On a warm Atlanta morning in August, Kwaylon “BlameItOnKway” Rogers along with a second line band quite literally paraded down Peachtree Street to celebrate the grand opening of Krab Queenz. Part seafood restaurant and part daiquiri joint, Krab Queenz serves up dishes for those hungry for a hearty helping of Louisiana-style boiled seafood or even the perfect Instagram flick.
Along with partners Tonique Clay and Natasha Burton, Rogers is a part of the trio of talent behind Krab Queenz, a restaurant chain which currently has locations in Houston, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Natasha Burton, who also serves as Rogers’ manager, revealed that the social media phenom always had a desire to level up in his career.
“I’ve been managing Kway for a couple of years now,” Natasha Burton said. “Just with being his manager, we knew early on he wanted to dabble into different business ventures…And Kway’s ambitions were to be a businessman and so we were trying to figure out the right fit.”
For Rogers, a current Los Angeles resident, the lack of “a memorable experience in authentic Louisiana flavor” in his new home served as motivation for his decision to team with Burton and Clay. And with help from Clay, a Louisiana native, Los Angeles was soon privy to impeccably seasoned fried fish, sizable boiled seafood platters and other Krab Queenz specialties.
“I cook in the kitchen. I like to mix spices and things like that. I was born in Mississippi, raised in Louisiana. So, I knew the Louisiana flavor,” Tonique Clay said.
Thanks in part to Rogers’ massive social media fame–He’s known to many, or more appropriately millions, as BlameItOnKway–social media is a big part of the Krab Queenz experience. The walls in the Atlanta and Houston locations are adorned with praises from those on Facebook and Instagram, and frozen daiquiris arrive Instagram-ready, boasting vibrant hues and colorful candies.
According to Rogers, consistency is one element of social media know-how that has helpfully rolled over into the restaurant world.
“Just having all the food taste the same across the board,” Kwaylon Rogers said. “The food in L.A. tastes just like Houston. We’re gonna have the same taste, the same feel, the same vibe. We’re gonna have DJs in all the spots. Whenever you go into any city, just expect to have that same feeling. Just with a different ambiance…And carrying that on from social media, just being consistent. I’ve always been consistent with my content and my craft, so carrying that on into a restaurant is something that was really important to all of us.”
“I think it became a big deal for me recently,” Clay said. “To know we’re not only black business owners in the seafood market–Louisiana style seafood is mostly Asian. And that kind of hit me recently as well. Like, ‘Wow, we’re black-owned.’ He’s a powerhouse within itself. And it’s a big deal to be an influencer and then become a business owner and it be successful. Not only does the place look good, the food tastes good.”
A quick glance at the Krab Queenz menu will uncover several items inspired by BlameItOnKway. There’s the Titi Pink Panties, which comes topped with cotton candy, and a special daiquiri flavor named BlameItOnKway. For Rogers though, Krab Queenz has quickly become something larger than his social media persona.
“To be honest, it becomes bigger than me. They might come for me, but when they leave here it’s like ‘Damn, the food is [good].’ It becomes bigger than Kway,” he said.