currently taking shape
in the old Winking Lizard space on Coventry Road.
According to general manager Tre Jones, the Boiler 65 is on track to open the first week of May.
The owners are Lawrence Harris and Srey Ny, a refugee of Cambodia who grew up in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. The pair visited numerous similarly styled eateries throughout the country in preparation for this project. Boiling Crab, the most popular of the bunch, is approaching 20 locations out west.
Sometimes referred to as Cajun-style seafood, boiling seafood, or even the less-than-tantalizing “seafood dump,” these fun spirited restaurants have been proliferating across the nation after originating down south and out west. All feature seafood – almost always shellfish – that is steamed and then tossed in a bag with spices and delivered to the table. Diners can “dump” the contents of the bag directly onto the wax paper-covered tables or pluck it straight from the bag. Staffers provide diners with plastic bibs and gloves in an attempt to keep things clean, but many people prefer to eat with their hands. Tables are outfitted with buckets for the discarded shells.
While similar to a Louisiana crab boil, these concepts differ with respect to seafood and spice. The seafood options extend well past the traditional crawfish found in Cajun Country, and the seasoning often swaps the Old Bay for spicy Asian-style spice mixtures.
The roomy 150-seat restaurant has been under construction for nearly a year and has been in the planning phase for even longer. It occupies a large portion of the St. Helena Romanian Byzantine Catholic Church building in the heart of Gordon Square.
“It’s been a long road,” Jones says. “When we started it was just a big open room. We had to build walls, build different levels with a ramp, make the furniture… It’s so fulfilling to see it all come together.”
Meals will be built around crawfish, whole crab, head-on shrimp and lobster, which is steamed and tossed with a choice of flavors and spice levels. Flavors range from Cajun to lemon pepper, and the spice levels from mild to incendiary. Bags usually also contain andouille sausage, corn and potatoes. Fried fish like shrimp, catfish and even lobster tail are on tap for those prefer it.
Boiler has a bar and large side patio.
Despite the fact that the restaurant will be specializing in seafood, Jones wants guests to know that this place will be anything but fancy.
“We’re trying to provide a very fun, comfortable environment that people will want to come back to,” he says. “You can come in and be comfortable and just enjoy a bag of seafood. We’re dying to meet everybody and have them try our food.”
The Boiler 65 will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, serving as late as 1 a.m. on weekends.
When Boiler 65 opens in Gordon Square in a couple of weeks, it will be the third such “seafood-in-a-bag” restaurant to enter the Cleveland market in two years. The first was Boiling Seafood (2201 Lee Rd., 216-459-7777, boilingseafoodcrawfishoh.com) in Cleveland Heights, which will soon be joined by Seafood Shake (1852 Coventry Rd.), a large eatery