How it All Started
Twelve years ago there was a moment in time that every mother remembers. The son, a University of South Carolina business school graduate in a white collar job, turned to his mother and declared that he wanted to open an Oyster Bar. Just like that. No experience, not a day of working in a restaurant (besides a little bartending in college). The son traveled to his hometown of Williamston, North Carolina to consult with the owners of Sunnyside Oyster Bar. The son and the mother had grown up in this little town, famous for this eating establishment that has now been there for over 75 years. Sunnyside's concept was simple: patrons gathered around a bar, the shuckers shucking raw and steamed oysters and that was that. Lots of fun, no frills. They eventually added steamed shrimp to the menu and went from brown bagging to a beer license. At the Oyster Bar we decided to have ours right from the start.
Today, once a week, a giant silver truck pulls up in the middle of Park Street at a random time of day or night and out steps Big John with giant 110 lb burlap bags of fresh oysters. He is very proud of this cargo and is always smiling when he carts those fresh oysters through the front door. The doors opened officially in October 2001.
The menu began simply: oysters and shrimp. The cocktail sauce, now famous in its own right, is made fresh daily with it's own little twist - it's served warm. Today that brief menu has expanded to include scallops, crawfish, crablegs, and clams coupled with comfort foods such as Adluh Grits smothered with shrimp, cheese and bacon, in addition to a variety of soups.
The son's dream became a reality. His idea has grown into an iconic venue in Columbia's Historic Vista. Guests can always find local "shuckers" behind the bar to take care of their seafood needs and the mother always up front greeting with a smile—you can call her the 'Mother Shucker.' Every night the food is fresh, the sauce is warm, the butter is melted and the drinks are cold! John, the son, thanks you for helping his dream become reality and welcomes you to "The Pearl of the Vista."