Where: 29 Main St Suite 100, Dawsonville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
More info: (706) 344-3820
The Dawson County community has gained a new addition to its restaurant repertoire; Kajun Seafood, a family-run establishment offering a wide variety of seafood options and cajun food classics.
Kajun Seafood officially opened its doors on Dec. 19 and according to its owners, the restaurant is already reeling in customers with its bold flavors and unique menu.
Emmy Ho, who runs the restaurant with her father Mai Ho and her mother Kim Huynh, said that a family friend first introduced her family to the Kajun Seafood restaurant chain when they visited an Alpharetta location of the restaurant several years ago. According to Ho, she and her family were immediately interested in the franchise.
“A family friend showed us the Alpharetta location and we tasted the food and looked around,” Ho said. “When we first tried the food it was amazing; we loved it and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cook this food ourselves.”
Ho’s parents came to the United States from Vietnam in the 1990s and the family has lived in Gainesville ever since, but Huynh worked at a nail salon in Dawsonville and liked the area. According to Ho, her mother was tired of doing nails and wanted to branch out to something new. Now, the family officially owns and operates the fourth Kajun Seafood location in the state of Georgia.
Ho said the business is a true family affair, with herself, her parents, her sister, and other extended family members all working together to make it work.
“We strive for a family business, because the other location is family-owned,” Ho said. “We’re not related to them but we wanted ours to be family-owned too.”
Scotty Seay, a longtime friend of the family and loyal customer of the restaurant, used his 35 years of experience in the restaurant business to help the family get started. According to Seay, the way the family has handled the craziness of opening a new restaurant has been impressive to watch.
“They opened on a Saturday and it was crazy busy, and by Monday they just took off like a rocket ship so I’ve been impressed,” Seay said. “I’ve known the family for a long time and they’re very sweet, they love America, love free enterprise, love their customers and I hope it’s here for a long long long long time.”
Some of the restaurant’s most popular items are the fried shrimp, the fried catfish and the boiled seafood. According to Seay, he’s loved every dish he’s tried.
“I love the shrimp box that comes with peeled and deveined shrimp, corn, potatoes and broccoli,” Seay said, “and all the po-boy sandwiches are delicious and the beignets that they make for dessert are delicious too.”
The cajun cuisine is something that Seay says Dawsonville has needed.
“Dawsonville needed it; nothing against the pizza and the Mexican and the Hispanic foods we have here, but the city of Dawsonville has needed a little more variation,” Seay said. “When they came in I knew it was gonna explode if they could handle the volume and handle the onslaught of people coming in.”
Ho said that in the month the restaurant has been open, she and her family have been very thankful for all the support from the community.
"We were nervous at first but we were grateful for the community coming in, buying our food and supporting us,” Ho said. "It’s been better than we thought it would be.”
The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Ho.
“They’ve been saying it’s really good, delicious, and that they always try to spread the word to their friends and family,” Ho said.
20-year-old Ho is a student at Georgia College in Milledgeville and will be returning to classes soon. Even after her classes go back, she hopes to still be able to come back on weekends to help her family run the restaurant and to continue building relationships with their customers.
“We always see familiar faces every day and it’s always nice to see familiar faces,” Ho said. “Cause really those relationships are important.”