Shaw's Crab House a beacon for shucking oysters

October 12, 2013 (CHICAGO)

"Every night, in both of our restaurants, we have slurping contests, live music, oyster food specials," said Shaw's GM Bill Nevruz.

So much more than just raw on the half shell, but also cooked, like a decadent Oyster Rockefeller with spinach and onions, and a creamy bechamel sauce. There's also going to be oyster rolls, fish tacos and fried shrimp, just in case you don't want to slurp 'em raw. But the source of those oysters has always been a priority for Shaw's seafood buyers.

"Where you get the oyster from and who you get it from is probably the most important thing," said Nevruz.

As for the raw ones, I prefer the West Coast for their briny sweetness, but champion shucker Luis Pedroca prefers the East.

"The East coast more easy to open; West coast more hard," said Pedroca.

Trend or no trend, no matter which coast you choose, it's clear these gnarly mollusks are here to stay.

"Modern technology, airports, it's helped to get oysters where they need to go a lot faster, so they're more readily available. And I think oysters have made a comeback," said Nevruz.

The Oyster Festival begins on Monday the 14th, runs through the 18th at both the downtown Shaw's as well as in Schaumburg. However, the big block party on the 18th only happens downtown, in the big parking lot at the corner of Illinois and Rush. Happy slurping.

Buddy Guy will be performing at that big block party next Friday. There will also be an oyster slurping contest.

Shaw's Crab House
Royster with the Oyster
Oct. 14 - 18 at both locations:

21 E. Hubbard
(only this location has the block party on Oct. 18, including live music)

1900 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg

Half-priced oysters on the half shell all week long. This oyster special, featuring an East and West Coast variety will take place in the Oyster Bar at both lunch and dinner.

For the remainder of Oyster Fest Week at both Shaw's locations, diners can enjoy fresh, cold-water oysters at reduced prices-$7/half dozen or $14/dozen. Shaw's will feature hot oyster dishes as well, including Fried Oysters, Oyster Po' Boys, Oysters Rockefeller and baked oyster dishes.

The nightly Slurp-Off during Oyster Fest week invites participants to slurp down a dozen oysters as fast as they can, hands-free, with the goal to advance to Friday's Grand Slurp-Off at the Oyster Fest Block Party for their chance to win a grand prize of $1,000. The Grand Slurp-Off will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2013.

Block Party:

Friday, October 18, 2013 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and will be located in the parking lot on Rush Street between Hubbard and Illinois streets, just one block east of Shaw's Chicago. This annual bash ($30 entry fee with a portion going to the Shedd Aquarium and the Special Oympics) offers attendees the chance to enjoy the freshest oysters on the half shell and boat-loads of delicious food provided by Shaw's Crab House, ice cold beer from Goose Island, wine from Martin Codax and Bridlewood, Mike's Hard Lemonade and live music (tickets are for admission only; food and beverage tickets are sold separately; the Oyster Fest Block Party is cash only and ATMs will be available at the venue).

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