The Maryland oyster industry has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can help by joining the Annapolis Oyster Fest, running March 1 through March 21.
“This is the first year,” Erik Evans of the Annapolis Downtown Partnership told WTOP. “Our watermen have been hurting, so we wanted to help the Maryland oyster industry and help our local restaurants and local breweries, so we threw an event together.”
While Maryland is best known for its crabs, the local oysters are also delicious.
“Everyone has their favorite, whether they like them raw, in a stew, grilled or fried,” Evans said. “Not only are they great to eat, but eating oysters helps us have the shells left over to recycle to plant new oyster beds to help restore the bay. With restaurants closed, a lot of people don’t like to shuck their own, so oyster shells have dropped.”
Participating restaurants include:
- Annapolis Market House
- Boatyard Bar and Grill
- Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs
- Federal House Bar and Grille
- Latitude 38 Waterfront Annapolis
- Luna Blu Ristorante Italiano
- McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar
- O’Brien’s Oyster Bar
- Sailor Oyster Bar
- Sam’s on the Waterfront
- Severn Inn
“You’ll be able to pick your favorite place that you already enjoy or try some place new,” Evans said. “You can get your raw oysters, your fried oysters, your oyster po’boy, your oyster Rockefeller, your oyster shooters. You can go to an upscale restaurant or you can go to a casual bar. There’s a little something for everybody.”
What are some of the scrumptious specials?
“We’ll have oysters starting at 50 cents; several places have local oysters for a $1 or $2 each,” Evans said. “Then there’s some fun sandwiches like the BOLT sandwich, which is bacon-fried oysters, lettuce, tomato, spicy remoulade sauce and a side of fries. Or, Luna Blu has baked oysters with leeks, Parmesan, bacon and a dash of cayenne.”
There’s even a free oyster giveaway.
“Anyone who posts a picture on Facebook or Instagram and tags Annapolis Oyster Fest with themselves and oysters will be entered into a chance to win some oysters,” Evans said. “We’re going to give away 100 dozen oysters in the month of March.”
In addition to the food specials, you can also enjoy various libations.
“Eastern Shore Brewing is one of our partners that makes beer here in Maryland, so we’re helping them out,” Evans said. “All of the restaurants will be featuring their beer. You can dine in or take the oysters and beer to go if you’re not comfortable dining in.”
After the oyster fest, Annapolis Restaurant Week returns March 20 to March 28.
“We’ll have almost 40 restaurants participating with dine-in and to-go specials, liquor to-go specials, breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Evans said. “The most popular week to eat out in Annapolis is during Annapolis Restaurant Week.”