The month of November has Thanksgiving and Veteran's Day and now it has oysters.
For oysters lovers, Clyde's on Beauregard Street in Alexandria is the place to go for a variety that will certainly tempt every palate out there.
On any given day, the oyster bar at Clyde's features about six different types of oysters. Clyde's only obtains one of those locally.
"You want to get oysters that have been grown in relatively clean water," said Tom Meyer, the vice president of Clyde's Restaurants. "Oysters are filters. They filter eight to ten gallons of water each hour so, if the water is dirty, the oyster is going to be dirty. We are very strict about quality because oysters that contain bacteria are very bad."
The oysters that are locally grown come from Matthews County, Va., and are called New Point Comforts. "Our supplier grows them off the back of his house and they are the perfect size and are very mild because they are grown in brackish water. Because they are not grown in the salty water of the ocean, they have a much milder flavor and are a good oyster to introduce people to," Meyer said.
Clyde's obtains other oysters from Massachusetts and some from as far away as the west coast. The price stays relatively constant at $8.95 for a half dozen and $16.95 for a dozen.
"We pay about 75 cents per oyster so the mark up, in restaurant terms, is not so high. The oyster bar is not really a profit center but we have it because there is a group of people who love oysters and know that they can come to Clyde's for a quality product."
EACH NOVEMBER, Clyde's holds an Oyster Riot at the Old Ebbett Grill in Washington. "We serve 22 different varieties of oysters, hot and cold and 10 champion wines that have been judged as the best wines to serve with oysters for that year," Meyer said. "We used to hold the event on only one evening but because it was so popular, we have added a night.î
This year's event will be held on Nov. 21 and 22. Tickets are $75 and can be obtained by going to Clydes.com.
Clyde's is involved in many charitable causes. On Oct. 27, celebrity wait staff served guests to a lobster dinner, with tips going to the Alexandria Symphony.
"Our corporate philosophy is that each local restaurant should be involved in its community," Meyer said. "Each restaurant makes those decisions as events arise. We were asked to help out by feeding the first responders at the Pentagon and we were happy to do that. That has evolved into a dinner for firefighters that we hold in the parking lot with a very nice menu and a great band. We are here not just to take but to give back to our customers. That's what it's all about."