Fish Tales owners focus on serving seafood in small-town communities

Diana Harpring owns two Fish Tales locations with her husband, Scott. (Photos by Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Diana Harpring owns two Fish Tales locations with her husband, Scott. (Photos by Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Diana Harpring owns two Fish Tales locations with her husband, Scott. (Photos by Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Blackened shrimp ($14.50): Grilled shrimp are served with rice, a side salad, hushpuppies and captain sauce.
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Fried green tomatoes ($6.50): Slices of green tomatoes are battered in a flour and cornmeal mix and served with homemade ranch.
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Regular fish ($8.50) is a dish with five pieces of cornmeal-crusted catfish, served with fires and hushpuppies.
Fish Tales co-owners Diana and Scott Harpring specialize in serving fresh seafood dishes in small towns. The fast-casual atmosphere and Louisiana-inspired food are what set their restaurants apart, Diana said.

The Fish Tales concept emerged as a business venture between the Harprings and the Holmes family—who owns the Houston seafood trailer Bayou City Catfish, which opened in 1999. The families opened the first Fish Tales food trailer in 2009 before launching the first storefront in Cleveland in August 2010.

“We just wanted to grow the business, [and] we had visions of having more than one, so that was just a natural progression from the food truck to the restaurant,” Diana said.

Now, there are three operating restaurants, including one on Loop 494 in New Caney that opened in February 2014. A business partner of the Harprings will open a fourth location in Plum Grove in May, Scott said.

The New Caney restaurant serves a variety of fresh grilled and battered seafood dishes, including catfish, shrimp, oysters and crab. Until early July, the eatery also has a food truck on the property on Fridays and Saturdays that sells pounds of crawfish, potatoes, corn and sausage that is “politely spicy,” Scott said. “It will remind you of your days in New Orleans,” he said. “The guy who’s cooking them is from that area, so we definitely have a New Orleans flair to everything we do.”

Another thing that sets the business apart is the Harprings’ presence in the community. In the last 10 years, Scott estimates the restaurant has given back about $40,000 in the community through hosting fundraising campaigns to support local schools and causes.

Diana said being part of the community as well as getting to know her customers has been the most rewarding part of owning Fish Tales.

“[The community has] been good to us,” she said. “So we give back as much as we can.”

Fish Tales

20126 Loop 494, New Caney


Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
By Kelly Schafler

Editor, Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood

Kelly Schafler is the editor for the Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood edition of Community Impact Newspaper, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she became editor, she was the reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition for a year and a half.


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