Common oyster lore indicates that eating bivalves in summer months is supposedly a forbidden indulgence. According to the old maxim, you should only eat oysters in months ending with an R, which puts May through August off limits. So why is National Oyster Day on Monday, August 5?
There never seems to be much rhyme or reason to the commercial scheme of naming national days (August 5 also happens to be National Underwear Day), but in this case, perhaps the date is designed to remind us that, by and large, eating oysters any time of year is perfectly fine these days.
First, that adage about R-less months dates back to pre-refrigeration, when shipping and eating oysters during the hot summer could pose real problems. And while oysters do a lot of the heavy lifting to filter our bays and brackish waters, the vast majority of us eat commercially farmed oysters, all of which are closely regulated year-round.
So, as National Oyster Day washes up, where in this landlocked city should you indulge in the ocean’s most delightful delicacy? Here are a few pearls offering regular deals or specials just for today.
Misaki on Broadway
Misaki has one of our favorite bivalve deals in town: an all-day happy hour of a rotating variety of oysters at just $1.50 each. The oysters are selected by the chef Jesus Silva and flown in at least four times a week; they're always fresh, briny and well-shucked. Lately, Misaki has been sporting the West Coast’s Kumiai, but earlier this summer it also had Wellfleet on the happy-hour list. While at Broadway Market, you can also have your go at the beer wall, or snug up to the bar and grab some bubbly. Still hungry? The glorified food court is your oyster: Round out your appetizer course with anything from pizza (Pizzeria Coperta) to pakora (Biju’s Little Curry Shop) to empanadas (Maria Empanada)...or just skip those and head straight for Miette et Chocolat’s alluring truffles.
Stoic & Genuine
1701 Wynkoop Street
Keeping it classy? Head to Union Station, where on August 5 the restaurant will be shucking and grilling oysters all day on the patio. If you’re impressing a date, spring for a colorful mélange of the specialty granitas to pair with your oysters: jalapeño watermelon, cantaloupe chartreuse, cucumber shoyu or ginger lime. And if you really want to add some pep to your step, go for the beau soleil shooter — it’s like an oyster shooter with bells, whistles and bows.
Lola Coastal Mexican
1575 Boulder Street
At over three dollars per oyster, Lola's regular offerings aren't a bargain, but the Kumiai (from a lagoon in Baja California) are as bright, fresh and clean as the new decor at this LoHi mainstay. The oysters also come with a selection of sauces so good that even if the bivalves don't need them, you'll want to drink the outstanding charred pineapple tepache, melon aguachile and serrano ponzu straight out of their little dishes. Come for happy hour, when you can get raw, grilled and fried versions (all with those orgasmic sauces) for $2 each!
2500 Larimer Street
This hole-in-the wall is a favorite for pizza, but the oysters (and canned sardines!) are an oft-overlooked treat. After all, Cart-Driver has prosecco on tap and offers Montucky Cold Snacks for a pittance. But its happy-hour oyster deal (2 for $5) makes for the perfect whistle-whetter before you dig into a wood-fired pizza. Tomato season is upon us: Why not get the best of land and sea?
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Blue Island Oyster Bar
2625 East Second Avenue
Nestled on one of the meticulously manicured blocks of Cherry Creek, Blue Island’s nautically designed space offers high-tops, a bar, a patio and booths where divers of yore in deep-sea garb peer out from the wallpaper. During happy hour, oysters are a mere $1.69 and the bubbly is a screaming deal at 40 percent off (or grab a $7 martini). And on National Oyster Day, you can enjoy these sea snacks at just 99 cents each, or $1.50 for roasted oysters.
Jax Fish House
Four Front Range locations
On National Oyster Day, you can join the Jax Oyster Club for free — giving you access to many of its specialty oysters and a chance to win a free “oyster experience” and shucking demonstration. As they say, shuck a woman an oyster, she can eat for a happy hour; teach a woman to shuck, and she’s at happy hour for life.
Various metro locations
If you've taken the oyster-shucking course at Jax and are willing to risk a trip to urgent care, visit the Whole Foods seafood counter, where you’ll find an array of oysters selling for $1 to $2 each. Grab your choice, head to your best friend’s patio with your catch and your oyster knife, and watch the sun set on National Oyster Day. (Stay off the booze until the shucking is done.)