Last year you’ll recall I was a judge for the Oyster House Shucking Contest, and if you were there you’ll remember I was getting Sigourney Weaver sightings at Rittenhouse Square and was giving minute by minute details on her whereabouts. Wow a year goes by quick. If you like fun, fast competitions, head on over to the Oyster House today:
PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Saturday, April 6 beginning at 2 p.m., popular raw bar and restaurant Oyster House (1516 Sansom Street, 215-567-7683) will host their fourth-annual Shucking Contest, featuring professional oyster shuckers from across Philadelphia competing for a $200 Grand Prize.  An amateur shucking contest will follow the professionals, with guests hoping to earn a $100 Oyster House Gift Certificate.  Admission to the shucking contest is $5 per person, and includes all the varieties of the shucked oysters.  Oyster House’s bar will be open on a pay-as-you-go basis and bartender will also tap a special firkin of a local craft beer.
“Oyster shucking is an art, and those who do it well rightly take pride in their ability,” says proprietor and third-generation restaurateur Sam Mink, who ate his first oyster at age five.  “Our shucking contest gets bigger and better every year; we are proud to host these talented professional and amateur shuckers, and we can’t wait to see who takes home the prize – and the bragging rights – this year!”
The professional shuckers, including competitors from Oyster House and others from renowned Philadelphia-area seafood houses, will be judged by Danya Henninger of Zagat Philadelphia, Marisa Magnatta of WMMR’s “Preston & Steve Show,” and Joey Sweeney of Philebrity on their speed and accuracy as they shuck their way through two dozen oysters, working in heats of three shuckers at a time.  A one-second deduction will be made to each shucker’s overall time for each broken shell or ripped oyster.  After a winner is crowned, amateur shuckers will face the same guidelines, working on one dozen oysters each for a chance to win a $100 Oyster House gift certificate.  Onlookers can enjoy the fruits of the competitors’ labors; the oysters will be passed out to the crowd after each heat.
Mink grew up in his father’s Sansom Street Oyster
House, itself the offshoot of Kelly’s on Mole Street, operated by Sam’s
grandfather beginning in 1947.  Mink’s talent for sourcing the best
available oysters comes into play each day, when
he negotiates with his vendors for the day’s catch.  He is dedicated to
supporting smaller, boutique oyster farmers –
specifically, those who grow their crop responsibly and with an eye
towards retaining the original character of a given region or species.
Since opening in May of 2009, Oyster House has received rave reviews.  Philadelphia Weekly gushed that “at the sparkling new Oyster House, Sam Mink revives his family’s legend,” while City Paper raved “Sansom Street’s Oyster House is back in sure hands.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer Craig LaBan said, “Back
now with its original caretakers, the Mink family, third-generation
owner Sam Mink has recast it boldly into modern form, from decor changes
to draw energy and a youthful crowd, to a bright young staff that knows
its oysters, a quality cocktail bar, beer and
wine list, and a kitchen that updates the classics with seasonal
ingredients and a lighter touch.”

House is open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until 10
p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.  Lunch is served Monday
through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  A limited menu is served
between lunch and dinner.  Saturday Brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to
3 p.m.  For more information, or to make a reservation for groups of
five or more, please call (215) 567-7683 or visit and follow them on Twitter @PHLoysterhouse.