Lee & Ricks Oyster Bar – 5621 Old Winter Garden Road Florida.
Some of our team here at the Orlando Food Critic have been dining at Lee & Ricks Oyster Bar since their college days, so when we were deciding on where to review next, this one was a no brainer.
Lee & Rick’s opened in 1950, located just minutes from downtown Orlando on Old Winter Garden Road, and has been an Orlando institution for over 65 years, Lee and Rick’s is the only authentic oyster bar and the first restaurant of its kind to be opened in Central Florida.
As they proudly relate in their history, the restaurant started out as a nine stool establishment which only served oysters, Rick, being a sailor had seen Oyster Bars in his travels around the coast of Florida and especially in the Panhandle where he had shucked oysters as a child. The restaurant was an instant success and just through word of mouth, the best form of advertisement.
Today they have a massive 80-foot-long shucking bar and ample seating for up to 50 guests and have expanded the menu to include Crab, Crawfish, Clams, Shrimp and other seafood delights.
The interior is as you would expect, with the minimum of theming, tiled floors and few nautical and fishing artifacts to adorn the walls, but you are not here for the décor you want Oysters!
Lee & Ricks is not signature or high end dining, but this experience is pure “Food Theater “as oysters are individually shucked for your entertainment and enjoyment, patrons can belly up to the concrete bar to enjoy fresh oysters shucked to order. And that’s a big part of the experience – spending time with the experienced and friendly servers as they shuck and serve up each oyster one at a time right on the bar. They will place a sleeve of saltines, cocktail sauce, lemon and horseradish on the counter for diners to customize their oysters. Or order them steamed with melted butter if you don’t want to go raw. Either way, you’ll slide your empty shells into the trough on the opposite side of the bar. Add of a cold beer and selections from the juke box and you’ll be transported to and image of the Florida Panhandle’s original seafood bars overlooking the Gulf oyster beds.
Service is knowledgeable and friendly, in fact you will spend more time with your “Shucker” than you would normally expect from regular waiting staff, and this friendly personalized service has been a key to the longevity of the restaurant
I found the “Stand Out” dishes to be:
Duh!! Oysters – Some of the freshest and best quality I have tasted anywhere, for any price.
Insider tips for Lee & Ricks:
At the time of this review arrive before 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and get $5.00 off the price of a bucket of oysters (ample for sharing!) Check with restaurant to confirm.
Table seating and a full seafood menu is available, including peel and eat shrimp, fried fish and even chicken and corn dogs for the land lubbers.
Please read Health Facts Regarding consumption of Raw food
So don’t be deterred by the windowless exterior and slightly worn interior – Lee and Rick’s is not only one of the cleanest establishments in town, but offers the best value for fresh seafood in Central Florida.