Hearne: Crawfish ‘Shortage’ – Real or Imagined – Grips Local Cajun Eatery Jazz

Don’t look now, but there’s an imaginary crawdaddy drought going down…

For three long weeks a crawfish shortage has gripped KC’s top cajun restaurant chain, Jazz a Louisiana Kitchen. That according to a server Monday at the eatery’s 39th and State Line location. Which, of course, flew in the face of the restaurant’s Mudbug Mondays special, "2 Pounds of Crawfish and 2 Pints Select Draft Beer" for $14.99.

There were none to be had my server said.

What? No crawdaddies at an eatery who’s very logo is – you guessed it – cartoon crawdaddies!

"I actually don’t know why we haven’t been able to get them," Jazz staffer Jane said in a followup call Tuesday. "I assume because they’re not in season or something. I’ll have to ask my manager, but he’s not here. We haven’t been able to get them for a while, but I have no idea why. Sorry."

Ditto for the Jazz location at the Legends in KCK.

"It’s our food distributor that’s been out," Jazz staffer Andy said. "It’ll probably be a little bit longer, probably a few more weeks."

While an extended crawfish shortage in Kansas City may seem unthinkable, take heart; Joe’s Crab Shack in Olathe says it’s experienced no such shortage. Come and get ’em.

"We have ’em," says Joe’s manager Ed Shaw. "We don’t have any problem getting them. I have not heard anything about a shortage, but sometimes a vendor will buy in bulk and they just can’t get them."

Upon further investigative reporting I learned local seafood wholesalers Seattle Fish and Fabulous Fish Co. also say they have crawfish in stock.

"I don’t think there’s necessarily a shortage," Seattle’s Zack Zachott said. "I’ve got some. It’s just a tricky business."

Not familiar with crayfish as a food group? Read on.

According to chacha.com, "Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related. They breathe through feather-like gills and they are mostly found in brooks and streams where there is fresh water running."

Get it? Little lobster thingies.

They’re raised and shipped year round by organizations like Kyle LeBlanc Crawfish Farms in Raceland, Louisiana.

"They can’t get ’em?" LeBlanc asked. "They can get ’em from me."

That’s cool, but is there some sort of seasonal shortage or something going down?

"No, not really," LeBlanc says. "I ship 10 months out of the year and I’ve got ’em right now."

As it happens, KC Confidential Web meister Lazarus Potter was hanging at Jazz Monday night also.

Was Laz bummed about the crawdaddy shortage?

"Nope, I hate to say it but I never order crawfish," he says. "And I especially would never order crawfish in Kansas City."

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17 Responses to Hearne: Crawfish ‘Shortage’ – Real or Imagined – Grips Local Cajun Eatery Jazz

  1. Super Dave says:

    Shame on Jazz a Louisiana Kitchen
    I love how these resturant owners think we as customers are stupid.

    In the age of seeking answers on the internet in 0.20 seconds or faster you can’t out and out lie to a customer and think you are not going to get caught doing so.

    More often than not it’s actions such as this claiming something as stupid as a shortage or what ever that start causing people to stop going to a place to eat, for entertainment or any style of purchasing goods.

  2. chuck says:

    I hear ya can still get crushedasians in Tiannemen Square.
    But they taste like chicken.

  3. chuck says:

    Hearne, was this you???
    Deputies: Man Opened Fire Because Business Was Out Of Crawfish

    June 2, 2011Investigators say the man that opened fire with an AK-47 along busy Highway 29 in Ensley Sunday evening did so because a seafood market had sold out of crawfish.

    Larry Wayne Kelly, 42, is being held on numerous felony weapons charges in the Escambia County Jail. His bond is set at $575,000.
    About 7 p.m., multiple 911 calls of a tan Ford Ranger driving erratically at a high rate of speed and shots fire in the area of the Ensley Walmart.

    Deputies were unable to immediately determine where the gunshots had originated.

    Escambia County Sheriff

  4. chuck says:

    I cannot quit laughing at the guy’s picture who
    couldn’t get his crawfish.



  5. tiad says:

    Now This Is The Jr. I Know….
    So, Jr., are those DRAUGHT crawdaddies as opposed to BOTTLED ones?

    This was a story – and a cover-up at the highest levels – that was dying to be unconvered.

  6. Cliffy says:

    “I actually don’t know why we haven’t been able to get them,” Jazz staffer Jane said in a followup call Tuesday. “I assume because they’re not in season or something. I’ll have to ask my manager, but he’s not here. We haven’t been able to get them for a while, but I have no idea why. Sorry.”

    What a quote. I can see why you used it, Hearne. Packed with vital information.

  7. Hearne Christopher says:


  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    Yep, three separate lame explanations from Jazz staffers confirming the shortage but offering no real reasons why everybody else has ’em except for the town’s top Cajun joint.

  9. balbonis moleskine says:

    I like how Bill Grigsby used to get drunk and say Jazz (Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzz) during their spots during Chiefs games.

  10. Larry Wayne Kelly says:

    I am comin up to Harrisonville tonight for a
    Toilet Seat Tossing Contest and I am stoppin at Jazz on the way.

    You BETTER have my fuckin crawfish!

  11. Hearne Christopher says:

    Uh, don’t hold your breath

  12. paulwilsonkc says:

    balbonis, I’d like to correct you
    I knew Bill from the time I was a little kid. I grew up next door to his brother in Carthage, MO, Zip Code EIEIO. Bill didnt “get drunk”. I’m not sure he was ever NOT drunk to be able to GET drunk.

    But there wasn’t a more kind guy ever who would do anything for you. As a little kid, I just knew hm from when he’d come to town. Being a sports agnositc, I didnt know much else about him till I was a late teen and then, of course, moved up here to go to college and really saw who he was in the media. My only exposure to KC media was listening to 710am after I’d gotten my WHB Top 10 music card from Williams Music.

    I’d see him all the time in the old VIP Tent at the Chiefs games. He’d always come over and tell me stories about when I was a little kid, friends with Mike, his nephew and coming to Carthage. I never knew why any one down there treated him like he was a big deal till much later. He was a study, to say the least. (doesnt take much to be a “big deal” in Carthage, I can tell you that)

  13. TIAD says:

    Jr., I heard a rumor….
    ….they are running low on tilapia at Red Lobster.

  14. Damian says:


    I am one of the owners of Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen and I would love to shed some light on this story. The reasons why we are, and have been Kansas City’s top Cajun restaurant since our arrival in the early 90’s, is because we take great pride in the unique food we serve. We also take pride in the fact that we have always been an affordable restaurant to dine in. Those two elements combined have made us who we are today, but it does take some work to accomplish that.

    Years ago, we found a great supplier of crawfish. Consistent size, great taste, good supply line, and at a cost that would be comparable with our menu and it’s pricing. This is the first time they have had an issue with their supply. So instead of being out, we sampled crawfish from a different supplier. What we received was a horrible product that we refused to serve. The crawfish were tiny, discolored, and the taste made them inedible. About a week and a half later, we received another sample from another supplier. Same issues. Our distributor continued to look and found a third. Guess what. Same issues. Finally, last week our main supplier was able to promise us their product, but instead of a 10/15 count, we would get a 16/20 count. Same good taste, but a size smaller and since we sell by the pound the customer would be getting more at the same price. Obviously this solution wasn’t available in the beginning or else it would have been our first option.

    Jazz goes through thousands of pounds of crawfish every week because we specialize in Cajun cooking. I’m sure Joe’s has it, along with most grocery stores you go to. That doesn’t mean it meets our standards. Now ask yourself this question: would you be happier if we had small, stinky crawfish available to sell you just so we could say we’re not out, or would you rather have a good product that won’t have you sending them back and asking for something else? Any respectable chef, or restaurateur would rather be temporarily out of a product than to serve something that is sub par. That is exactly what we are doing. We spent weeks finding a good replacement and we expect that product to arrive within the next week to two weeks. Every customer I have talked to has thanked me for not serving them, for lack of a better word, crap.

    I appreciate you covering this story and hope to see you in Jazz very soon.

    Damian Farris
    Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen

  15. Nick Zicarelli says:

    Well said Damian
    I am the supplier of Jazz’s crawfish and everything Damian said is true and accurate. We do live in an age, “super Dave” where you can find info on the Internet in 20 seconds. Why don’t you try googling “crawfish drought” and see what you come up with? I just did and found many facts related to this. And in accordance with what Damian said, we do have crawfish in stock. It is just not an acceptable product for the Jazz standards, so out of respect for you guys, the customers, they would rather be out temporarily than serve you crap. You should thank them for caring that much rather than Using the Internet to bash them. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  16. anonymous says:

    Finally, the great crawfish conspiracy has been blown wide open. At last the masses can now sleep peacefully knowing justice has been served. Odd how we get more information and an accurate answer about this situation from a restaurant owner and a restaurant supplier, rather than from someone whose “job” it is to provide such things. What more can we expect from a gossip columnist, I suppose. I, personally, have no concerns about this either way, I just happened to Google “how to waste 20 minutes of your life” and this came up. Next time, do a little research, or you could get together will all the other bored housewives that have too much time on their hands and maybe, collectively, you could come up with an actual story worth reading. In response to “Super Dave”. Yes, the restaurant owners are lying to you. It’s because they hate money and are hoarding all the supplies for their personal use rather than making a profit by selling them to consumers. Get off the internet, you’re ruining it for the rest of us.

  17. Matt Moriarity says:

    Somebody get Hearne a nametag…

    /keep up the great work Hearne. I can’t wait until you crack the next case.

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