachs full, restaurant owner Akina Robinson said.

“They wonder if the food is going to be the real deal, and after they try it, they say, ‘I’ll be back; I’ll be back; I’ll be back,’” said Robinson, who has run the restaurant since it opened about two years ago.

Hank’s Crab Shack, which prides itself on serving authentic Cajun cuisine, is one of multiple family-owned Hank’s restaurants in the Houston area, which were first opened by Scott Vu about 15 years ago, Robinson said.

Vu moved to Houston from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Robinson said. He had run several businesses in the past, she said, and always had a passion for food.

After the relocation, he found it was difficult to find authentic Cajun cuisine in the area and decided to open the first Hank’s in Bellaire.

Since then, the family has opened locations on Hwy. 6, Westheimer Road and, most recently, North Fry Road in Katy.

“[Vu] found an opportunity to follow his dream, and here we are,” Robinson said.

Robinson, who is also from New Orleans originally, said she was grandfathered into Vu’s family. When Vu saw her passion for the business and desire to learn, she said, he took her under his wing.

“I sponged off of [Vu], and we really just grew together as a family,” Robinson said.

Robinson said she began working at Hank’s as a waitress before transitioning to bartending and working in management. She eventually ran the Hwy. 6 location for about a decade before taking on the Katy spot, she said.

Hank’s Crab Shack has endured throughout the pandemic thanks to its loyal customers, Robinson said. The menu is filled with Louisiana classics such as gumbo, fish etouffee, grilled oysters, shrimp jambalaya and, of course, crawfish, which Robinson called “the best in town.”

“We just put a lot of love into the food,” she said.

The restaurant gets and sells several hundred pounds worth of crawfish daily, Robinson said, especially during the peak of crawfish season.

Hank’s Crab Shack offers something for everyone, Robinson said. Popular nonseafood dishes include wings, pastas, and red beans and rice. The restaurant also sells cocktails and other alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

“We care about our guests and strive to make people happy,” Robinson said.

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