Pat's Fisherman's Wharf | Henderson, LA
Cajun Cooking: Right From the Heart
Since 1948, Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf has been serving up Cajun Cooking to residents of Henderson, Louisiana, and its surrounding communities. A family-run business since its inception, Pat’s began in a tiny garage. Owner Harvey Huval began working at the restaurant under his father’s supervision at age 13. Fast forward to 2017, Harvey is 65, and the business has grown to include a dance and dinner club, a crawfish plant, a roux factory and a hotel. Pat's Fisherman's Wharf Restaurant has literally grown up with the town of Henderson, carrying the flavorful tradition of great Louisiana seafood into the present day.
Pat’s signature dishes are deeply rooted in the area’s rich Cajun culture. “Crawfish dishes are our specialty, and people from as far as 200 miles away are considered regulars here,” said Harvey. The recipes at Pat's have been passed down for generations, from Harvey’s grandmother to his father, Pat, and now to Harvey, using the same ingredients from the Bayou that local people have harvested and enjoyed for decades. Harvey has made few changes to his beloved menu over the years and stays committed to processing all crawfish right at the restaurant. “We have the freshest crawfish possible, and its rich flavor made us famous for ‘home-style’ cooking,” said Harvey. Other favorites: platters of stuffed crabs and broiled shrimp, thick and spicy gumbo, mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and broiled in a garlic butter sauce, fried frog legs, turtle soup, camp-style crawfish étouffée, poor boy sandwiches and a thick slice of homemade pecan pie for dessert.
Consistency, stability and hard work are Harvey’s secrets to success. “We are creatures of habit here,” he said. Harvey doesn’t feel the need to change in order to keep up with current trends. Experience has proven that traditional foods and quality service keep customers returning for years to come. “People know what to expect when they come to Pat’s. I have always felt that if we are doing well, why change?” says Harvey.
But it hasn’t always been an easy ride, as Harvey confirmed. “The restaurant business can be really tough and you have to be able to handle tough times.”
Depending on the season, Harvey can have up to 80 employees working at the various venues, many of whom have been with him for more than 25 years. Harvey’s aunt May Grace, his mother’s sister, has been working for decades with Harvey and recently celebrated her 80th birthday. “She probably deserves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records,” he joked. But when it comes to recognizing the role his staff plays in the restaurant’s continued success, Harvey turned serious and said: “Their loyalty and commitment is the reason I’m able to offer a consistent quality product.”