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You fancy, huh, Lotus Seafood?

If, in a decade or so, we look back at 2015 and try to pinpoint the biggest trend of the year, I believe it would be this: expansion. Not only is Houston's dining scene flourishing as a whole (wait until you see our Best New Restaurants issue when it hits newsstands in October...), but 2015 has been an incredibly fertile year for homegrown restaurateurs, many of whom have taken advantage of the influx of Newstonians and their dining dollars to open second and third locations across the city.

The latest burgeoning restaurant chain to add to the mix is Lotus Seafood, which opened a long-awaited third location in Westchase this week. This new address—2825 S. Kirkwood, just off Westheimer—brings with it a fresh look for the seafood restaurant, whose original location at 8550 S. Braeswood is known chiefly for three things: its hole-in-the-wall charm, its "loud packs" and its long lines.

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I'm pretty sure that the original Lotus Seafood has never once had a facelift in its years of existence, even after a menu overhaul in 2010 that added popular dishes such as those loud packs (shrimp fried rice topped with crawfish tails, extra spice and a creamy white garlic sauce) and eventually saw Lotus Seafood transform into a cult favorite.

Its legendary Instagram account has grown by 10,000 hungry fans since we last wrote about Lotus back in March, and now boasts over 33,000 followers. The original Lotus Seafood doesn't need a fancy dining room to pack them in; it doesn't want for anything, in fact, except perhaps a larger kitchen to accommodate the long lines of diners who wait upwards of an hour every day of the week for their fried seafood fix.

This new Lotus Seafood, however, looks to bring in fans of its own with a trendy dining room that features colorful chairs and an even more colorful Houston-inspired mural behind the ordering counter. The menu remains the same, however, offering both standards like the loud packs and seasonal specials such as soft-shell crabs, which you can find right this very moment at the new Kirkwood spot. Does this mean you can look forward to shorter lines at the original Lotus Seafood? Doubtful. But it does mean you won't have to wait too long for your crawfish fried rice or bacon-wrapped deep-fried shrimp at this new location...for now.

Lotus Seafood, 2825 S. Kirkwood Rd., Ste. 300, 281-741-7091, instagram.com/lotusseafood1

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