An oyster's hard shell protects its vulnerable interior and keeps neighboring oysters from overhearing it playing heated games of Pictionary with its pearl. Sample shellfish with this Groupon.
Choose Between Two Options
- $10 for 20 kumamoto oysters (a $20 value)
- $19 for 40 kumamoto oysters (a $40 value)
The Jolly Oyster's stand is located on San Buenaventura State Beach. Groupon buyers can either take advantage of free 20-minute parking to pick up their unshucked oysters and take them home, or else pay the $5 state-park fee to stay and enjoy the park. There are grills on the beach, and visitors can purchase oyster knives for $5 at the stand, as well as everything they'll need to barbecue. However, the staff recommends visitors arrive prepared with clean cloths or gloves for shucking the oysters, along with charcoal, limes, sauces, and whatever else they'll need. The park allows visitors to bring in their own beer and soda, and many customers create full-fledged picnics to accompany the fresh oysters.
Though The Jolly Oyster sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
The Jolly Oyster
Visitors relax on the sands of San Buenaventura State Beach, tossing batches of kumamoto and pacific oysters or manila clams atop charcoal grills. There's a trailer nearby where others line up for the organic, sustainably farmed clams and oysters. Home-brought beer, wine, and soft drinks are held aloft for toasts in the sunshine. It's a unique spot, where people enjoy the simple joy of ultra-fresh seafood, shucked and cooked themselves—but the journey to The Jolly Oyster had its share of hardships.
In 1997, Mark Reynolds and Mark Venus founded the Baja Oyster Company in Baja California, Mexico. "We had visions that it would be easy," Venus confessed during a documentary about the business, directed by Graham Streeter. "We thought that, you got a shellfish, you have your seed, you plant it in the water, and two years later, you take it out and you start making money, and things grow from there." He shakes his head. "It's not quite that simple…It's been a long road." The whole process can take 18–24 months, from producing the larvae, which change into seed and are planted out on the underwater farm's system of boxes and crates, to the final oysters. And it's a finicky process. "You have to be careful all the time," he says. "It takes a lot of care, and the people who work these systems have to understand that one slip-up for one minute of the day can mean that millions of these animals will die in the hatchery."
Though they ship some oysters and clams off wholesale, Reynolds and Venus also sell them straight to the public and even watch them get slurped down with hot sauce on the beach. Some people take advantage of the 20-minute free parking spaces and take their purchases elsewhere, but the grills stand ready for those who pay the state-park fee to relax on San Buenaventura State Beach, where The Jolly Oyster trailer sits. People bring their own oyster knives, charcoal, limes, and hot sauces or purchase them from the stand or hoards of traveling oyster-knife salesmen.
Best shellfish in town--period.Vincent K., Yelp, 4/29/12
This place is for serious oyster lovers! We went here last Saturday and had the best time eating and shucking fresh and grilled oysters.Chubb P., Yelp, 8/22/12
San Buenaventura (Ventura)
911 San Pedro St.
Ventura, California 93001