by Kate Strassel
For years, people have been enjoying award-winning Island Creek Oysters at Boston restaurants Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 (both owned by ICO), Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in California, and even at the White House. So it was high time, ICO founder and owner Skip Bennett decided, to return to ICO’s roots and open a storefront in the community where his dream was first realized in 1992: Duxbury. “For a long time, Island Creeks were shipped all over the country, and we had no reliable way of getting our local fans and neighbors, who have been so supportive of us over the years, access to our oysters,” says Skip. ICO’s retail store opened in December of 2013, much to the delight of the locals. “We were completely overwhelmed by the community’s immense response to the opening over the holidays,” Skip recalls. “We can’t wait for summer!”
In addition to their famous oysters, the ICO retail location will offer razor and littleneck clams and seasonal items such as wild sea beans (a sea vegetable that looks like a cross between asparagus and a cactus) and Nantucket Bay scallops. Oysters are $1.25 per oyster up to a dozen, $60 for a 50-count bag, and $100 for a 100-count bag and can be purchased online for pickup at the store—or you can drop in to see what’s available that day.
For those who have never tried oysters, an Island Creek oyster is the perfect introduction to the bivalve. They are classically briny but with “a sweet, buttery finish,” as Skip describes them. If you’re deterred by the thought of oyster shucking, never fear: Skip and the friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff at ICO are more than happy to give you pointers. Skip notes: “Oyster shucking is one of those sneaky life skills that you’ll be glad you have when the moment calls for it!”
Island Creek Oysters Retail Store
296 Parks Street
Duxbury, MA 02332
Kate Strassel is the Membership Services Director at the Old Colony YMCA in East Bridgewater and a freelance food writer. Although she has never shucked an oyster herself, she has eaten many and prefers them on the half shell.