The 10th annual Austin Oyster Festival was Saturday, February 25, 2023, from noon – 6pm and featured a variety of Gulf and East Coast oysters prepared in nearly every way imaginable – on the half-shell, grilled, roasted, fried, in gumbo, and more! Other non-oyster offerings included Creole BBQ shrimp, Shrimp Po’Boys, and Crispy Spiced Pommes Frites, the beautiful bivalves will be enjoyed with perfect accompaniments. And you know they had some tasty cocktails, too, like the Bloody Mary Bar featuring Bloody Revolution, mineral water by Topo Chico, specialty cocktails by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, as well as craft beers from Altstadt Brewing, seltzer from Blue Northern and Meade by Meridian Hive.
I wanted to check out the festival last year, but the weather ended up being very cold and rainy so we decided to skip out so going this year was an absolute must! Thankfully, my boyfriend was more than willing to check it out with me and it ended up being a great time.
Set in Republic Square [422 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701] in Downtown Austin, you could stroll through and get whatever food tickled your fancy while listening to live music from Chansons et Soulard, The Blue Mist, and The Lost Pines. There were also raffles featuring awesome prizes from local spots including Mongers, Night Cap, Salt Traders, Shore ATX, Bloody Revolution, and more!
Our $70 General Admission tickets included the entrance fee, live entertainment, and 7 festival vouchers (valued at $5 each). Additional $5 vouchers could be purchased inside the festival as needed. We ended up getting an extra $50 worth or so.
The weather ended up being in the mid-60s for the high for the day, which was not too bad at all! It wasn’t windy, thankfully, and was certainly better than cold or rain.
We headed to the bar first, as it was the first thing when you entered and we figured waiting in line with a drink sounded better than without. We opted for the Bloody Mary Royale which had a raw oyster and grilled shrimp in it! They had a variety of toppings to add to your bloody mary, as well. I wish there were pickles but they had pickled okra instead and that was a decent substitute!
The grilled food tent was the next closest one, so we decided to start off with some oysters Rockefeller with spinach and bacon bits on top. I like the spinach Rockefeller best myself, but the super cheesy version is very tasty, as well! We had arrived maybe 10 minutes past noon, so the lines weren’t bad at all. It took us about 2 minutes to get the first round of oysters.
After we had some grilled oysters, we were ready for some raw oysters! We got the option that came with a dozen and then they had other accompaniments you could get as well, like crackers, cocktail sauce, horseradish, vinegar, and more. I think we grabbed one of everything and found a table to sit and enjoy! They were very fresh and still super cold. The horseradish was called atomic horseradish and we quickly found out why – it had some KICK to it!
Next, we decided to try something from the fried tent and ended up with some fried oysters and shrimp and an oyster po’boy. The fried shrimp were super tasty, but the breading was a little thick for my liking on the oysters. It seemed to overpower it. Still good and we still had empty baskets by the time we were done, just a note for next year that I’ll keep in mind. Side note: the fries were REALLY good!
We felt content and pretty full after this round so we decided to check out some of the tents that were set up, which turned out to be a lot of the various beer and wine sponsors with tastings available. We tried some things and finished up our drinks before exploring downtown a little bit and then heading to the Texas Stars game that night. It was a pretty A+ Saturday if you ask me and I definitely plan to go to the 11th Annual Austin Oyster Festival next year!