Mardi Gras: It's happening. And as we slowly emerge from what little winter this has been, we’ve already noticed an early onslaught of crawfish boil announcements. Can it possibly be true? Oh, but it is, and it’s a cause for crustacean celebration. Typically the hearty harvests come later in the spring when it’s easier to suck those juicy heads and twist the tails for that little morsel of meat to plop in your mouth. But thanks to a lot of rain and a warm winter, you can enjoy a good mature batch of mudbugs on our favorite religious holiday of debauchery, Fat Tuesday.
Here’s our guide to the Fat Tuesday parties serving the steamiest of steamy crawdads with some Dixieland jazz blowing in your ears.
1) Hook, Line, & Sinker (Plano): A bit up Preston Road, this location announced at the end of January they had some mudbugs ready to go. On Fat Tuesday they’ll be nice and spicy, with other festivities such as day-long drinks specials and a jazz band. Get your groove on and bring a King Cake to make it an even more gluttonous affair.
2) Dodie’s Reef (Greenville Avenue): According to them, this is Dallas’ No. 1 place for fun when it comes to Fat Tuesday. Live music will echo throughout the neighborhood and crawfish will be sold by the pound. Drink specials start at 11 a.m. You may want to take a half day — then a full day on Ash Wednesday for recovery.
3) The Free Man (Deep Ellum): This joint can party like NOLA without any reason at all, so imagine the swingin’ jazz and boomin’ brass bands they have booked for Mardi Gras. With live music all during the weekend, they top it off on Fat Tuesday with a musical march through Deep Ellum. And by the way, crawfish are boiling.
4) Shuck n’ Jive (Greenville Avenue and Richardson): They really wanna party like Bourbon Street here, and as the flier states, “Mardi Gras beads flying’,” so we’ll leave it up to you on how to attain them. With Hurricanes flowing, live music playing and mudbugs for $7.99/lb., you may want to put this hole-in-the-wall on your list.
5) Half Shells (Snider Plaza): It's not a Mardi Gras party without plenty of libations, and this Park City favorite will have specials on their traditional New Orleans Hurricanes, Tito's Front Porch Lemonades and gold margaritas. Live music kicks off at 6 p.m., with plenty of crawfish and other Louisiana fare on the menu.
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6) Nate’s Seafood (Addison): For 28 years, Nate’s has been throwing down for Fat Tuesday and has been known for some of the best crawfish in Dallas. It’ll be worth the drive (get you an Uber) and head to the little pink house off Belt Line and Midway roads for a day of beads, beer, bugs and bands. This party begins at 10:30 a.m.
7) Ragin' Crab Café (lower Greenville Avenue): The newest addition to the Greenville Avenue Cajun Association, they plan on doing it big for their first Fat Tuesday. With crawfish at $5.99/lb., they’ll also be offering shrimp and sausage for $15 and $6 Hurricanes. Beads will be handed out to everyone, regardless of whether you show skin.
8) Pier 247 (Bishop Arts): For $9.95/lb they'll hook you up with crawfish, potatoes, corn and andouille sausage. Wash this all down with their $5 Hurricanes while sitting outside on their cool patio. And don't forget about their $6/dozen oysters specials during happy hour as well. What a time to be alive.
Bonus: The Rustic (Uptown): If you still want to enjoy a boil and some live music but want a Texas feel, head over to the Rustic for a massive party. This includes the soul music of 2015 Austin City Limits Festival artist Tameca Jones and her band, who will be hitting the stage at 5 p.m.. Of course, one can't properly party without face painting and a photo bus.