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Poker-Playing Brothers Hope to Cash in With New Westlee Eatery

by ARLnow.com | March 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm | 7,153 views | 47 Comments

After the federal government shut down the country’s top three poker websites last April, professional online poker players Hac and Di Dang thought it might be best to try their luck at another venture.

The pair decided to go all-in with their brother Au (and three other partners) and launch a Cajun crawfish restaurant in Westlee called “Chasin’ Tails: Cajun Seafood and Bar.”

Located at 2200 N. Westmoreland Street, in the former Bear Rock Cafe space, Chasin’ Tails aims to be the go-to local hangout for seafood and sports fans. The restaurant opened to the general public for the first time this afternoon.

The restaurant serves fresh, Bayou-style seafood by the bucket, and encourages guests to eat with their hands, with the motto “no forks, no rules.” There’s even a trough at the back of the main dining area to give patrons a place to clean the seafood bits off their hands without having to go into a bathroom.

The simple one-page menu includes crawfish — the specialty — as well as shrimp, snow crab legs, king crab legs, blue crab, lobster, clams, mussels and raw oysters. Fried seafood, gumbo and jambalaya, and sides like Cajun fried, corn on the cob and Andouille sausage is also available.

Chasin’ Tails is an ambitious venture for the Dang brothers who, at ages 23 to 29, are first-time restaurateurs. The restaurant seats 150 in the main dining room along, with additional seating for 35 in a private dining room and — coming soon — 25 outdoor seats. The entire space is lined with flat-screen TVs tuned to sports channels, and there’s a full bar in the center of the restaurant. It’s particularly bold due to the location: Westlee is hardly the Clarendon-style commercial mecca where one might expect to see a restaurant the size of Chasin’ Tails.

The slightly off-the-beaten path location is part of the draw, says general manager Mike Jones. Formerly the general manager at Georgetown stalwarts The Guards and J. Paul’s, Jones says Chasin’ Tails is poised to capitalize on the lack of comparable dining options nearby. He also likes the fact that Westlee is positioned along Lee Highway, and between the East Falls Church Metro station and the main commercial drag of Falls Church — bringing in some additional foot traffic.

“We think that we’re in a very good position to reach out to a lot of people,” Jones said. “We’re excited about the clientelle we’re going to serve.”

Chasin’ Tails will be open from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday, 11:00 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. Happy hour will run from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. A grand opening party, with a New Orleans-style jazz band, is planned for between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 7.

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  • Grandstander

    If reality TV has taught me anything, it’s that people with no experience who open restaurants are doomed to fail.

  • Ballstonian

    And here I was just lamenting the lack of seafood places around here. Definitely have to give it a try.

    • FrenchyB

      Yep, I’ll have to check it out as well.

      • Arlingtonian

        Me too.

        • Novanglus

          I wish them well.

          If you’re looking for seafood and this doesn’t do it for you. Clare and Don’s Beach Shack is just a few blocks away (next to the State Theater).

          • SoMuchForSubtlety

            +10! I love Cajun and seafood!!

    • Frank

      yum

  • Joe

    This place will fail.

    • awh hells bells

      Go back to your Crabshack.

      • JBalls

        He probably has one normal arm and one giant commenting arm for trolling and impressing female trollcrabs.

        • WeiQiang

          +1

  • M

    It sounds good. And “Chasin’ Tails” is a great name for any bar or casual eatery.
    What’s up with the Dang brothers though- was their family name originally “Damn,” but they changed it so as not to offend people? ;-)

    • Dang

      Its a Vietnamese name.

      • E

        i think he was just making a bad joke. My 90 year old grandfather has better material than M

  • JimPB

    Not the only place in the nearby featuring Cajun crawfish. The Seaside Crab House in the Eden Center has a similar seafood menu. There is a big difference in the eating space. Chasing Tails has a spacious dining area within a building. Seaside Crab House’s main eating space is in an enclosed hut immediately outside the restaurant’s food preparation and serving area.

  • Rich

    Any idea where they are getting their crawfish from? If it isn’t from LA I will not be trying out.

    • Cant’ Have Too Many Donaldson’s Run Jokes

      Donaldson’s Run ???

    • Escadi

      I have a pretty close tie with one of the Dang bros and I’ve been told the food is fresh from LA. I cannot recall how often it’s flown to VA but it’s very frequent to maintain freshness.

      • nom de guerre

        Around these parts LA means Lower Arlington aka South Arlington. Maybe the food comes from Four Mile Run?

  • Set the controls

    It’s just me, but unless a restaurant is a sports bar I don’t like TV’s around every corner.

    • drax

      It’s not just you!

      They have friggin’ TVs at gas stations now, so you can watch TV while pumping gas. We are doomed.

      • awh hells bells

        Or, as in some men’s bathrooms, TV’s above the urinals or TV’s within the mirror above the faucets. I recall an image from one of Gary Larson’s Far Side books of a family sitting on a couch starring at a blank wall. The caption read, “Life before TV.”

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      I completely agree.

  • cyclist

    Right on the bike trail.

  • ArlForester

    It looks like they hired restaurant people to run it and they are the money guys. Some of you sound like you’re rooting for them to fail.

    • AllenB

      Sadly, some of them are.

    • cyclist

      Watch – as soon as they get their teeth in some minor thing they don’t like, they’ll hate the whole thing and start to attack like sharks. See Mad Rose Tavern for an example.

      • Four Times Says Failure

        Sorry, but Mad Rose does nothing more than drinks at happy hour. Four times there and horrible table service and adequate bar service. Understaffed all the time and staff have no idea what the food tastes like. Final time last weekend and had to ask for water, utensils, napkins, flag down waiter to refill empty glasses, and then wait 15 minutes for check. Failure! Having said that… I hope this new place does very well and takes over Mad Rose space.

  • E

    Haters gonna hate, we all know that. people are jealous when someone is out there taking a risk/chance while others complain about how crappy there office job/whatever job is. People act tough on the internet, that is how it is. Go Small Business and good luck guys!

  • Kyle

    Rooting for them to fail? On the first try ???

    Would you root for you own child to fail the first time he goes out to stake their own claim ? Would you root for a doctors first diagnosis to go wrong ? Ok yes yes I am being a little harsh but daaaammmmmnn Northern Virginia this is the one thing that I have found to be allllll to common with new restaurants around here someone always has to hope for failure like they are betting against the market and when and if they do close you can be the first one that says “I CALLED IT TOLD YOU SO…..”

    Give them a break its the first run of a new idea…. Hell this area wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for those outside the box thinkers…. This is a gigantic melting pot of cultures we are destin to get a mix of all sorts of cooking and they so happen to be one of the early ones to tackle cajun food in this area. Let them get some more time to knock the minor issues then you can judge….

    ps Gator bites are KILLER!!!!

  • Courthouse

    Maybe im not the target demographic for this restaurant (although im pretty much the target demo for most everything else in that neighborhood) but i just dont see myself frequenting a place called “chasin tails”.

    • Maria

      Perfectly logical. Don’t bother to try it first or anything because that would be ridiculous.

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        Maria – That made me laugh. Thanks!

      • drax

        Like I avoid McDonald’s because I’m not Scottish.

  • Just Me

    When did the government shutdown? I work for the government and I don’t recall a shutdown, threats yes but shutdown?

    • Dan

      During one of the Clinton Administrations….was the great showdown between Newt and Bill.
      Bill won.

    • drax

      Wow, Just Me, you literally only read the first six words of the article, huh?

  • LA Girl

    “After the federal government shut down the country’s top three poker WEBSITES”.

    We were told the crawfish comes in fresh daily from LA Bayou. I think they did a great job with them!

    Eden Center? My friend just got food poisoning a few nights ago at some restaurant there.

    I agree with Kyle and have many friends in the restaurant business……give them a chance! Opening any business is not easy, especially in this day and time and I doubt many businesses open without any issues.

    I’m a see the glass half full kind of girl……not half empty. Some of you need to read the book Be Nice! Or Else!

    • Arlingtonian

      Let’s hope they don’t clutter the sidewalk in front of their establishment with promotional signs. If you see any such signs, eat elsewhere,

  • Ballstonian

    Stopped by today. Got the crawfish as well as the catfish bites/fries (they were out of gator bites). Thought the crawfish and the fries were quite good. The catfish got a bit soggy toward the end; not sure if the fish wasnt patted dry or if i took too long to eat them.

  • MC 703

    Will there be happy hour oyster specials?

  • Ha

    Pok’er, I don’t even know her. ha.

  • EFCer

    BTW, they are opening a new shop gear towards triathlon across the street from Chasin Tails at the Crescent.. Think it’s called TRI350. just signed lease last week.

  • JB

    Almost anything would be better than that Bear Rock was.

    • Quoth the Raven

      +1. That place was an abomination.

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