- Neighborhood: Center City West
- 1516 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-567-7683
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: Seafood
- Price: $$$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
What was once a simple shucking contest and excuse to suck down a couple dozen oysters on a spring afternoon has, this year, become a full-bore indoor oyster carnival with this year’s Shuck Fest at Oyster House.
Scheduled for this Sunday, from noon to 4pm, Oyster House will host everything from the traditional shucking competition to oyster tutorials, oyster tastings with local growers, wine and beer pairings, shell crafts and games for the kids, photo booths and more.
On a recent unseasonably warm March afternoon, I stopped in to Sansom Street’s Oyster House to try out several of the restaurant’s new cocktails. Head bartender/bar manager Lindsey Krueger, a Franklin Mortgage and Village Whiskey vet has been at Oyster House for four years and has built up quite the selection of gins behind the bar, a collection that is put to good use in the latest Oyster House cocktail list.
Bartender Colin O’Neill, himself a Franklin Mortgage alum mixed up the cocktails as I sampled the day’s oysters, house-cured gravalax and decided to wear the delicious barbecue oysters.
It is the last weekend for Snockey’s Oyster and Crab House. The Philadelphia institution is closing after 103 years. Located at 1020 South 2nd Street for the past 40 years, the restaurant’s closing further shuts the door on the tradition of the Philadelphia oyster house.
Third generation owners, Ken and Skip Snock are both in their 60s and looking to step away from the business. The property has been for sale since late 2014.
In the 1870s, Philadelphians consumed 12 oysters a week and some 2,419 Philadelphia hotels, oyster houses, restaurants and saloons served oysters. And that’s not counting the roving peddlers and curbside stands. By the late 1950s, 95% of the Delaware Bay’s oysters had been wiped out by disease. With the dropoff in local oysters, oyster houses also faced extinction.