DAYTON EATS: The world is your oyster at these area restaurants

For seafood lovers, March 31 is National Clams on the Half Shell Day, also known as National Oysters on the Half Shell Day.

This celebration is hugely significant on the coasts, honoring the dedication of local aquaculture farmers and celebrating the bounty they provide. According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, it’s an opportunity to savor, appreciate and give back to people who help harvest the bounty from the seas that enriches our lives.

If you are like me and love these briny mollusks, here are a few places locally to plan a proper shell-ebration once restaurants open back up for business post-Easter weekend.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

1. The Silver Slipper

1105 Wayne Ave., Dayton

If I were going to choose my spot of spots to enjoy an oyster in town, I would head directly to Silver Slipper on Wayne Avenue. It handily deals with seafood. If you love oysters (and Champagne), welcome home. This cozy, intimate space serves ice-cold oysters from across the country and, in some cases, around the world. It’s a tiny little destination with a small menu, but that doesn’t take away from flavor the Slipper more than delivers. Something as simple as olives — or bar nuts or what sounds like a relatively straight-forward tuna melt — is elevated to new heights at the Silver Slipper. And the oysters, which can vary week to week in what’s being offered, are worth traveling for.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

2. Jay’s Seafood

225 E. Sixth St., Dayton

Jay’s is a classic and one worth always having on your restaurant rotation. The beautiful space is echoed by the beautiful dishes being served from the kitchen. Jay’s offers all things from the sea, including Blue Point oysters on the half shell from Long Island Sound that are juicy, mild and lovely ($2.75 each, 6 for $16.50). Jay’s also has a fantastic Oysters Rockefeller on the menu that is served hot — topped with fresh spinach and mozzarella cheese ($17.50). This is the perfect stop to get a bounty of seafood small plates and enjoy so many of the flavors and riches our oceans hold.

3. Sea Jax Tavern

5900 Bigger Road, Kettering

If you haven’t been to Sea Jax in a while, today is the day to add it to your list. There’s a reason the restaurant is always hopping and there’s usually a wait: the food is terrific, and they have the service to match. The restaurant offers oysters raw or fried for $3.39 a piece, served with housemade cocktail sauce, lemon and saltine crackers. But if oysters aren’t your thing, Sea Jax also offers a robust, flavorful menu with plenty of seafood and non-seafood options.

4. Club Oceano

4429 Cedar Park Drive, Beavercreek

This is a restaurant that specializes in gifts from Poseidon. It has Oysters Rockefeller ($26) baked with cheese spinach, herbs and Bearnaise sauce, but better yet the restaurant has a raw bar with oysters ($20 for a half dozen and $29 for a dozen). If you are going all out, they have a seafood tower ($120) with two lobster tails and shrimp, black peppered seared ahi tuna, jumbo lump crab and oysters. If you want the deal of the week, head to Club Oceano on Mondays where they offer $1 an oyster special all day long. And if you love brunch, like so many of us do, the restaurant is open with a special menu serving breakfast — including a wonderful crab benedict ($23) — every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

5. Fleming’s

4432 Walnut St., Beavercreek

These are some of the most expensive oysters in town at $25 for six or $49 for a dozen. But they are flown in daily, so that detail adds to the bill. Served with a housemade mignonette, they were delicious when I last enjoyed them. Fleming’s isn’t someplace I visit often, reserving it for a few times a year, but I always enjoy the atmosphere and the food when I do make it over. The lobster bisque ($19) with a good glass of wine is a great stop to make if you are shopping and looking for a decadent break.

Shop for oysters

To get your seafood hook, line and sinker like I do routinely to enjoy at home, head to Foremost Seafood ( just as so many local restaurants do. Place your order and ask them to be shucked for you.

On Fridays, Whole Foods has a terrific deal — 12 oysters for $12 every Friday for Amazon Prime members, and they will also shuck them for you. And Dorothy Lane Market will also happily take care of your oyster needs. Their East Coast oysters are $2 each. While you are there grab a bottle of bubbly, load up on some sides and head to the grocery store dining area for a spontaneous date night.

Jimmy Buffet once sang, “Give me oysters and beer, for dinner every day of the year, and I’ll be fine.” Maybe not every day and I’d sub the beer for a good Champagne, but he has the right idea.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look? Email Alexis Larsen at with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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