Arlington, VA

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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