The area’s new seafood eatery prides itself on its secret sauce and casual, friendly atmosphere.
If you’re looking for some cajun cuisine, one new crawfish eatery in Dr. Phillips looks to reign supreme.
King Cajun Crawfish opened up its new location this month at 7637 Turkey Lake Road in Dr. Phillips — in the Bayhill Plaza just north of the intersection at Sand Lake Road.
The restaurant serves a wide variety of cajun comfort food from under the sea, including shrimp, crab, calamari and — of course — crawfish.
“We are unique because we take our time in doing each entrée — we’re not really just focused on one item on the menu,” owner Tuan Tran said. “We can comfortably say that all of the items on our menu are very, very good. The quality of our crawfish and the quality of our shrimp is top-notch. We use only the best of the best.”
But it’s not the fresh seafood that makes King Cajun Crawfish a cut above the rest, Tran said. It’s the Shabang sauce — a top-secret blend of spices that gives everything on the plate that special flavor, he said.
“Cajun recipes come in so many different ways,” he said. “We created our own mixture. Shabang is a mixing of a lot of ingredients together. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it is.”
Tran said he’s had his eye on Dr. Phillips, as it’s a perfect fit for the cajun concept.
“I’m very excited — we’ve been waiting to get into a Dr. Phillips location for a very long time,” Tran said. “We want to select the perfect location with plenty of parking. … We want to be in a good location and a safe environment for the customers.
“Dr. Phillips makes sense for a lot of reasons,” he said. “It makes sense for us in terms of getting brand-name recognition. This is the eating community of Orlando. Sand Lake Road is known as ‘millionaire restaurant row,’ so if you’re here and you’re serving the best cajun food, you can’t go wrong.”
King Cajun Crawfish first got its start back in 2010 when sisters Judy and Malinda Nguyen opened the original location on Mills Avenue. Tran was a loyal customer and decided it was time to invest in the product and help create more locations — the concept has been rapidly growing ever since.
“I ate there so many times — I loved the quality so much that I approached the founder and I said ‘Look, let’s just bring this out to the public and let more people enjoy the quality,’” Tran said. “That happened about four months ago, and within four months we opened three more stores.”
The restaurant today has locations in east Orlando, Cocoa Beach and now Dr. Phillips. Tran added that there are two more locations coming in the next six months at Daytona Beach and Lakeland — two areas that seem to be a perfect fit, as customers drove from both cities to enjoy the grand opening of the Dr. Phillips location on June 18, he said.
It’s exciting to see the concept catch on, Tran said, adding that part of what makes the restaurant special is its laid-back atmosphere.
“People come in here, and they’re just so happy,” Tran said. “They’re sitting here just eating comfortably. I really think dining has shifted — formal dining isn’t in anymore. … You want to take out your date and have fun. Get your hands dirty. You feel comfortable — you don’t want to go there, sit far away, eat a steak and not make any noise. … They can be themselves, get their hands dirty and lick their fingers.”