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Bar George's driveway oysters turn takeout into dinner and a show

Oysters in Tow

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After seeing the need to provide an interactive takeout experience, Bar George executive chef Alex Lira came up with the idea to deliver and shuck oysters in customers' driveways. Weeks later, the Bar George crew is rolling up to 30 or more houses each week in a 1982 Dodge Rampage with a tub filled with ice and fresh bivalves.

After opening at the end of May, the James Island restaurant decided to temporarily close its doors for dine-in services as COVID-19 cases continued to climb. "We knew that we didn't feel comfortable creating an initial identity during the crisis we are in, but we need to get rent paid," Lira said. "I've also been trying to justify buying that truck for two years now rather than just taking surfboards to Folly."

The truck, a Dodge Rampage spray painted with the word "Oysters," is definitely being put to good use. Six days a week, Lira and his team load up two 1940s-era Hungarian bath tubs with ice before setting up shop in driveways or shaded areas nearby customers' houses to shuck and serve the oysters.

Oysters are served out of two 1940s-era Hungarian bathtubs - RUTA SMITH
  • Ruta Smith
  • Oysters are served out of two 1940s-era Hungarian bathtubs

The oysters are from Island Creek out of Duxbury, Mass., and guests can customize their experience by adding toppers like California white sturgeon caviar and smoked trout roe. They are unable to serve hot dishes, but Lira said they're making other raw bar favorites like ceviche and lobster roll sliders.

For beverages, bar manager Joey Goetz will bring the ingredients for some of their inventive cocktails, minus the booze. Goetz will also help customers decide which brands of liquor to pick up prior to the event.

The Bar George team is welcoming unexpected turns in the current takeout-driven era as best they can.

"It's definitely not catering but it's a good way to see people in their element," Lira said. "It's not a premise for a Fortune 500 company, but it's a way for us to stay relevant."

To order driveway oysters, send Bar George a message on Instagram @bargeorgechs. Customers must purchase a minimum of two dozen oysters, and Lira suggests that people order a week or two in advance.

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