Oysters for Xmas


Every family has their Holiday traditions and we are no exception. When December comes along we always plan a Saturday in Manhattan. Our first stop is Macy’s Santaland so our boys can give Santa their Christmas lists. But the next stop is what we really look forward to – The Grand Central Oyster Bar. We kick back with a few dozen oysters, Champagne for grown-ups and Shirley Temples for the kids.

The Oyster Bar is located in Grand Central Station on the lower level and it’s been there since Grand Central Station opened in 1913. It has an amazing art deco design and it’s absolutely huge. For those in the know, there is a back Saloon with great nautical decor and a super cozy vibe. We’ve been going to the Saloon for years, in fact, we’ve never eaten out in there main dining room.

Our two boys, Jacob (11) and Lucas (9) have loved raw oysters for as long as I can remember. They load them up with lemon juice and mignonette and slurp them down like professionals. I’ve never met any other kids who love oysters like these two. They are seafood fanatics and their tastes run on the expensive side – they even love caviar! Fortunately they didn’t notice the caviar sandwich on the menu.

As I was putting this post together yesterday, I read a great story in the paper. An Oyster Bar regular found a pearl in one of his oysters! It’s only happened one other time in the last 25 years. My kids loved hearing that story since they had just been there.


I just love the vintage feel in the signs and decor. It doesn’t feel contrived or too hip. There is a real authentic look to everything that is hard to find these days, even in NYC.  

Lemon juice in the eye – one of the hazards of eating raw oysters….

The ceiling on the inside of the main dining room has a very grand feel with arched, tiled ceilings. They look gorgeous lit up for the holidays. And I’ve always adored these very retro-looking, u-shaped counters. The restaurant has 30 different oysters at any given time, plus anything else you could ever want from a seafood menu. We always get 1/2 of our order with East Coast oysters and the other 1/2 with West Coast. Honestly, we could have have sat there all day!

After lunch we decided to brave the crowds at Rockefeller Center so the kids could check out the tree. It was a complete zoo but still worth it. The boys decided that the star on top of the tree was as big as our living room – I had my doubts but didn’t argue. They could only last for a few minutes and my plans for us to check out the windows across the street at Saks were foiled by tween angst and attitude. But hey – we got in a few hours as a family, ate some great food, got some cute pics and continued our Christmas tradition for another year. All’s well that ends well…

See you soon!

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