Joshua McCallie says there’s no better combination than bugs and beer when the temperature rises and the days get long. “They’re just friends of each other,” says Joshua, who owns Red Mountain Crawfish Co. alongside his wife, Jeri. “Salty and spicy with a cold, crisp beer — you just can’t beat it.”
Joshua isn’t the only one in Birmingham with a penchant for little red crustaceans that like to burrow beneath Louisiana swamps and muddy bayou bottoms. From winter to early July, Joshua and a handful of others throughout the state travel south to gather truckloads of crawfish, bringing them back to Birmingham so people can shuck and shell the Cajun delicacy.
“Mother Nature completely rules the roost of the crawfish,” Joshua says. “You’ll start seeing them on dinner tables in Louisiana around Thanksgiving. Come Christmas time, everyone has them.”
Then, sometime after December , the Cajuns start sharing their bounty with the rest of the region, Joshua says. Once that time comes, that’s when Red Mountain Crawfish loads up and parks their truck at Avondale Brewery so Birmingham can get its crawfish fix along with alligator, crab, shrimp and a side of potatoes. “The potatoes are our ‘lagniappe’,” Joshua explains, referring to the French word that means “something extra.”
While Joshua claims Avondale is the best place to chow down on crawfish (the secret’s in their spicy and sweet seasoning, he says), a number of other crawfish fanatics exist in Birmingham. Robert York, general manager at Cajun Steamer Bar & Grill in Hoover, is one of them.
“It all started with crawfish,” York says in reference to Jeff Thompson, who started Cajun Steamer about 14 years ago. Now with five locations on the map and two more set to open this year — one in downtown Birmingham and another in Tuscaloosa — Robert says Jeff must have been on to something special when he started selling crawfish on the side of the road, then decided to make a business out of it.
“This is family,” Robert says, while standing at the bar of the restaurant, which already had a steady stream of people shuffling in no more than 20 minutes after he opened the doors. As an ode to the crawfish, Cajun Steamer hosts a crawfish boil in the eatery’s parking lot every summer. “It’s a tradition that’s become quite a hit,” Robert says. “We expect to see a good crowd this year,” he adds.
Check out our list of places to get crawfish in Birmingham!
6 Fabulous Birmingham Spots to Get Your Crawfish Fix!
125 Inverness Plaza, Hoover, AL 35242 • (205) 408-0630
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Located off Highway 280 in the Inverness Plaza, Crazy Cajuns Boiling Pot serves up their crawfish in a variety of ways. With all made-from-scratch heirloom recipes, the restaurant offers some of the best crawfish fettucine, étouffée, jambalaya, Po’ boys and award-winning gumbo in Birmingham. Founded by Robert Regard — a bona fide Cajun from Baton Rouge — the restaurant opened its doors 15 years ago and has been serving up heaping piles of crawfish ever since.
2341 John Hawkins Pkwy., #119, Hoover, AL 35244 • (205) 982-7797
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It all started with a senior-level marketing class at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. When a few college kids came up with the concept of a seafood market and restaurant, and their professors said it actually might work, they dove headfirst into a thriving business venture. Now operating as just a restaurant, Jubilee Joe’s in Hoover serves some of the best seafood around — with, of course, copious amounts of crawfish, too.
And in true Cajun fashion, the restaurant likes to party. The 11th Annual Jubilee Joe’s Crawfish Boil is set for Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Oak Mountain Amphitheater. Tickets are on sale now.
3164 Heights Village, Cahaba Heights, AL 35243 • (205) 967-3437
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Owned and operated by third-generation family members, Sexton’s regularly imports thousands of pounds of crawfish from the Louisiana swamps. The original Sexton’s Seafood Market was founded by current owner Roger Schroeder’s father-in-law, Paul E. Sexton, in Destin, Florida, after he retired from the Air Force in the ’60s. And the family fishmongering business is still going strong today! In addition to fresh crawfish in season, expect a beautiful selection of fresh snapper, grouper, salmon, tuna, redfish, scallops, stone crab claws, crabmeat, oysters, shrimp, mussels and more on ice. If you’re looking for a place to find crawfish and other high-quality seafood in bulk, this is the spot.
521 Montgomery Hwy., Vestavia, AL 35216 • (205) 824-9799
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Owner Kent Scott grew up in the seafood industry, working for his father at the River Fish Market when he was 14. He then took over the business after his father’s retirement in 1993. The culinary grad left the seafood market, only to be lured back by his love for the business, becoming the owner of Snapper Grabbers (soon to be Snapper Grabbers Land & Sea), where he particularly loves to share seafood recipes with customers. If you’re looking for in-season crawfish — or any fresh seafood, including a highly praised take-home gumbo — head to this Birmingham gem!
201 41st St. S., Avondale, AL 35222 • (205) 490-3219
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
This food truck is parked at Avondale Brewery six days a week while crawfish stays in season. Don’t miss the mudbugs from owners Joshua and Jeri McCallie. And pair your savory and salty crustaceans with an ice-cold Avondale brew for the perfect culinary experience!
Patton Creek Shopping Center, 180 Main St., #200, Hoover, AL 35244 • (205) 985-7785
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This expanding venture located inside the Patton Creek Shopping Center not only serves up hot, freshly boiled crawfish, but an array of delectable Cajun delights, including po’ boys, alligator bites, étouffée, boudin, red beans with sausage and more!
From seafood markets to restaurants to food trucks, the Magic City has clearly got you covered when it comes to crawfish!