Restaurants

Coco Shrimp says ‘aloha’ to the Near Southside

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A taste of Hawaii’s North Shore on Oahu is coming to the South Main Street district, possibly by month’s end. Coco Shrimp, a food truck with a loyal following in far north Fort Worth, will open its first brick-and-mortar location at 318 Bryan Ave.

“If you don’t like shrimp, you’re not going to come,” says owner Jordan Barrus. “If you do, you’re going to love what have to offer.”

While attending Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Barrus fell in love with the laid-back lifestyle and Polynesian culture of the North Shore. So did Isaac Hadley, Barrus’ buddy, a fellow BYU student, and now brother-in-law. (Barrus married Hadley’s sister, Mary, who he also met while at BYU.) But it was Hadley who had the dream of moving back to Fort Worth — his hometown — to open a shrimp truck like the dozens found around the islands of Hawaii.

“I told him it was a horrible idea,” Barrus says. “You’re going to waste all of your money. You have a wife and kids.”

Barrus’ concerns didn’t stop Hadley from buying a vintage ambulance and rebuilding it into a mobile kitchen. He opened Coco Shrimp in 2016, eventually set up residence in the parking lot of Ace Hardware at 4440 Basswood Blvd., where the truck still sits today. Barrus had a corporate job in California when he started reading five-star reviews online of his brother-in-law’s fledgling business. He decided to quit his job and move his young family to Fort Worth later that year and partner with Hadley.

“We built a second food truck for events,” says Barrus. “Then we started thinking about this brick-and-mortar, which has taken a year and half longer than we ever thought it would.”

For shrimp lovers in Fort Worth, the restaurant will be worth the wait. The menu, like that of the food truck’s, will be short and to the point, Barrus says. Expect four types of shrimp: butter-garlic, spicy, lemon-herb and coconut. Each version comes on a bed of white rice and paired with a side salad drizzled with creamy ginger dressing. Barrus is hesitant to mention other items to be added to the lineup, but divulged a shrimp taco could be one of them.

Coco Shrimp’s new digs will be small, around 1,200 square feet including the kitchen, but will seat about 50 to 60 patrons inside and another 60 on the outdoor patio. Don’t expect alcohol offerings; Barrus says they’ll stick to a simple soda fountain.

“We figure there’s plenty of alcohol around us,” says Barrus, referring to the neighboring breweries and bars in the South Main Street area. Barrus says they considered other developments before landing in the hot district thanks to a real estate agent. A year and a half ago, the area looked quite different.

“Everybody kept promising, ‘This is all going to change,’ and ‘You’re not going to be able to recognize it,’” says Barrus. “It was scary. We got in at a good time. Rent was in our price range, and it has turned into this amazing area. We couldn’t be more excited to be in.”

318 Bryan Avenue, Fort Worth, cocoshrimp.com.

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