By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 16, 2019 at 11:01 AM Photography: Lori Fredrich

Last fall, after Crawdaddy's closed on 94th and Greenfield, Chef Jonathan Klug – the original owner of Crawdaddy's – announced that he would be opening a new venue at 9638 W. National Ave. in the former home of Shakey’s Pizza.

And while delays set the venue back by about eight months, The Original Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse is officially open to the public after a brief soft opening late last week.

For the sake of clarity, the Original Crawdaddy's Roadhouse has no affiliation with Crawdaddy's on Greenfield, the nearly 1-year-old restaurant owned and operated by Troy Meyer (who purchased the property after the original Crawdaddy's closed in 2018).

The Original Crawdaddy's Roadhouse is a partnership between Klug (who operated the original Crawdaddy's for nearly 20 years) and building owner Ronald Mellantine, with the help of numerous original Crawdaddy’s staff members, Klug’s wife, Lety, and Mellantine's fiancée, Debra.

Walk inside the new venue and you’ll find nods to Crawdaddy’s New Orleans theme, including Mardi Gras and Louisiana-themed art, Abita beer signs and "The Funny Gator."

Seating for up to 140 guests is available at the venue’s large bar, along with high and low-top tables in a variety of ground level and raised dining areas.

Within the next couple of weeks, the Roadhouse will also feature a banquet hall which can be rented for business meetings and special events up to around 60 people.

Cajun & Creole favorites

Belly up to the bar and you’ll find a selection of wine, beer and a menu of classic and specialty cocktails (including hurricanes).

Meanwhile, Klug has introduced a menu featuring a broad range of scratch-made appetizers, salads, sandwiches and familiar Cajun and Creole entrees, steaks and seafood dishes.

Among them are appetizers like craw tails ($10), New Orleans style BBQ shrimp ($12), fried green tomatoes ($6) and stuffed bread filled with ground andouille sausage and white cheddar cheese ($9).

There's also "Gumbo Ya Ya ($5.50/$8.50) and numerous salads including crawfish Caesar ($12), duck breast or blackened salmon salads ($13) and voodoo chicken salad ($12). Salads are served with guests' choice of housemade dressings.

Sandwiches include N'awlins po’ boys (choice of fried shrimp, crawfish tails, catfish or oysters; $12) and numerous burgers including a house veggie burger ($11) and the signature Roadhouse burger featuring a half-pound char-grilled custom blended beef patty topped with double smoked bacon, cheddar, red chili onion strings and BBQ sauce ($11). Sandwiches come with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries, fried okra or Creole coleslaw.

Cajun style favorites include stuffed a Milwaukee favorite: stuffed eggplant, featuring a half eggplant breaded, fried and filled with gulf shrimp and crawfish. It’s finished with Cajun red gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and glazed carrots ($25).

There’s also Crawdaddy’s jambalaya ($22) and seafood etouffee featuring Gulf shrimp, diced fish, bay scallops and crawfish tails. Served with white rice and glazed carrots ($23).

Additional offerings include dishes like shrimp and grits, chicken fried steak (or chicken), blackened twin fillets, Creole rib-eye, blackened duck breast and seafood specialties including walleye pike almondine, macadamia crusted tuna and blackened salmon. All are priced ($18-28).

For dessert, you can expect sweet treats like Chef Klug’s classic creme brulee.

Weekend entertainment

Mellantine says the restaurant will also begin featuring live music on select Saturday evenings this summer, with additional entertainment expected to roll out beginning in the fall.

Customers can also expect a grand opening celebration sometime in September.

Opening hours for the Original Crawdaddy's Roadhouse are Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 3:30 to 10 p.m.

In the coming weeks, the hours will be expanded to include lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as Sunday hours from noon to 4 p.m. Watch the brand new Crawdaddy’s Roadhouse Facebook page for updates.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.