By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

It's a taste of the bayou done his way. Copperas Cove's newest restaurant, CrawDaddy's Cajun Grill, just off Avenue D offers guests an array of seafood and Cajun food along with a few original recipes.

With his own interpretation of Cajun food, owner Chad Pritchard offers different types of shrimp and seafood, alligator, frog legs and other Cajun-inspired dishes.

"This is one man's interpretation," Pritchard said. "We didn't want bland food and we didn't want extremely spicy food."

When creating the menu, Pritchard said he looked for classics.

"Gumbo, etouffe, jambalaya - but I was able to work with Warren (Duncan), who I hired as a cook," he said.

"We (first) put together a menu that was real pretentious, and we threw that menu away and we put together a menu more realistic for people.

"It's what real people eat. We wanted something that would reflect the area."

In addition to the eatery's regular menu, a special board that hangs in the front of the restaurant offers another option for guests twice a day - one during lunch and one during dinner - and the gumbo of the day.

Pritchard said it gives him and his staff the opportunity to get creative.

Pritchard prides himself on the food made fresh daily. The restaurant closes for two hours every day during the week to allow the staff to catch up and prepare for the dinner crowd.

Since opening, Pritchard said he has not done any advertising except an announcement on the "Bill" Board and business has been "phenomenal." Pritchard said there was a day when the restaurant even ran out of food.

The location fell into Pritchard's lap in mid-November and quickly got off the ground, opening the first week in December with two weeks of preparation. The Avenue D location has been through different owners and styles of cuisine.

A Killeen native, Pritchard is no amateur to the restaurant business. Trained at Le Cordon Bleu program at the Texas Culinary Academy in Austin, Pritchard has had experience with Italian, French and pan-Asian cuisine, and decided on Cajun, Gulf Coast cuisine after mulling his options.

"I like seafood. I like the bold flavors and textures of Cajun food," he said.

Pritchard also owns Fat Daddy's Pizza on 2nd Street.

"We (first) decided we were going to open an Italian restaurant here because that's what I became known for in Killeen, and I thought it would be an easy mix to open an Italian restaurant with the pizzeria," Pritchard said. "But we decided that there were too many Italian restaurants in the area."

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