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Made-up food holidays are kind of like a free cookie plate in the office common area: You didn’t ask for it, but might as well take advantage since it’s there. And this weekend, the sweet-and-salty pops of protein we call oysters are up for grabs.
National Oyster Day is always Aug. 5, which means the mollusk marketing ploy-slash-celebration falls on Saturday. Here’s where to celebrate.
The Olde Bar
This Jose Garces revamp of the former Bookbinders in Old City is truly one of the best seafood houses in the city, from the luxurious red leather bar stools to the impeccable service of the drink slingers behind the line. The raw bar is always full of top-notch quality stuff, but it can often fall on the pricey side. Not this weekend.
Things kick off a day before the “holiday” and continue a day after, but the steal of the moment is Saturday’s buck-a-shuck deal, which runs all evening. Here’s the deets:
- Friday: $1 oysters during 5 to 7 p.m. happy hour; half-priced oysters through close
- Saturday: $1 oysters from open to close (4 p.m. to midnight)
- Sunday: Oyster po’boy + High Life for $10
Three generations of serving seafood to Philadelphians make this Center City spot the go-to when it comes to its namesake mollusk. Current owner Sam Mink infused his grandpa’s historic restaurant with modern sensibilities, so of course this year’s celebration is all about local sourcing.
The entire oyster menu for Saturday will be provided by NJ growers. Look for shucks from 40 North (Barnegat Bay) Sweet Amalia (Cape May), Betsy’s Cape Shore Salts (Cape May) and Elder Point (Port Norris), all available for various prices throughout the day. Hold out till late-night to score the best deal: $1 oysters from 9 to 11 p.m., backed up by $3 beers and $5 punch.
The sleek marble bar is the absolute best thing about the restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton, and the glistening, freshly-shucked shellfish is the best thing served there. Only problem: It’s usually as pricey as the fancy hotel surroundings would demand. National Oyster Day to the rescue. All day Saturday, from the start of breakfast through the end of dinner, oysters will go for $1.50 a pop.
a.kitchen and a.bar
These connected restaurants across from Rittenhouse Square are now under the purview of Pub & Kitchen alum chef Eli Collins, and he’s got a trio of deals throughout the day. Anytime you stop into either spot, a half-dozen oysters can be yours for $9, which is half the price they usually go for.
There’s also a special omelet of the day available in either dining room: The Hangtown Fry. Made with breaded and fried oysters, Castle Island Smokehouse bacon from Bucks County, arugula and green tomato salsa verde folded into creamy eggs, it will sell for $12 on both Saturday and Sunday through 2 p.m.
At a.bar there’s a third Saturday deal. From 2:30 onward, score buttermilk fried oyster sliders with Plowshare Farms cabbage slaw and housemade celery and long hot pepper hot sauce for $4 a piece.