Tide-to-Table at The Darling Oyster Bar

By: TLP's Partners

Derick Wade, executive chef at The Darling Oyster Bar in Charleston, South Carolina, shares his take on sustainable oyster practices.

Fresh seafood and quintessential southern hospitality live in harmonious unison in the Lowcountry, home of The Darling Oyster Bar of Charleston, SC, and the forthcoming sister restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. In his kitchens, executive chef Derick Wade exemplifies quality, local sourcing, only utilizing the finest and most sustainably sourced seafood selections year-round from the Lowcountry and beyond.

DarlingCatering Andrew Cebulka

What is sustainable oystering, anyway?

According to chef Derick Wade, sustainability is the avoidance of the complete depletion of a natural resource. As it pertains to the wild oystering industry, you must make a conscious effort to work with oyster farmers who leave enough oysters during harvesting to ensure the future integrity of the marine ecosystem so they can continue to reproduce small oysters, or spat, for seasons to come.

Sustainability and The Darling Oyster Bar

“Thanks to The Darling Oyster Bar and its commitment to sustainability, I have been given the unique opportunity to cultivate a hands-on relationship with local and regional oyster farmers, become increasingly involved with Oyster South, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization and their annual Oyster South Symposium and Landlocked events, and work alongside the Department of Natural Resources by recycling oyster shells after each service to exceed our dedication to sustainability,” says Wade. “It makes me happy to know that not only are our guests satisfied with a delicious meal, but that we are also making a difference that reaches far beyond these four walls. It’s something I intend to continue in Savannah when we open.”

A plate of fresh oysters on ice with sauce at The Darling Oyster Bar in Charleston, South Carolina.

What is the “R-rule” and what does this mean for the consumer?

The ominous “R-rule,” which many swear by to signify the ideal months to consume fresh oysters, is a thing of the past at The Darling Oyster Bar.

“Eating shellfish during the months with an ‘r’ in them mainly refers to wild oyster harvesting”

Derick Wade, executive chef at The Darling Oyster Bar

The Darling Oyster Bar is consistently conscious of the farms and regions it partners with, including but not limited to personally visiting the oyster farms to see their practices first-hand, solely to ensure that the freshest product is being delivered to the restaurant, no matter the month. Pro tip: Check the ‘Raw Bar and Oyster’ board at the front of the Charleston restaurant to see the current selections of Raw Bar offerings, most of which change daily.

Visit The Darling Oyster Bar

The Darling Oyster Bar is open Monday-Thursday from 4 PM – 10 PM, Friday and Saturday from 4 PM – 11 PM, and Sundays from 11 AM – 10 PM. Grab a stool at the 12-seat raw bar fronting King Street, settle into a table full of deliciousness, or perch beside the full-service bar for happy hour. The Savannah location is forthcoming and hours of operation will be announced soon.

Reservations at The Oyster Bar in Charleston can be made on OpenTable.

The Darling Andrew Cebulka

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