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Angry Crab, Once a Cajun-Asian Sensation, Will Close After Eight Years

The original in Rogers Park was a spicy shellfish pioneer

A wooden Angry Crab table.
The Angry Crab is closing on Lincoln Avenue.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

In 2015, passers-by would often see long lines forming on the sidewalk outside a quaint space along Lincoln Avenue near West Rogers Park, home of one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago.

The Angry Crab spawned dozens of imitators but was among the first to serve spicy seafood, a fusion of Cajun and pan-Asian flavors, all presented in a plastic bag that allowed the flavors to mingle. The experience was messy and unique, with heat mongers testing their tongues and trying various spice levels. Chicago diners couldn’t get enough of the sauces and garlic butter, regardless of the quality of shellfish.

But almost nine years later, and after a pandemic that saw a fluctuation in racist attacks again Asians, those lines have disappeared. David Nguyen is closing his restaurant on Monday, September 4. Nguyen tells Eater Chicago that it just wasn’t sustainable anymore. A second location in Wicker Park, which opened in 2016, will remain in operation.

“The past 8.5 years have been challenging — to say the least — and at the same time very rewarding,” a note left on the restaurant’s website reads. “We especially appreciate all the friendships and memories we have made that will last a lifetime.”

Chicago still has a few restaurants that offer bagged Cajun seafood boils with places like the Crab Pad in Logan Square, The Boil in Wicker Park, and Lowcountry in South Loop and Lakeview. But Angry Crab was the one that piqued Chicago’s interest. A mini-chain with a similar name, Angry Crab Shack never arrived in the suburbs. They’re not affiliated with the Chicago brand and have locations in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Nevada, and London.

Regardless, Chicagoans have until Labor Day to crack one last crab leg at the city’s original Angry Crab.

Angry Crab, 5665 N. Lincoln Avenue, closing Monday, September 4.

The Angry Crab

5665 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60659 (773) 784-6848 Visit Website