Business Profile: Oyster Rock
Business Profile: Oyster Rock
The new kid in Calabash — Oyster Rock — celebrated its first anniversary in May 2019. The waterfront seafood restaurant is the third local establishment in the Callahan Calabash legacy, joining Callahan’s of Calabash gift shop and The Boundary House. Perched on the Calabash River in the former Coleman’s restaurant, Oyster Rock is a contemporary seafood venue in a setting that is a perfect blend of low-country upscale and Carolina casual.
South Florida native Patrick Legendre is the general manager. “Oyster Rock was born from a vision to honor the well-established Calabash tradition and then enhance it with an elevated, yet unpretentious menu,” he says.
Named for the infamous oyster beds in the local rivers and marshes that snag the lines of many a fisherman, Oyster Rock has combined indoor and outdoor seating for more than 250 guests. The interior decor is simple yet modern. A rustic brick wall is home to a hand-painted giant oyster, and blue and green blown glass float replicas dangle from the ceiling.
There are four seating areas. Indoor guests enjoy the expansive riverfront view through floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, a covered porch provides more casual seating with a salty breeze. A few steps below, a patio flanks the front of the building, where guests can enjoy full-menu service in a sunny setting. Farther below, down at the Oyster Pit, guests can order from the steamed oyster selection, while sipping a cold beverage from the dock bar.
The Oyster Pit, with three walls of windows, houses eight burners of giant steamer pots, where all the oysters are cooked for both indoor and outdoor service. “Guests can choose from a peck (about 15 oysters) or a half bushel (about 50 oysters), all of which are steamed in a bath of salt water and are served with a tray of drawn butter, cocktail sauce, crackers and lemon,” Legendre says.
The dock bar, with 100 feet of dock space for tying off boats, offers mixed drinks, two beers on draft, an array of domestic craft beers and wines by the glass. There are also five TVs for sports fans.
Inside the restaurant, the indoor bar offers 24 beers on draft and a more extensive wine list as well as mixed drinks. “Our cuisine is contemporary American but seafood heavy,” Legendre says. Some of the popular items are the hand-trimmed filet mignon and the 14-ounce Kansas City strip. Fresh fish specials are on the menu thanks to a local fisherman who brings his daily catch to the kitchen door.
While oysters from Virginia to Connecticut are on the menu occasionally, the bulk of the oysters are sourced locally, delivered four times a week from a family oyster farm in Everette Bay on the Stump Sound north of Topsail island.
“We serve between six and 10 bushels of oysters a day, and by far the Everette Bay oysters are the best,” Legendre says, explaining that their superior flavor comes from their environment in the marshes of Stump Sound, which have little freshwater and stormwater intrusion. “They are simply filtering one thing,” Legendre says with a smile. “Salt.”
Oyster Rock: 9931 Nance Street, Calabash; (910) 579-6875; theoysterrock.com