What is an Oyster Roast in the American South? Well, it’s a simple, a casual get-together where people sit and/or stand around outside enjoying roasted oysters. A bonfire is usually provided, and oysters are roasted either on the fire or on a grill. Guests enjoy adult beverages such as bourbon or beer, but a variety of other drinks like sodas and water are provided for non-drinkers and any children that may be attending. These oyster roasts are normally held during the fall and winter when it’s the perfect time to indulge in oysters, hence the old saying “only eat oysters in months ending with R’s”.
This weekend, my girlfriend and I went to an oyster roast with the Titans of the restaurant industry in Roanoke, VA. Our host, Jenni Mika, is a food representative for the restaurant I work for, Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse, and countless other restaurants around downtown Roanoke.
The night began with people trickling into our host’s beautiful backyard. Some of her guests included Charlie Brown (Head chef at Frankie Rowland’s) and his wife, Anaka and I, Ted Polfelt (CEC of Jefferson St. Management Group), his wife, and 3 kids. Other guests included several of the workers from Frankie Rowland’s, the owners of Benny Marconi’s in Roanoke, and several other people whom I did not know but are friends with the host, Jenni.
People mingled around and conversed with each other while eating the appetizers that were prepared for this event. Some of these included fondue dip, chicken tenders, pasta salad, and more. Once everyone had familiarized themselves with each other and spoken for a while, the main attraction, oysters, provided by Rappahannock Oyster Company and Fat Baby Oysters, arrived. The oysters roasted on the grill throughout the night and were available for anyone who wanted to partake of them. Other accouterments were provided to be eaten with the oysters, including crab boiled vegetables: corn, fingerling potatoes and andouille sausage with shrimp. Everyone at the party enjoyed the food and conversation.
After we were done eating and were full, guests gathered around the campfires Jenni had going in her backyard. One on her lower deck in a great big fire pit and one on her upper deck in a propane powered fire ring. For dessert, we roasted s’mores which the kids at the party really loved. Around 7:30, the party started to come to an end as guests bid goodbye to their host one by one.
Oyster Roasts are for people to come together and enjoy each other’s company and have an informal encounter with new acquaintances and old friends alike. I’d like to thank Jenni Mika for having Anaka and I over to her house for this awesome party! It was a great time to be with friends and make some new ones as well!