September 15, 2020 by CC Staff

Houston Crawfish History – Where & How It All Began

Crawfish is a term that is often synonymous with New Orleans due to the insane seafood scene they have over there. There is no doubt that the Louisiana city has some of the best crawfish restaurants in America, but little do people know that Houston crawfish can pack a flavorful punch too!

Seafood is a fan favorite food item by many, and for those who didn’t know that fresh crawfish can be found in Texas, then this will be an excitement for you! The entire industry’s history can be dated back to the early 1960s, which will be discussed in this article:

A.J. Judice Jr., Crawfish Extraordinaire

Louisiana was a hotspot for crawfish for as long as the American people can remember. In the 1960s, a man known as the “Crazy Frenchman” introduced crawfish to Port Arthur. A.J. Judice Jr. knew how to advertise, and thanks to his amazing salesman personality, he was able to set up crawfish racing that caught traction in 1963.

This business promotion venture was successful, as the Texas state’s governor appointed him as the Texas Crawfish Racing Commissioner. Since then, the crawfish population just skyrocketed in Houston, giving people amazing seafood that wasn’t native just to Louisiana anymore!

1976 was a Special Date for Houston

Port Arthur’s crawfish frenzy eventually spilled over to Houston in 1976, which was when the little crawlers started to become insanely popular. Thanks to the oil boom in the United States, Louisiana workers made their way to the Bayou City, which brought with them the seafood passion.

In a short span of time, crawfish became the main course that everyone loved to dig into. Crawfish boils—a Louisiana specialty—became an integral part of Houston’s summer neighborhood events, and restaurants eventually caught up with the trend and started serving them!

The Texas barbecue culture mixed with amazing seafood was a match made in heaven. Strangely enough, it was only until recently that crawfish caught the attention it has now in Houston!

The Day the Crawfish Hype Blew out of Proportion

The flavor that is packed into the small shells of these crawfish is hard to say no to. With the Texas grilling culture and all the amazing cooks, Houston’s crawfish restaurants have just become uber-popular over the years. The early 1990s started to see the love for blue crabs fade due to rising prices—but what saved the seafood scene was the wonderful little crawfish! They were just the perfect replacement for a plate of crab and tasted just as good—if not even better!

Houston may never catch up to New Orleans in terms of crawfish production and restaurant popularity, but it is great to see the creature spreading to other states. Crawfish are the perfect snack to watch the Superbowl or the NBA playoffs with and make great finger food. Enjoy it with a nice, ice-cold beer with your family and friends and you have the perfect snack combo!


Houston residents no longer have to trek to Louisiana to get their fresh crawfish fix. Thanks to Mr. Judice Jr., the Texas crawfish industry is alive and well with plenty of restaurants to have a fix of boils in! If you’re looking for a crawfish restaurant in Houston, Crawfish Cafe is the perfect place for you!
Being voted the best crawfish restaurant in the Houston area, you won’t regret fulfilling your seafood fix with us. Visit our restaurant in Houston, Texas for the best crawfish you’ve ever had outside of New Orleans.

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