Houston restaurants like Josephine's in Midtown are managing a challenging start to crawfish season

Elyse Smith Image
Tuesday, February 27, 2024
How Houston restaurants are managing a challenging start to crawfish
Houston restaurants, like Josephine's in Midtown, are managing a challenging start to crawfish season as extreme heat has caused a shortage.

The Gulf Coast is currently facing a crawfish shortage after extreme heat and drought conditions impacted their habitats across Louisiana. A study from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center found that over 250,000 acres of crawfish habitat in the state were impacted last summer. The economic loss is estimated to be $139 million. That's why this crawfish boil season has been off to a slow and expensive start.

Lucas McKinney is the executive chef at Josephine's in Midtown. Opening last summer, this is their first crawfish season. It's an added challenge to an already difficult time for mudbugs.

McKinney says they started serving crawfish a month later than when they would have liked to.

"We didn't want to force it. We didn't want our guests to have bad experiences with it for our first rollout of what we do for crawfish," McKinney said.

As for price, he says they're double than last year, but McKinney is hopeful that prices will begin to go down into March, citing some of the conversations he has with Louisiana farmers.

"There's times where I'm standing in the kitchen, and I'm like, 'That's really an awesome sized crawfish for where we're at right now,'" McKinney said.

When thinking about future seasons and how the weather can impact these delicate creatures, extreme heat and drought conditions could continue to stress the crawfish community.

"I think that if we let some of the natural things take its course and not over-harvest too much this year - if we are protecting it for the next two to three years, I think that we'll be able to continue," McKinney said.


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