From food truck to storefront: Crab Cab debuts at Krispy Korner
A woman-owned food truck business that has specialized in high quality, fresh seafood fare for nearly 10 years held its soft opening Oct. 17 at the Krispy Korner shopping center in Penn Daw.
Ghazal Amir, an Afghanistan native who resides in the City of Alexandria, has wanted to be a restaurateur since the age of 12. In 2013, the single mother of three launched her “Crab Cab” mobile restaurant with two food trucks and began selling crab cakes, salmon, shrimp and other specialty items in Washington, D.C., at festivals and — more locally — at The Beacon of Groveton and other residential areas.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Crab Cab’s business suffered as many government employees started working from home. But with the recent resurgence of restaurants, Amir saw an opportunity and began looking for a space. At Krispy Korner, half of the former 3,000-square-foot Clean Smart dry cleaners had been leased by Kung Fu Tea, a beverage shop that has yet to open, and the other half of the space — on the side facing Krispy Kreme — remained vacant. The shopping center’s owner, JCR Companies, gave Amir “an opportunity” early this summer, she said, and despite having no funding, she set out to make the restaurant a reality, selling one of her food trucks to help finance the project.
Stepping inside the newly opened Crab Cab Bar + Kitchen, one can’t help but be impressed at the industrial design and modern vibe of the restaurant, which seats about 30 customers. The menu has been expanded to include a variety of chef’s specials, sandwiches, salads, tacos and quesadillas, ranging from $12 to $43 in price, as well as seafood extras, sides, drinks and dessert. A cocktail menu is available at the bar.
Becoming a neighborhood hangout — including for future residents of the nearly completed Belhaven apartments across Richmond Highway — is an aspiration for Amir. “I want to be the neighborhood Cheers,” she said.
Residents of the Richmond Highway community and beyond will have the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the corridor’s newest restaurant at an Oct. 29 grand opening ceremony for which Amir is hiring a DJ. She also is hiring cooks and bartenders; those who are interested can send their resumes to email@example.com.
Crab Cab Bar + Kitchen is located at 6328-A Richmond Highway. The restaurant is open Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight.