Retired beautician opens What’s Krackin ‘restaurant in Hyde Park

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A cook since the age of eight, Maurinise Lee’s dream of opening her own seafood store in Hyde Park, where she grew up, came true on Sunday when crowds filled her store at 1310 E. 53rd St.

Holding her 3 year old granddaughter, Ceast Lee, she said, “I’m grateful… grateful for this opening. This is my dream come true.

What’s Krackin ‘Southern Seafood is a family affair. Lee is the mother of four sons, Michael, Kevin Mitchell, Franklin Lee and Ryan Lee. “They are part of my vision and they are always by my side,” she said.

Asked about the origin of the restaurant’s name, Lee explained, “I came up with What’s Krackin ‘Southern Seafood because I created a seasoning, and my mom taught me how to cook southern dishes. I created my seasoning to put on southern food and seafood; it has therefore become a southern touch. That’s why I named it What’s Krackin ‘Southern Seafood.

“My mom always taught me how to cook soul food. I have cooked, washed and cooked greens, fry chicken, clean chicken, mash potatoes, salads. I was always in the kitchen with my mother because I was the oldest of the grandchildren and the oldest of the children. I had to prepare meals; cooking has become a passion for me.

Her mother, Joan Lewis, said she was so proud of her daughter.

Born in Chicago, Lee grew up in Hyde Park at 5323 S. Woodlawn. She attended Murray Language Academy Elementary School and Kenwood Academy. Lee graduated from Pivot Point Beauty School and after 35 years as a cosmetologist he owned four salons. Lee has since retired from this profession and is focusing on franchising his seafood restaurant.

Asked about her goals, Lee said she wanted to franchise her restaurant, opening five more restaurants, one per year, across the United States. “This is my first and my goal is to make it a great franchise.”

Lee said she spawned the idea for What’s Krackin ‘in 2013. “I’ve always been prepared to open a restaurant. Everything was in the Divine order. I just woke up one morning in 2013 and said I would open a restaurant.

Her son, Ryan Lee, co-owner of What’s Krackin ‘, was equally excited about the opening of their southern seafood restaurant. “Today was special to see something we’ve been working on for years come to fruition. It’s amazing to create a space that will bring the Hyde Park community together.

The Lees menu includes shrimp, crab, crab legs, lobster tails and crayfish with a special seasoning she created with a butter sauce. Their menu selections can be steamed, grilled or fried; the restaurant also serves Po Boys, Oyster Po Boys, vegan corn, potatoes and shrimp.

Although his restaurant specializes in take-out, there is seating for some customers inside and outside the store. She needs masks to comply with the mandate of the Centers for Disease Control.

The What’s Krackin ‘restaurant will be open from 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.


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