For many New Orleanians, bellying up to your favorite oyster bar to slurp down a dozen is just another day living on the Gulf Coast. We take for granted (and rightfully so) that we’re ground zero for where 70% of the oysters consumed in the U.S. are produced. I’ll eat a dozen just to that.
Unfortunately, after these delicious bivalves have been shucked, they’re usually chucked into landfills instead of returned back to the water where they can become an incredible natural resource for the habitat. The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) is attempting to turn the tide.
Their Oyster Shell Recycling Program salvages discarded shells and returns them to Louisiana waters helping to restore oyster reefs, create fish habitats, and stabilize the coastline. With the help of local restaurants that shuck dozens and dozens daily, CRCL was able to construct their first half-mile oyster reef in Biloxi Marsh in November 2016 with 1.7 million pounds of oyster shell. Last year CRCL collected over 532 total tons, and are looking to build their next reef in Barataria Bay.
To celebrate this incredible program and its partners, CRCL is throwing a Shell-A-Bration with the help of Shell Oil Company. Kicking off February 20th, head out to some of your favorite participating restaurants to order a dozen and collect special Shell-A-Bration doubloons (during their Shell-A-Bration Special hours) that you can use to win prizes during the March 8 finale at Urban South Brewery; a complimentary party you can RSVP for here that’ll have free food (while it lasts) and tunes by the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys.
So if you’re looking to put down a dozen for a purpose or want to collect Shell-A-Bration doubloons, we’ve compiled a round of drool-worthy pics and reviews about the Oyster Shell Recycling Program participating restaurants. Break out your tiny forks, and enjoy!
144 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
Shell-A-Bration Special: Tuesday, February 20 – Tuesday, March 6 | 4-6pm | $1 Oysters, $3 Abita Draft, $5 House Wine
“This is the place if you’re in a group or if you prefer a night with someone special, it’s perfect. I love the food, the atmosphere, the location, and best of all, the great service… you can choose to be seated, or have your meal at the bar. The oyster bar is fun and the best raw oysters around.
– Yelper Pam P.
Two Girls One Shuck
New Orleans, LA
“The were catering an Endymion parade party on Canal Street. They were very smart and friendly and encouraged me to go raw. I thought they were the most amazing addition to the party. I am praying for the day I can have them come to a party at my home. It would be amazing.”
– Yelp Elite Geneva H.
Tracey’s Original Irish Channel Bar
2604 Magazine St New Orleans, LA 70130
Shell-A-Bration Special: Feb 20-March 6, M-F | 4-7pm | $10/dozen $2.50 domestic beers; $3 well drinks; $0.50 off draft beers
“Whether it’s to watch a game, trivia, or just a regular night, Tracey’s is pretty consistent. There’s lot of seating, but get there early if you want to watch a game. There are always fans, which makes watching games more fun!…Tracey’s is a favorite for me and my friends. We always know what to expect and have a great time every time!”
-Yelp Elite Cynthia N.
777 Bienville St New Orleans, LA 70130
“Another great restaurant in New Orleans. Excellent service to add. The servers had excellent knowledge of the menu and made some great suggestions. The food was delicious but to tell you the truth every plate that passed us by looked scrumptious.”
-Yelper Vaughn- Michael B.
Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar
4338 St Charles Ave New Orleans, LA 70115
“Loved this place for Sunday brunch. Oysters were delicious, drinks were great, food amazing. Beautiful restaurant, NFL on the TVs, jazz trio setting the tone, reasonable prices, and the best service we had while we were in New Orleans.”
-Yelp Jason K.
Red Fish Grill
115 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
“I love Redfish Grill for their variety of wood-grilled fish and amazing sauces. The gumbo is among the city’s best. Flavors are on point without being heavy and overwhelming. It’s a great place for tourists visiting the quarter and locals who want to blend into Bourbon.”
-Yelper Kimberly J.
309 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
“Nice New Orleans-style restaurant with a raw oyster bar. We ordered the baked oyster special with garlic butter and Parmesan cheese, turtle soup and a dozen raw oysters. The oysters were a really nice size, and the baked oysters were very tasty.”
-Yelper Coleman O.
800 Magazine St New Orleans, LA 70130
Shell-A-Bration Special: Sunday, February 25 | 1-3pm | Special Oyster Lunch
“We sat at the raw oyster bar and it was fantastic! The men who were doing the oysters were so friendly and funny! The food was amazing and so was the dessert! Loved coming here and definitely recommend it.”
-Yelper Katya C.
535 Tchoupitoulas St New Orleans, LA 70130
“I believe that food is a channel from which we learn about our own lives. When I want to feel inspired, I go to Compere Lapin to eat and to learn…From the bitters bottles filled with hot sauce served with oysters, to the way our table was helped by multiple staff in the restaurant, I have never felt the way I have felt when I left dinner last night.”
-Yelper Corbin M.
509 S Carrollton Ave New Orleans, LA 70118
Shell-A-Bration Special: Tuesday, February 20 | 8-10pm | Half-priced Dozen–$8/dozen
“Great date night! This is such a fun bar. The drink specials are fabulous. The oysters are amazing.”
-Yelp Elite Tonya G.
2381 St Claude Ave New Orleans, LA 70117
Shell-A-Bration Special: Tuesday, February 20 | 4-6pm | $6/Half dozen
“I have been coming here for years and it has yet to disappoint! My date night favorite is the tower, but I often stop by after work for $1 oysters! Keep up the good work! Shuck on my friends!”
-Yelper Olivia B.
Gallier Restaurant & Oyster Bar
129 Carondelet St New Orleans, LA 70112
“This place was amazing! The charbroiled oysters, blackened redfish, and fried oysters were really yummy! The waitress that served us was also really kind and polite!”
-Yelper Quoc N.
2 Poydras St New Orleans, LA 70140
“I ate two dozen chargrilled oysters! They were incredible. The best I’ve had in New Orleans. I liked the atmosphere of the restaurant. Watching them prepare and grill the oysters was a nice touch.”
-Yelper John C.
Desire Oyster Bar
300 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
Shell-A-Bration Special: Wednesday, February 28 | 3-6pm | $1 oysters (raw and chargrilled) | $5 house cocktails & wine, $4 import draft, $3 domestic draft
“This is always a mandatory stop when in NOLA. Sit at the oyster bar with Kentrell while he shucks up some pure oyster love. Best oysters in New Orleans. Always fresh and tasty. Grilled oysters are killer as well.”
-Yelper Dawn W.
601 Loyola Ave New Orleans, LA 70113
Shell-A-Bration Special: Tuesday, March 1 | 5-9pm | Topless Oysters and Bottomless Bubbles–$1 LA Oysters and Bottomless Cava for $12
“I haven’t had a bad food experience here yet, despite the seeming constant crowd. Lunch specials are one of the best deals in New Orleans, and worth a trip to the CBD even if its out of your way. Try the rabbit! Also great spot to grab some drinks and freshly shucked oysters.”
-Yelper Eli C.
813 Bienville St New Orleans, LA 70112
“The food was excellent! Started off with a French 75 cocktail which was fabulous! Shared a few appetizers with the table including Oyster Arnaud, Arnaud’s shrimp, potato souffle, and alligator sausage. Loved everything!! The sausage was spicy and delicious. The Oysters Arnaud were my favorite!”
-Yelp Elite Lianne S.
If you’d like to keep track of these bivalve-loving businesses, follow our Yelp Bookmark Collection here and do good while enjoying a dozen! For a full schedule of events, check out the Shell-A-Bration page here. Interested in getting more involved? Check out CRCL’s volunteer programs here.