Dining in Organized Chaos


As we were headed back to San Antonio yesterday from Houston we stopped off in Katy, TX for a bite to eat. Our first instinct was to pop into something familiar. We passed a Chili’s, a Panera and even the typical road-trip stop, McDonald’s. It’s just easier to go with something you know. You’re already away from home, and you can at least find comfort in a familiar restaurant. But, I wasn’t really in the mood for “familiar” I wanted to try something local. Bless my husband’s heart because he’ll pretty much go wherever I want to go. Although when I told him to turn into the parking lot at “Captain Tom’s Seafood and Oyster Bar” he was getting a little nervous. You see, the restaurant was an old fishing boat. Our boys were ecstatic while my husband was trying to contain his anxiety. We found a spot to park and when we opened the doors to get out of the car we noticed the landscape was decorated with tons of clam shells. As we walked up to the restaurant my husband was starting to think I was a little crazy. The sign said “Seafood and Oyster Bar” and they weren’t joking, it looks just like a bar. You walk in and sit facing the oyster bartenders or you sit on the outside facing out and can look out the boats windows. Needless to say my husband again was giving me a look of “are you serious about this?”

The good news? This was definitely the place to be. It was packed and we were lucky to find 4 stools all together. There were no highchairs, and putting a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old on spinning bar stools, well that was going to make for a very interesting lunch. The seats we found were facing out. As we sat in the middle of the front of the boat my 6-year-old son was determined to make lunch an adventure (even more than it already was.) You see, we had to start playing like we were on a boat. He was the captain (of course) and I was the second in command. He sent me to find treasure, and when I came back with just a packet of crackers, well he almost made me walk the plank! As we were making the most of our lunch adventure, we managed to get a peek at the menu. Our options were somewhat limited: fried clams, fried shrimp, fried catfish or gumbo. As our water/”bartender” rushed over with his handy-dandy pen and post-it notepad, we placed our order. I decided to place the order as my husband was still giving me the, “Are you serious? Is there any chance we could just hit up McDonald’s” look. I told him to trust me, of course I was still trying to trust myself. As we were playing “pirates” (on a fishing boat) and waiting for our meal, I was taking a look around. Folks were ordering the gumbo left and right and in addition to that they were drinking these orange drinks. At first I thought it was orange Crush, but then quickly realized that folks were making their own drinks of hot sauce and Corona. This may seem normal for some of you, but I was definitely out of the loop on this one.

Through all of this organized chaos our food was out within 5 minutes of our post-it note order and it was amazing. The shrimp and catfish were fresh and the light batter was just enough for a nice little crunch but took nothing away from the taste of the great food. Once we cleaned our plates it was time to hit the road. We still had a few hours of driving to do. We made our way over to the cash register where they asked us what we ate in order to ring up our order. As I was waiting to pay I noticed the mounds of oyster shells piled up in the middle of the bar area. It hit me, the shells we saw outside on our way in that looked like decorations were in fact recycled oyster shells from inside the restaurant. We paid our bill and headed out to our car. I think we were all still trying to take in the lunch adventure that had just happened. It’s not every day that you eat in a boat, nor is it every day that organized chaos actually works. There was nothing orderly, organized or even practical about this restaurant, yet it worked and it most definitely draws a crowd. This was one restaurant for the books. I plan on going back the next time we pass through, but this time I’ll order the Gumbo and maybe get a little wild and have one of those crazy Corona/hot sauce beers.

When was the last time you experienced organized chaos?

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