For centuries in New York the slippery, opalescent oyster dominated the shores, their bone white shell fragments crunching underfoot. They were so ubiquitous as to be almost an afterthought, a cheap one at that, costing nothing at all before the arrival of the Dutch.
That was then. Now, a plump, innocent-looking little Kumamoto from Puget Sound will easily rob you of $3.50 in even a mid-range New York restaurant. This rampant inflation is frustrating, because the delectable bivalves are like ritz crackers: it’s impossible to eat just one. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list for you, the financially cautious mollusc fiend. Partake in a bit of New York’s edible legacy while keeping penury at bay.
Just a block north of lovely Maria Hernandez Park, Mominette is an east coast oyster lover’s paradise: anything from a quotidian Blue Point (Connecticut) to a gnarly-shelled Chincoteague (Virginia) costs a dollar from 12 pm to 7 pm, Monday – Friday. That means that a big ol’ batch of oysters could feasibly accompany your brunch, lunch or dinner, all meals that the restaurant manages with unpretentious Gallic aplomb.
Oyster Happy Hour: Weekdays, 12 pm to 7 pm
As its name implies, this bustling, impeccably designed Jefferson L stop-adjacent establishment is strong like bull (shark) when it comes to preparation of seafaring organisms. Your dollar oysters (offered 4pm to 7 pm, everyday) could be accompanied by anything from smoked trout dip to “peel n’ eat prawns.” There are plenty of terrestrial options on the menu, like roast chicken, but the $200 Grilled Sea Wolf Tower makes plain their piscine fetish.
19 Wyckoff Ave
Oyster Happy Hour: Monday to Sunday, 4 pm – 7 pm
Situated right on the border between residential Bushwick and its warehouse-dominated alter ego, The Narrows offers plenty for the cocktail geek while not alienating the rest of us who just want our boilermaker. It’s a dependable destination for late night food, to boot. Oh, and dollar oysters everyday until 7 p.m.
1037 Flushing Ave.
Oyster Happy Hour: Monday to Friday, 5 pm – 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 3 pm – 7 pm
Just a few blocks north of The Narrows is the New England-style “clam shack,” and it wears its bleached-and-brined seaside raiments with minimal fuss. The menu projects a similarly laid back vibe with boardwalk classics like fish & chips and clam chowder (plus $1 oysters weekdays, 4 pm – 7 pm) sharing room with cauliflower sliders and lobster tacos with sweet corn esquite.
2 Knickerbocker Ave.
Oyster Happy Hour: Monday – Friday, 4 pm – 7 pm
One of the newest restaurants on this list, Pizzette is staking a pioneering claim to the relatively quiet area around the Montrose L stop. It’s owned by Steve Shaka, a restauranteur with two other notches on his Bushwick belt: the aforementioned Mominette, and Bushwick Bakery. Aside from six and 10-inch pies and a gut-busting weekend brunch, they keep customers filing in with $1 oysters served from 5 pm until close every night of the week. Now that’s hospitality.
191 Graham Ave
Oyster Happy Hour: 5 pm to close, every night (discluding brunch)
Right next door to neighborhood favorite Sea Wolf (a bold move) is Lot 45. The place checks a lot of boxes. It turns into a club full of gorgeous, shiny people at night, while its approach to food and drink is eager to please. There’s savory and sweet crepes, avocado toast, a chicken and waffle sandwich. To wash it all down, you can opt for a refreshing, effervescent Peachy Rose Spritzer or a workmanlike can of Narragansett. The real draw here, though, is the joint’s happy hour (Tuesday – Friday, 5 pm – 8 pm): Blue Point oysters for a buck, well drinks and draft beer for $5, and wines by the glass for $6. That, also, is hospitality.
411 Troutman St.
Oyster Happy Hour: Tuesday – Friday, 5 pm – 8 pm
Cover image courtesy of Timothy Meador.
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