Shrimp Boil restaurant aims for family-friendly atmosphere

ATASCADERO “We took a 360 degree change in one night,” said Rita Holladay, co-owner of Shrimp Boil in Atascadero. “We decided to try something different, something fresh.” 
The restaurant, which has been open only a few weeks now, is a partnership with Noel Lopez, a sushi chef, who owned Sakana Japanese, the restaurant before it. Holladay, of Atascadero and Lopez, of Paso Robles, planned on re-opening the place as a sushi restaurant, but after Lopez decided to experiment with some seafood boil sauces, they decided on Shrimp Boil: a family-friendly cajun fusion seafood restaurant that serves tacos, entree plates, fryer food, sides and personalized seafood buckets that guests can customize spice and flavor combinations. 
True, the sign says, “Shrimp Broil,” but it’s “Shrimp Boil,” and the owners said they haven’t had the time to change the printing error. Until then, “Shrimp Broil” is “Shrimp Boil.” 
“We tried not to raise the prices too much so families can come and enjoy a good meal,” Holladay said. These first weeks after opening, she has been gathering feedback from her customers to make sure they focus only the best dishes.  “We want to keep it a small menu,” she added. “We want to dial this and make it as good as we can.”
For now, the restaurant is starting off with the bare minimum as far as decor – paper napkins and a torn off roll of paper and crayons for the kids – a couple fishing nets on the wall and the original front seating area and a line of booths, but as they get going, Holladay said they plan to add some color to make things humorous and light. She said there will be “jokes” on the wall, games for the kids to play, artwork from local children and hopefully, she said, entertainment such as karaoke night and musical guests. 
Holladay and Lopez are both originally from Mexico. Holladay said when she was growing up, like Lopez, her family could only afford to eat out maybe once or twice per year. She said she and Lopez agree that their vision and concept for Shrimp Boil is to emphasize quality and freshness in every dish. They want everyone’s dinner experience to be special and memorable they both feel very strongly about providing friendly service. 
The menu opens with a choice of oysters, shrimp, shrimp & langostino, clams, mussels or a mixture of crab, langostino and shrimp, all ranging from $11 per pound to market value. The buckets of seafood are served in the guest’s choice of flavored sauces: lemon, garlic, butter, spicy mayo or the house sauce, with their preferred choice of spiciness, all served with corn, potatoes and linguica sausage.  From the fryer is softshell crab ($14.50), lobster, fish and chips ($8.99), fried or sauteed calamari ($9), fried oysters ($10.99), mango habanero hot wings ($8.99), fried shrimp basket $12.50 and chicken tenders ($5.94). 
Shrimp Boil offers three different tacos: Ahi Wonton ($10.99), Shrimp ($10) and Halibut ($10). Tacos are served two on a plate, with purple cabbage, and hot sauce. 
For the plates, the menu provides salmon ($14), beef teriyaki ($12) and a dish called Octopus and Clam Delight ($16). All are served with rice, vegetables and garlic bread. 
Shrimp Boil offers salads (including a vegan salad) as well as sides such as corn on the cob, fresh oysters and Cajun fries. Desserts are $5-6, and include deep fried banana, deep fried cheesecake, vanilla banana ice cream and creme brulee. 
Most of the seafood is sourced from the vendor from Pier 46 in Templeton, and the owners try to find the freshest ingredients as well as hormone-free meats, Holladay said. 
Shrimp Boil will be looking for one more chef to join the team. For now, Holladay, Lopez and two close friends are cooking, and Holladay and two of her teenage children, Daniella and Alex, have been helping with the front of the house duties. Holladay said she enjoys working working with her children and feels very blessed to have her friends on board as the restaurant progresses. Jeremy, age 10, may also make an appearance during dining hours. 
Hours may change as the new chef comes on, but for now, the hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays. 
Shrimp Boil is located on 7377 El Camino Real in Atascadero. Call (805) 461-2070 for more information. 
You may reach Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected] for questions and/or feedback. 

Photos by Beth Giuffre of the Atascadero News

Two young diners eat fish and chips and shrimp tacos at Shrimp Boil Restaurant.

Shrimp Boil Shrimp Tacos are $12 for two tacos, served with mango salsa, tomatoes, avocado and rice.


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