Seafood Restaurant In Denver Serves A Plate With 1 Million Views Online | Food
DENVER • Before entering TK Surf and Turf, many beginners have probably seen a glimpse of what to expect.
There is a video of an adult man crying in his car while eating the restaurant shrimp. “It’s so good,” he mumbles dramatically, as sad music plays in the background.
There are pictures of famous rappers like Bun B or members of the Denver Broncos stopping for plates of food.
And there’s this TikTok, a slow-motion dive into TK’s Surf and Turf signature dish. Taken by the Denver Food Scene account, the 15-second clip shows “The Works,” a platter filled with brightly seasoned lobster, shrimp, sausage and crab.
This is the kind of mouth-watering video that made food videos soar to the popularity of cat videos on the Internet. After watching someone’s hand pull apart pieces of lobster and dip them in a butter sauce, TikTok reviewers were ready to give it a try, saying things like, “I’m going and I’m taking them all. the ones I know with me! ” and “I know what I’m eating for dinner now.”
The video surpassed one million views across multiple platforms in January. In the real world, that amounted to long queues stretching out in the parking lot outside TK’s Surf and Turf.
It had just opened in October 2020.
Owner Tyler Kanwai, whose initials form the company name, says he was not prepared for the rush. But he and his team, which includes his mother, Tina, have learned from that time.
“It was like a tsunami,” Kanwai said, as he showed a colorful mural on the restaurant floor of a cartoon version of himself riding a wave. “Now it’s like things are calmer. We are riding the second wave.
The second wave means that customers always come because of the videos they have seen on the internet.
There’s a lot of hype, something Kanwai’s mom brings up when people walk in.
“Welcome to TK’s,” she said from behind the counter, before explaining the menu seen on a board above her.
When she points to “The Works,” which costs $ 55, she calls it a # 1 salesperson. “Since we went viral, there has been such a demand,” she says.
For those not in the mood to fork over $ 55 (more for sides), there are other options like an Alfredo Shrimp Dinner for $ 25 and the option to create your own main course. As a tribute to Kanwai’s favorite childhood drink, TK’s exclusively sells Calypso flavored lemonades. “It’s like liquid candy,” he says.
At the top is TK’s Dinner Feast, which feeds six to eight people and costs $ 399.99. The feast includes six grilled chicken breasts, 16 snow crab clusters, 80 jumbo shrimp, eight lobster tails, eight ground beef sausages, your choice of family toppings and a whole pound cake. Kanwai and his cooks can make it in an hour, he is proud to say.
He is most proud of “The Works”, which he says presents the “best of both worlds”.
“I do it the way I like to eat it,” he said. “And people like it. People get off the plane to come here and take it.
They also come to support Kanwai, a Denver native with a background in party promotion. He grew up cooking since he was old enough to turn on the stove, but most of his friends and followers didn’t know this side of him until Kanwai started selling plates of food out of his house these days. last years. When the pandemic struck and restaurants closed, Kanwai was able to continue selling food. As he grew even more popular, Kanwai decided it was time to take a risk and open his own home.
He continued to prepare food in his own way, covering seafood with seasonings in a way that encourages people to “lick the shells.” And there’s his secret sauce that he encourages people to have with everything.
He also made the place look what he wanted, with walls covered in different words and phrases in different sizes and colors. Some words are food themed, like “Seafood tastes better here”. Some carry more weight, like a wall full of names of blacks killed by the police. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Elijah McClain are among dozens of names.
“These people cannot speak for themselves,” Kanwai said. “So we stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. “
There’s another reason people come: to support what Kanwai touts as the first black-owned, family-operated seafood restaurant in Denver.
He proudly wears this title. As TK’s nears his first birthday, he wants to keep riding the wave. More attention and viral videos could be coming. But Kanwai wants to focus on making the next plate of food that’s as pretty and tasty as the last one.
“I just want it to be good food and good vibes,” he said. “You come here and you are part of the family.