The Shack is back and serving crawfish five days a week

From back porch banter to seasonal seafood for the masses

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. This motto reigns true for Luke Sims and Craig Allen who turned a back porch idea into a seasonal business that reaches and services residents in Erath county. 

The Shack was founded by 14 year Stephenville resident, Luke Sims and his business partner, Craig Allen. The Shack is located at 309 W Washington St, Stephenville, TX. The Shack is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. What started out as back porch banter turned into a family-friendly crawfish restaurant that has brought together students and residents alike.

“I’m from Texas, born and raised. In the woods and on the lake is where I spend most of my days. I got in one little relationship and my girl got smart, she said ‘I’m moving to Stephenville, it’s where our life will start.’ We’ve lived here 14 years now. The Shack was a business we started in Jan of 2021. We have big plans for the upcoming crawfish season and hope that Tarleton and Stephenville are as excited as we are,” owner of The Shack,  Luke Sims said.

Aside from serving grade-A crawfish to the masses, The Shack has made a name for themselves throughout the community by attending events like the Taste of Stephenville and aiding in Hurricane Ida relief.

 On Aug. 26, 2021, Luke Sims and Craig Allen attended the Taste of Stephenville event at Tarleton State University. There, they networked their business by offering students witty banter, sizable portion samples and tons of merchandise including drink koozies and t-shirts. Sims and Allen have not only shown support for Stephenville residents but they have also offered hurricane relief to those affected by Hurricane Ida. The Shack has shown that they are more than just a crawfish joint. 

“The Shack was an idea that kind of came out of necessity. During the initial phases of COVID-19, we missed hanging out with our friends, so we’d have gatherings at the house. We were having some cold drinks on the back porch and a conversation came up about crawfish. It was mentioned that crawfish is something that the town didn’t have that everyone really liked. About 45 days after we joked about opening a crawfish place, The Shack was born. My business partner Craig Allen and I have put in a ton of work along with the help of our wives and crew last year. What we thought would be easy and fun turned out to be a ton of work. Success will never be achieved without work though, so we didn’t mind the work,” Sims stated.

Just like all small businesses, The Shack has faced a few challenges along the way. The changing economy, the global pandemic and staying up to date with what people find appetizing can pose as a struggle for many. 

“Craig and I both own additional businesses, but one of the toughest things so far is reading the economy. We really wanted to buy our own place and make it exactly like we want, but have decided to stay where we are for now and rent our facilities. Hopefully the economy will stabilize and have somewhat of a predictable future and we can make some different decisions,” Sims shared.

Although the changing economy has affected The Shack, COVID-19 did not. Sims and Allen, with the help of their spouses, were able to run a safe and successful business despite the pandemic. 

  “Fortunately, The Shack was opened on the backside of the initial COVID-19 close down. The mask mandates were already lifted so we didn’t have to deal with that mess. Moving forward, we see that outdoor dining is a really big thing nowadays. We have plenty of room to dine outside and are expanding our opportunities to be even more diverse at our place. We really don’t see “closing down” as an option in the future. Our motto is you have to fight to get what you want, so we are willing to fight to keep The Shack open no matter the circumstances,” Sims said.

The Shack will have a two-season year in 2021-2022. Their season will run from mid-January through June. The Shack officially reopened its doors on Sept. 8, 2021. Aside from serving crawfish and catfish, The Shack serves water, tea and soft drinks and they highly encourage guests to BYOB. 

“Our vision is to continue to grow and be a place where good people can come and chill. We never want you to be in a hurry and always want you to enjoy your time with us.  We are very fortunate to have met some great folks here in Stephenville and want to extend that opportunity to everyone else. Come eat, enjoy, and be entertained,” Sims stated. 

For information about The Shack and its future endeavors, follow their journey on Instagram @theshackstephenvilletx.