Does Long Island’s favorite bivalve deserve a dedicated week? The creators of Long Island Restaurant Week and passionate oyster lovers think so! Beginning Tuesday, October 10 through 15, restaurants across Long Island will offer oyster specials sourced from local oyster growers during the first annual Long Island Oyster Week.
Although there are no North Fork restaurants participating in this year’s event, three North Fork-based oyster growers – Oysterponds Shellfish Co. in Orient, Founders Oyster Farm in Southold, and North Fork Big Oyster in Peconic – will supply some of the shellfish available to try.
This idea was the brainchild of Richard Remmer of The Snapper Inn Waterfront Restaurant in Oakdale, Chuck Westfall, president of the Long Island Oyster Growers Association, as well as Nicole Castillo, who runs Long Island Restaurant Week.
“Long Island oyster growers are proud to present to you the very best oysters from our many growing regions,” said Westfall in a press release about the event. “We have re-established, in both quality and taste, an oyster that hearkens back to Long Island’s rich oyster and shellfish industries. We are also proud of the significant environmental benefits that oyster farming provides to our local waters.”
Fifteen restaurants from Cold Spring Harbor to Sag Harbor will offer several specials during the five-day promotion, including $1 and $2 oysters, sampler platters, and appetizers. The participating North Fork growers are excited to provide oysters for this event.
“I’m always happy to promote New York oysters and highlight all of the different flavors of Long Island oysters,” said Phil Mastrangelo of Oysterponds Shellfish Co. “You have different flavors depending on where you get your Long Island oysters from. Peconic Bay oysters taste different from ones grown on the South Shore or in Great South Bay.”
For North Fork Big Oysters, one of the newer oyster farms to come to the North Fork within the past two years, this event is an exciting way to get exposure and promote their product.
“I hope people realize that New York is still the place to get the best oysters,” said Rosemary Mulderrig-Koepele who runs North Fork Big Oysters with her husband Eric and son Grady. “We’re a relatively new farm and we thought this was a great idea to promote our oysters.”
The growers will provide several different types of oysters for people to try throughout the week. The flavors vary not only depending on where they grow but the size they are harvested.
“Our petite are much sweeter than our select size, which is much more robust in flavor,” said Mastrangelo. “Our grande oysters are about four inches long and are more for grilling rather than eating raw. Those have a really big flavor.”
During Long Island Restaurant Week, which is scheduled for October 29 through November 5, Steven Schnee of Founders Oyster Farm was happy to promote his product to restaurants across the Island and is excited to do the same during LI Oyster Week.
“Long Island oysters have an incredibly rich history and Restaurant Week helped us expose a lot of people to our incredible product,” noted Schnee. “I hope [this] will help showcase our delicious, pristine, crisp, [and] clean oysters that we grow here at Founders.”
Some of the proceeds for this promotional week will go towards Half Shells for Habitat, an island-wide partnership that collects waste oyster shells from restaurants and returns them to Long Island’s estuarine waters. To check out where you can try all of these North Fork oysters, as well as the oysters from the nine other participating farms, head to the Long Island Oyster Week website.