Sustainability on the Half Shell

Legendary Oyster Hotspot

Known for hand-shucked raw, fire-grilled and baked oysters, the Original Oyster House is the legendary hotspot for fresh Gulf seafood, Southern hospitality and a spectacular waterfront view. Behind the scenes, this restaurant’s sustainable practices have taken oysters out of the kitchen to help save oysters and ensure their future. Becoming the first restaurant in the state to recycle the oyster shell, the Original Oyster House pledged further by being the only local restaurant to “oyster garden” or grow stocker oysters for reef restoration.

Preserving Oysters

Recycling shell and growing oysters to help restore the reef is a champion strategy in preserving this culinary masterpiece. Savory signature dishes like the award-winning Fire-Grilled Oysters have locals and tourists alike raving about them and coming back for more. Oyster cams capture the flaming Gulf oysters on the 7-foot grill at the Mobile Causeway location, authenticating fresh from the water to the fire. The grill master ladles hand-shucked, plump Gulf oysters in garlic butter, tops them with Parmesan and Romano cheeses and finishes the dish with a grill marked, crusty New Orlean’s style French bread, which is great for sopping. You can hear the sizzle and smell the charbroiled flavors. The fire-grilled oysters arrive at the table still bubbling hot, perfectly seared and sizzling with juices. And as you savor this signature dish, you TOO will be supporting the oyster shell recycling program.

Alabama’s First Oyster Shell Recycling Restaurant

In 2016, the Original Oyster House piloted Alabama’s first Oyster Shell Recycling Program through the Alabama Coastal Foundation. The restaurant recycles the oyster shells to help restore the oyster reef, prevent coastal erosion, and help to enhance the oyster, fish, shrimp, and crab populations. As of June 2 of 2021, almost 15.5 million oyster shells have been recovered from participating Gulf Coast restaurants, which is over 38.8 acres of oyster shells and the weight of 321 elephants.

Oyster Menu Options

If you prefer variety, the Shell-Shocked Oyster sampler is another great menu option. This dish features Baked Parmesan Garlic Oysters, fried oysters and Joe & Dave’s Favorites. The Joe & Dave’s Favorite Oysters are baked with garlic cocktail sauce, Bill-E’s small Batch Bacon and grated Parmesan cheese. With a wide variety of menu selections, there are plenty of fan favorites and signature dishes to choose from including Josh’s Shrimp and Grits, Mahi down on Da Bayou, Fisherman’s Pride, succulent Alaskan Snow Crab, Whole Flounder, tacos, pastas, chicken, burgers, Po’ Boys, a fine salad bar, plus much more. Southern staples like seasoned turnip greens, seafood gumbo, bread pudding, homemade key lime pie and world famous Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie are crowd picks. The restaurant also offers the Key Lime and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip whole pies as grab and go items from the refrigerator as well as quarts and half gallons of seafood gumbo.

Oyster Trail

At its Gulf Shores and Mobile Causeway locations, you may spot the 4-foot sponsored oyster sculptures of the Oyster Trail. Founded in 2013, the Oyster Trail, a project of the Mobile Oyster Gardening Program, is a public art trail that raises awareness for endangered wild oysters. More than 85 percent of oyster reefs have been lost globally. An oyster reef provides an essential habitat for all kinds of marine and plant life and a healthy oyster population improves the quality of water, which enhances commercial and recreation fishing and ecotourism. Oyster Trail sponsorship help fund oyster gardening.

Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program

In the Mobile Bay Oyster Gardening Program, volunteers grow oysters in gardens that hang from their piers from June to November. The oysters are collected in November and planted on restoration reefs in Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound. In Oct. of 2022, this education and research program has planted more than 1.25 million oysters since it began in 2001 It equates to 61.6 acres. The 2022 season in Little Lagoon, where we garden, produced over 57,000 oysters with a mean height of 2” from 168 cages.  This is enough oysters to restore almost 3 acres in Mobile Bay.

Kid’s Oyster Shell Recycling Tattoo

Children too can get involved, become oyster trailblazers and earn an Oyster Shell Recycling tattoo. All they have to do is answer five “true or false” questions on the kid’s menu about oysters. View Kid’s menu

From recycling shells, to helping restore the reefs, to giving back to the community, the Original Oyster House is making more than great food – they’re making a difference. So, the next time you’re in Gulf Shores or cutting across the Causeway, be sure to stop by for fresh Gulf Seafood complete with a waterfront view at the Original Oyster House… and you too may become an Oyster Trailblazer.

Close up of Oyster Gardening showing baby spat
oyster garden or growing stocker oysters for reef restoration
volunteers growing oysters hanging from piers
Oyster Shell recycling program through the Alabama Coastal Foundation
9.4 million oyster shells recovered from Gulf Coast restaurants