The Great Philadelphia Crawfish Shortage of 2011

If you’re looking to celebrate Mardi Gras (it’s today, in case you forgot) by heading out for crawfish and beer, you should probably know that some of the spots planning on selling mudbugs for the special occasion are S.O.L.

Chris’ Jazz Cafe – progenitors of the Crawfish Cheesesteak – ordered more than 300 pounds yesterday for a live shoot this morning on NBC 10, and it was a tense moment when they showed up at the FedEx facility on Grays Ferry to pick them up, since no crawfish would mean no TV coverage. (The farm in Louisiana doesn’t ship on Sundays and crawfish don’t stay alive for very long, hence the last minute rush.)

Well, they got their crawfish, and the TV shoot went fine. Problem is, they got way too many. Over lunch, as one table sucked the heads from a $10 bucket and another scarfed down crawfish cheesesteaks, FedEx called and informed the kitchen that they accidentally gave Chris’ not just their 300+ pounds of crawfish, but also nearly 200 pounds more that were supposed to be distributed to other restaurants via a local distributor, meaning Chris’ could very well have every last crawfish in Philadelphia.

“I told them they can come pick them up,” says chef Mark Deninno. “But they’re currently running around in my kitchen.”

If you want to help Chris’ work its way through some 500 pounds of live crawfish, today is the all day Mardi Gras party with $25 all-you-can-eats, $10 buckets, $3 Abita beers, $5 hurricanes and Sazeracs, $10 buckets of Coronitas, all the beads and king cake you can handle, and a 7 p.m. set by the Hoppin’ John Orchestra. We’ll see you there.