Huynh’s father was introduced to crawfish when he worked selling crabs to bars and restaurants. Later, Huynh and his father opened a convenience store that had a deli offering crawfish. Huynh sold crawfish there throughout his middle and high school years.
Although he still owned sushi restaurants in Louisiana, Huynh moved to Austin in 2019.
“I had the opportunity to pay tribute to my dad but then also create something here for this unique community,” Huynh said. “This is a fairly new concept in general. ... This concept, Vietnamese-Cajun-type crawfish, is out of Houston.”
HappyRito Seafood, which is named after Huynh’s son, who is nicknamed Rito, has a variety of fried and boiled seafood offerings, including shrimp, blue crab, oysters, fish, gumbo and po’boys. The restaurant’s bread and butter dish is crawfish, Huynh said.
The season for live crawfish—a customer favorite—runs from February through July, Huynh said.
The restaurant’s sauces, batters and seasonings are primarily made in-house, and Huynh said he cares most about the consistency, quality and hospitality when serving his customers.
“Those are the three things we try to focus on because we have great food; the hard part is doing it consistently,” he said.
In the future, Huynh plans to expand the Vietnamese-Cajun concept to South Austin.
“Come try us out; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed,” Huynh said. “The food will speak for itself.”
Making the 'Happy Style' sauce
At HappyRito Seafood, the Happy Style crawfish boil, which costs $30, is considered the whole package, owner Ethan Huynh said. Here are the ingredients used to make the sauce:
- Authentic Cajun seasoning
- Fresh celery juice
- Fresh orange juice
- Minced garlic
- Oyster sauce
- Brown sugar
- Happy Style spice, a mixture of six seasonings
11066 Pecan Park Blvd., Ste. 540, Cedar Park
Hours: Mon. 4-9 p.m., Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.