Seafood haven Shell Shack is departing its original location in Uptown Dallas and migrating to a bigger space on Henderson Avenue. In its wake it will leave a poke place.
Shell Shack will re-open at 2326 N. Henderson Ave. — the space most recently occupied by Mellow Mushroom Pizza, and before that, Hacienda on Henderson, but which many still know as the former Cuquita's.
It's an enviable location in the thick of Henderson Avenue, even if Mellow Mushroom had some parking issues after the adjacent lot was turned into a paid lot only.
"We got lucky in that the landlord really wanted us," says Shell Shack CEO Dallas Hale. "We're excited about the space which not only has more room, but what an amazing patio."
Shell Shack opened in Uptown Dallas in 2013 with a menu of spicy boiled shellfish such as shrimp, crawfish, and crab — ahead of a wave of crab restaurants that have opened in recent years with names such as Raging Crab, Rocking Crab, Boiling Crab, and Crabby Crab. OK, there is no Crabby Crab.
Shell Shack now has four locations around DFW including Plano, Arlington, Mesquite, and coming-soon Denton.
Hale predicts a quick turnaround on the Henderson Avenue location, with a re-opening happening in the next month or two. The Uptown location will remain open right up until the last day before the move.
One of the reasons he's leaving Uptown involves his lease. "My landlord there would only give us a three-year lease and knowing we might have to shut down that location, we decided it was a good idea to move a couple miles away," he says.
But while Shell Shack is leaving Uptown Dallas, Hale is not. Cue: poke.
"We have a new poke concept we've been wanting to do, and I think it will fit perfectly in Uptown," he says. "It's called Poke Go Go, and we'll try it out in that space. If it does great, that's another concept we can be mass producing."
Many poke places have opened around Dallas, but Hale sees it as a trend that hasn't come close to poking, I mean peaking. "The only poke place that has more than one location is Below 40," he says "But we see the demand for poke at Sushi Marquee up in Frisco, which we also own. Everyone wants poke."
Meanwhile at Shell Shack, they've added new dishes to the menu including grilled shrimp, fried crawfish tails, and a dish that's become a fast best-seller: crab tater tots.
"It's just like it sounds, tater tots with crab, and we are only place that sells them exclusively in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston," he says. "Some people like them with tartar sauce, and some like them with ranch. I like them with ketchup."