Although I have visited Shreveport many times in the past 23 years, somehow I had never managed to go to Herby K’s. There were too many other restaurants like Smith’s Cross Lake Inn, Anthony’s Steak and Seafood, Oxford Street or Ernest Orleans that I was always going to. I had heard of a Shrimp-Buster and knew that Herby K’s specialized in them, but had never had one….somehow, I imagined it being just another name for a shrimp po-boy. Finally, this year, I managed to visit Herby K’s, and will say that it is a must-visit spot while in the Shreveport area.
Herby K’s is certainly not fine-dining. It is an old dive-bar in the decrepit West End neighborhood along Texas Avenue, and it is not even located on the main drag, but on a side street that was cut off by the construction of Interstate 20. In one form or another, Herby K’s has been around since 1936; a brief experiment with a second location downtown featuring live music did not last long, but the original location remains and is going strong. The inside is classic Americana diner, with old-fashioned bar stools and booths, and all kinds of neon signs and memorabilia on the walls.
So what’s a shrimp-buster? Basically just toasted, buttered bread with two or three gigantic flattened fried prawns, along with a special Shrimp Buster sauce that is relatively sweet and which has the color and flavor of barbecue sauce. It is in fact unique to Herby K’s, and is not at all like a shrimp po-boy. Herby K’s sells po-boys too, but it is the shrimp-buster that keeps people coming. They also have burgers, gumbo and a few other menu options; sandwiches come with fries, and the fries are delicious as well. And although we feared that the place would be quite crowded (parking was in fact quite difficult), we managed to get seated almost immediately.
If we had a complaint about Herby K’s, it was the prices. Two shrimp-busters with fries and sodas, with tax and tip came to $50. I understand that seafood is not cheap, and that Herby K’s has a certain reputation. It is not everyday that one can eat in a restaurant that has been open since 1936. Our food was quite good, and true, you can’t get a shrimp-buster anywhere else. And they do have hamburgers and po-boys which are somewhat cheaper. But at such prices, Herby K’s has to be a special occasion, not an all-the-time thing. All the same, when in Shreveport, it should at least be tried once. Rarely do you get the chance to eat history.
1833 Pierre Avenue
Shreveport, LA 71103