If you’re an oyster lover, you’ll find the Charleston area to be a pearl among foodie destinations. Not only can you enjoy oysters myriad ways, but you can get them year-round. Really. While the season for harvesting them wild for oyster roasts and such lasts from October to May, local oyster farms are increasingly employing modern, sustainable practices that make eating South Carolina’s sweet, succulent oysters a year-round treat.
When you see these oysters on the chalkboard of a local restaurant, order up a dozen or more with confidence that you’re getting a fresh product grown in the most pristine SC waters by skilled mariculturists. These half-shell “singles” begin their journey to the plate in area hatcheries before being relocated to natural creeks where they thrive and grow to maturity under the watchful eye of dedicated oyster farmers. This results in easy-to-separate singles—the preference of raw bars—rather than the chiseled, crusty clusters often favored for roasting.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the oyster-farming process than can be detailed here. That’s okay. All you need to do is look for “SC” next to the oyster name on the restaurant’s lineup of daily offerings. Here are a few of our most notable aquatic farms and the names of the oysters they grow.
Barrier Island Oysters
Oyster: Sea Clouds
Charleston Oyster Company
Oysters: Bulls Bay Blades, Eagle Points
Charleston Oyster Farm
Oysters: Perky Sea Cups, Mosquito Fleet Petites
Lady’s Island Oyster Inc.
Oyster: Single Ladies
Lowcountry Oyster Company
Oyster: Lowcountry Cups
Toogoodoo Oyster Company
Ready to crush a platter or tower of South Carolina singles? You’ll find them in the best oyster bars and seafood restaurants along the coast, including the Charleston-area where droves of aficionados seek them out. Here are 12 establishments where local single oysters regularly make the menu board. Call ahead to check availability.