The Oysterman Raw Bar + Tavern celebrates its first year in Duxbury.By Melissa Karen Sances | Photography by Kjeld Mahoney
“An oyster’s an interesting thing: it’s a conversation starter,” says Dermot Loftus, the owner of The Oysterman Raw Bar + Tavern in Duxbury. So let’s talk.
On the day of my visit to The Oysterman, at the end of August, business is booming. Patrons are lined up at the bar and fill the tables in the dining room, which has a raw bar at the back. The oyster selection on this day includes Island Creeks from Duxbury, First Encounters from Eastham and Beach Points from Barnstable.
“We work closely with a lot of the local oyster farmers,” says Loftus, sipping a black coffee out on the patio. “The Oysterman is named in honor of all the men and women that work out there on the
farms. It’s a place for both locals and visitors to feel welcome.”
The business is situated in Duxbury’s recently renovated Millbrook Marketplace. Built where the Millbrook train station once stood, parts of the original building help define the new space. Much of the wood is reclaimed and a section of old train track now serves as a foot rail at the bar. Set atop wooden blocks, the track remains in place thanks to its significant weight. “If you can pick it up, you can have it,” Loftus jokes. Don’t let his sense of humor fool you. Whether he’s focusing on the restaurant’s connection to the oyster farming industry, the town’s past, or simply deciding what’s going to be on the menu, Loftus is meticulous.
In addition to raw bar favorites, The Oysterman is known for its surf-and-turf dishes, cocktails and 20 craft beers, of which many are local. Loftus brings me out a sampling of fresh Duxbury oysters from 2 Rock Oyster Farm, a delectable plate of Prince Edward Island mussels cooked in a coconut curry broth, and an impressive eight-ounce filet mignon served over truffled mushroom risotto.
“We do some lovely salmons and seafood pasta dishes and we have a cheeseburger that is to die for,” says Loftus. “It’s kind of funny how people keep coming back for another burger and a beer. I’m like, ‘What about an oyster?’ But that’s the nature of things.”
When Loftus moved to Duxbury three years ago with his wife and two young children, it seemed only natural to get right to work. “You can’t move to Duxbury and not fall in love with oysters,” says Loftus. “And then, you know, we needed a place that fully celebrates them.” With The Oysterman gearing up to mark its first anniversary on October 26, there’s plenty to celebrate.
The Oysterman Raw Bar + Tavern
30 Railroad Avenue, Duxbury