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Our Story

The story of SMASHIN CRAB winds its way from Tampa, FL, with a quick stop in Chicago, IL, through Phoenix, AZ, and with time, research and courage, took root in San Antonio, TX with the first restaurant opening in April 2017.

In the Summer of 2016, Mr. Pablo Felix (Co-Owner), who at that time was kept busy in Tampa Fl with an active career in the food service industry, decided to act upon his dream to one day own a full-service restaurant. After visiting a restaurant concept in Chicago, where the menu feature was a seafood boil, Mr. Felix’s passion was sparked and he sought to research the concept for himself as a prospective venture. Mr. Felix’s research lead him to contact a restaurant franchise group involved in a similar concept as the restaurant he previously visited in Chicago. 

Prior to speaking with the franchise group, Mr. Felix recognized the need for additional restaurant resources.  As a result, Mr. Felix contacted an active restaurateur Mr. Robert Blalock (Co-Owner) and inquired about his interest in pursuing a new restaurant venture. After receiving an interest affirmation from Mr. Blalock, Mr. Felix communicated and disclosed an active opportunity to meet with the leadership of a seafood boil restaurant franchise group in Phoenix, AZ, interested in selling franchises to quality candidates.  To make the most of the meeting, Mr. Blalock enlisted Mr. Paul Griffith (Co-Owner) a college friend, entrepreneur and career accountant/auditor to assist both Mr. Felix and Mr. Blalock with assessing the viability of the franchise, when meeting with the leadership of the seafood boil restaurant franchise group.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Griffith advised both Mr. Felix and Mr. Blalock that the franchise opportunity reviewed, not only appeared to represent a viable business venture relative to entering the full-service restaurant space with a seafood boil concept, but also appeared to be led in a manner that contained some noticeable but intangible cultural “magic”. Upon Mr. Blalock’s request of Mr. Griffith to participate as an investor in purchasing a franchise, Mr. Griffith declined. Not willing to pass up a promising opportunity, one week later, Mr. Blalock again asked Mr. Griffith to participate in purchasing a franchise.  After discussing the opportunity with his business partner Mr. Jamal Pratt (Co-Owner), Mr. Griffith agreed to participate in the restaurant venture under one condition.  A condition requiring the development of their own seafood boil restaurant concept from scratch. Mr. Blalock and Mr. Felix agreed with the condition.

Next, came the issue of how to finance the restaurant start-up.  In the spirit of diversifying the risk of starting a restaurant concept from the ground floor up, Mr. Blalock and Mr. Griffith decided to initiate a capital raise to fund the venture.  Together, they developed a list of trusted friends and family and contacted them with the idea of becoming an owner/investor in a seafood “Cajun” restaurant.  Everyone contacted, decided to participate in this restaurant venture (representing 5 entities).

Once the ownership group was identified, the organizational structure and bylaws were developed and approved and the group named Mr. Paul Griffith as CEO.  Additionally, the group voted to name the parent company Potbelly Stove LLC and submitted entries to vote on the trade name of the restaurant.  Of the entries submitted, the group voted for the trade name SMASHIN CRAB which was submitted for vote by Mr. Jamal Pratt.

In the Autumn of 2016, Mr. Felix introduced Mr. Dan Sevilla (Co-Owner) to Mr. Griffith.  Discussions with Mr. Sevilla, whom represented a restaurant managerial group with 75 years of collective restaurant operational experience; noted: they were in transition from one opportunity and seeking another.  In recognizing the value of including an experienced restaurant operations group (with demonstrated success in the industry), to the existing structure of the newfound SMASHIN CRAB organization: Mr. Griffith offered an equity position in SMASHIN CRAB to Mr. Sevilla’s group for their intellectual capital in the restaurant industry.  Mr. Sevilla’s group wholeheartedly accepted the offer and the ownership structure was complete.

In January of 2017, up for the adventure of moving their home base and the challenge of co-creating a new brand with like-minded professionals, Mr. Sevilla’s group moved from Phoenix, Arizona to San Antonio, TX to found the first incarnation of SMASHIN CRAB.  In April 2017, the construction of SMASHIN CRAB’s legacy location, at 8910 Bandera Road – San Antonio, TX was complete and subsequently open for business.