Attention seafood fans— a new dining locale has arrived in Lone Tree to serve up a wide array of coastal grub — and its prize offering is fresh oysters shucked on site by the thousands.
Blue Island Oyster Bar and Seafood is co-owned by Chris Quartuccio, who owns Blue Island Oyster Company in New York, and Denver-resident Sean Huggard. Quartuccio is a shellfish diver and farmer while Huggard is a professional shucker and oyster buyer.
The business has expanded from its Cherry Creek location into Lone Tree, with an eye on the new spot’s ample parking space and saving customers in the southern suburbs a drive to Denver.
The restaurant, located at 10008 Commons St., will staff about 70 people and can seat up to 200 diners inside, plus another 50 on the patio. Its grand opening was scheduled for Jan. 17.
The Lone Tree location strives to immerse people in a modern New England atmosphere filled with vintage inspiration. Décor includes nautical maps that pinpoint the location of the company’s east coast operations.
Much of the oyster served up to diners are sourced from the company’s oyster farm and hatchery in Long Island, although the seafood comes from both coasts and across the globe.
“When I designed the space, I really wanted for it to be like a choose your own adventure,” Huggard said.
There’s a cocktail bar, a patio, a casual dining space near the bar, intimate booths near the back and a more formal dining area, all aimed at catering to whatever a customer’s mood of the day is.
“Front and center, a beautiful oyster bar,” Huggard said, standing in front of the restaurant’s main entrance. “They are shucked right in front of you.”
Between 30,000 and 50,000 oysters will be shucked at the Lone Tree location each week.
Huggard can passionately talk through the five oyster varieties, where the varieties originate, where they’ve been relocated and grown, the intricacies in each variety’s shell and how it all comes together to deliver different flavors.
Huggard said the restaurant isn’t just for people who love seafood. The menu includes everything from burgers to salad to steak, although his personal favorite is still on brand: the fried clams and clam chowder.
“We don’t just serve oysters,” he said. “We’re a full-service restaurant.”