A Legend Returns: Original Oyster House, Mobile, Alabama
Originally Posted by Well Fed on the Town on July 23, 2007.
In 1985 a new restaurant opened for business on the causeway that traverses Mobile Bay connecting the port city of Mobile, Alabama, from its affluent suburbs in Baldwin county. That restaurant is now world famous. It was the ironically named Original Oyster House. Why is the name ironic? Because it was neither the “original” oyster house in the Mobile market (Wintzell‘s opened in 193 nor the “original” restaurant run by its owners (the original “Original Oyster House” opened in Gulf Shores, Alabama, in 1983).
Fast forward two decades and the Original Oyster House was known far and wide for their fantastic seafood and “mix it yourself” cocktail sauce. Every musical act that visited Mobile made a point of visiting there. Likewise with the plethora of NFL coaches and players that invade the Azalea City each year for the Senior Bowl. Even the occasional B-list Hollywood star like Steven Segal had found their way to the two-story restaurant overlooking the bay.
And why wouldn’t they? The OOH was famous for their award winning seafood gumbo. Accordingly its location on the Mobile/Baldwin County line made it the perfect meeting places for friends and family that lived on either side of the bay. If you live in the area long enough you will eventually have a birthday party there, a fact as sure as death and taxes.
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast causing flooding to the west in New Orleans and to the East in Mobile. A 12 foot storm surge ravaged downtown Mobile and the adjacent causeway. The surge all but eradicated the first floor of the restaurant leaving only enough structural support to keep the second story from falling through. The building was a total loss.
On November 1, 2005 the new Original Oyster House opened just a mile or so down the Causeway from its predecessor, in the building that formerly housed the Cock of the Walk catfish restaurant. This newest incarnation was built completely off the ground. The owners were able to relocate everything including their commitment to excellence as they have now won 1st place in the Mobile Register’s annual Readers’ Choice awards in five different categories for the fourth straight year.
As for the old location – it is has been refurbished and currently holds Oysterella’s Oyster Bar. Sure the name is wacky but the food is adventuresome and half the visitors to town won’t even know it is not the same place that ate at all those many years ago.
Original Oyster House
3733 Battleship Parkway
Stuart Reb Donald