Atlanta Orders In: At Infusion Crab, mom lets entrepreneurial daughters have a say

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

When it comes to managing their family’s seafood restaurant, sisters McKenzie and Madison KnoxTukes don’t mince words.

If they see employees goofing off, they’ll clock them out and tell them curtly: “Let us know when you want to clock back in.” If orders for boiled shrimp and fried fish aren’t coming out fast enough, they step in and take over.

McKenzie is 14 and Madison is 12.

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Not long ago, they would get scoops at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream on Lower Roswell Road in Marietta. Today, along with their mother, Kimberly Knox, they own and operate Infusion Crab ATL, next door to the ice cream parlor. The youngsters’ imprint is all over the takeout-only spot that specializes in crab and shrimp boils infused with spice blends. They even chose the hot-pink color scheme as a tribute to their aunt, Sharon Knox, who died of breast cancer three years ago at 55.

“Ever since my kids could walk, I have trained them on how to cook, how to be self-sufficient, and pretty much how to survive if anything ever was to happen to me,” said Knox, 38, who grew up in College Park, dropped out of technical college because she needed to support herself, and worked in the financial industry before starting Infusion Crab.

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Knox never particularly liked the corporate world, and always has pushed her daughters to think like entrepreneurs. McKenzie, an eighth-grader, and Madison, a sixth-grader, are enrolled in internet classes in Cobb County and work two days a week at the restaurant.

When McKenzie announced a couple of years ago that she didn’t think she wanted to go to college, her mother told her to come up with a few business plans. Nothing if not ambitious, McKenzie said she wanted to own her own mall. (Not just any mall, but “a big mall like the Mall of Georgia,” her mother recalled.) Then, it was a day-care center, also too expensive for her mom’s pocketbook.

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

What about catering? Friends and family members always had raved about Knox’s way with shrimp and crab — a style she calls “soul seafood.” Last March, as the pandemic set in, the family hatched a plan to cater to clients looking for stay-at-home meals. The ladies saved their earnings, and, when they saw the vacant spot next to Bruster’s, they decided to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. McKenzie serves as general manager; Madison is assistant manager.

Knox traces her love of feeding people back to her College Park grandmother. Soul food is the family legacy, but seafood is easier to cook for a crowd, she said. Infusion’s generous boils of snow-crab clusters and shrimp are available in portions to feed from one to 27 ($875). You get to choose the seasoning: barbecue, Cajun, jerk, garlic butter, lemon pepper, curry or Kenzie’s Infusion Mix (Cajun, jerk and garlic butter). Meals come with corn on the cob, potatoes and a boiled egg. You can add on items, such as lobster, crawfish and sausage.

Credit: Wendell Brock

Credit: Wendell Brock

Fried whiting, fried oysters and fried chicken wings also are popular. On Sundays, there’s a comfort food option of baked chicken with rice, collards and cornbread.

A cooler by the register is filled with bottles of Madi’s Infusion Sips — teas, juices and punches concocted by Madison. She doesn’t share her recipe, and employees are required to sign nondisclosure agreements. McKenzie sells her own line of seasoning mix and garlic butter. The sweets — pound cake, chocolate cake, lemon pound cake — are made by a family member, but Madison plans to take over the baking soon.

“Their whole thing is they don’t want anyone else doing it for them,” Knox said. “They want to be doing it for themselves.”

Just like their Mama taught them.

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Menu: seafood

Alcohol: no

What I ordered: lunch combo with half-pound snow-crab leg and half a pound of shrimp; oysters and fries; side of coleslaw; hush puppies; lemon pound cake. The food was good. I especially liked the shrimp, slaw, hush puppies and cake. The best part was having 14-year-old McKenzie KnoxTukes bring it out with pride. This is a sweet place with a sweet story.

Service options: takeout and delivery

Outdoor dining: small space with three tables

Mask policy: “Employees and customers must have on a mask at all times when they are in here,” Kimberly Knox said. Masks are provided for those who don’t have them.

Address, phone: 2044 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta; 678-742-8946

Hours: 12-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 12-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 1-7 p.m. Sundays


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