Joe’s Crab Shack hires Pyles protégé as exec chef

HOUSTON Joe's Crab Shack, the 119-unit casual-dining seafood chain based here, has named Matthew Dunn, an understudy of famed chef Stephan Pyles, as its new executive chef and director of culinary. The announcement coincided with the chain’s introduction of a new menu and the airing of a plan to update every unit’s interior with a seaside look.

Dunn most recently worked with Pyles at Star Canyon and was executive chef at Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas.

Robin Ahearn, vice president of marketing and menu for Joe's Crab Shack, said, “Matthew brings a strong, diverse culinary experience and understands our focus on providing high-quality food in a casual, relaxed setting.”

Joe’s new menu that includes mussels in garlic sauce; a peppercorn burger topped with breaded shrimp and onion rings; a shrimp po’boy; shrimp and fish platters; and a Sea Turtle Sundae with chocolate cake, ice cream, caramel and candied walnuts.

To complement the new menu, the interior of Joe's Crab Shack locations will be updated with red and blue walls, fiberglass surfboards and polished concrete floors. Houston will be the first market to be given the facelift, officials indicated.

Joe’s Crab Shack Holdings Inc. bought the chain from Landry’s Restaurants Inc. in November 2006.