True Oyster Cult
Oysters, oysters everywhere
There ain’t no party like an oyster party. Just ask the folks at Ella's Bellas Bakery in Beacon, who are bringing back their famous summer oyster shindigs for the third year in a row. Yes, on the first Friday evening of the month, through September, there will be lots of shucking going on out on the pretty back patio as a variety of high-quality raw goodies are served up, alongside custom cocktails.
“When I started these, there really wasn’t any place in Beacon to get high- quality, raw oysters; this was something different,” says owner Carly Hughes. “They’ve become really popular; there are always lines running off the patio.”
Hughes, whose eatery is best-known as a high-end, gluten-free bakery, relies on Kyle Needham of the Brooklyn Oyster Party to supply the freshest harvested oysters and to serve them up, too. “I found Kyle when I was hosting a 40th birthday party and realized I didn’t have time to do it all myself.”
Sensational Seafood Friday night oyster parties at Ella's Bellas in Beacon draw a lively crowd.
Needham usually brings two West Coast oysters and two from the North Atlantic. ($3 each; $16 for half a dozen). Jason Schuler of More Good, the specialty shop across the street, does his part by creating a special craft cocktail menu for each party. “Jason plays bartender those nights too,” says Hughes. “He’s really, really good at playing around with the classics. He will usually have one gin-based drink, one vodka, and one whiskey.”
Flat bread pizzas, cheese plates, and salad will also be available. And Hughes insists that even some people who think they don’t like oysters can be converted. “I’ve seen a few people try them and change their mind. These are high-quality oysters, so they taste better. You never know, even my young daughter likes them.”
Ella’s Bellas, Beacon
Your Own Oyster Occasion?
Kyle Needham’s “attraction to oysters,” started in childhood. “I grew up on the coast of New Hampshire, so I was always around seafood and always eating oysters.” The appeal, he says, is in the simplicity. “It is what it is. Eating an oyster transcends time; the experience often brings you back to a memorable moment in your life.” These days, Needham has made a career out of creating memorable moments for others. Now in its sixth season, the Brooklyn Oyster Party will come to your private or corporate event (or even your wedding) — set everything up, schuck away at record-breaking speed, and clean up when its all done. “I do about 50 or 60 events a year,” says Needham. You can choose what kind of oysters you’d like; Needham offers about 40 different varieties. While favoring mollusks from the North Atlantic, he will happily provide West coast ones too. “West coast oysters are more complex,” he says. They are not as briny, they are sweeter.”
Fresh lobster rolls are also part of the offerings these days. Just like the oysters, the Maine lobster meat is sustainably-sourced. The team makes them fresh on site, even toasting freshly-buttered rolls. And although Needham no longer calls Brooklyn home — he’s a happy Kingston resident now — he has no plans to change the name of his business. And if you don’t feel like hosting a gala at your own house, you’re in luck. Needham will be opening a small plates/oyster bar in midtown Kingston later this year. “It’s going to be nice, really nice,” he says.
Brooklyn Oyster Party, Kingston