Blue Island Oyster Bar

Ultimate Guide to Dining in Cherry Creek

There's a bit of a dining renaissance going on in this posh neighborhood. 

For a while, the posh area set between University and Colorado boulevards and 1st and 6th avenues, seemed to be in a dining rut with chains joining the scene at a fast pace. The last year, however, brought great changes to the scene and new restaurants that are showing that Cherry Creek is still a top-notch neighborhood for restaurants. The posh neighborhood added a lot of new places with MatsuhisaDeparture, and Quality Italian, being among them. Chef Mary Nguyen added a second (larger) location of Olive & Finch in the 'hood and the team behind the Kitchen restaurant group just launched the stunning Hedge Row.

The neighborhood does not seem to be slowing down. The team from 801 Chophouse group announced that plans to open 801 Fish on the ground floor of the Civica building at 250 Fillmore St. in Cherry Creek North, as BusinessDen first reported.

Blue Island Oyster Bar

This oyster house and seafood emporium is set in a cool modern space that invites lingering at lunch or dinner. Whatever you do, don't miss the chowder.

by Andra Zeppelin  Aug 2, 2017, 10:25am MDT

Blue Island Oyster Bar Welcomes New Exec Chef, Launches Fall Oyster Specials

Blue Island Oyster Bar opened in Cherry Creek just over a year ago, bringing East Coast-style seafood and raw-bar delights to the corner of East Second Avenue and Columbine Street. Concept Restaurants veteran chef DJ Nagle (creator of the signature bacon burger at Humboldt) has been at the helm for the past year, but he's moving on to oversee another one of the company's projects, the trio of Sprucethe Corner Bar and License No. 1 inside the Hotel Boulderado. So last week, Joe Troupe signed on as the new executive chef, which means he gets to oversee more than a month of oyster events coming to Blue Island.

 

Troupe's first Colorado exec position was at Lucky Pie (both the Louisville original and the newer downtown Denver pizzeria), and he was also chef/owner at Amass, which closed in August after a two-year run at a tough Jefferson Park address. The new Blue Island gig marks a return to Cherry Creek for Troupe, who also worked across the street at North Italia prior to going to Lucky Pie and Amass.

The chef and his team are offering several specials this fall to take advantage of the height of oyster season. Now through October 10, oysters Rockefeller are available as a threesome for $9 or a set of five for $15. Then from October 11 through October 20, $12 will land you a bowl of Joe’s Oyster Stew, named for the chef and also available in a small serving for $7. And from October 21 through October 30, the oyster bar will offer a Big Five tasting plate at market price, presenting one each of five edible species of oyster that the restaurant says can only be showcased at this time of year, when all five species are at their peak.

For the next two months, a $2 oyster of the day will also be shucked, and for $30 guests can get a dozen bivalves matched with a bottle of Evolution sparkling wine. And on November 3, Troupe will host his first chef dinner — The Chef, the Shucker, the Farmer & the Brewer — which will bring in land, sea and suds specialists along with beers from Boulder Beer Company. Check the Blue Island website for details and reservations.

by Mark Antonation

Look Inside the New Blue Island Oyster Bar

by Andra Zeppelin

The seafood-centric eatery opened in Cherry Creek on Tuesday. 

Cherry Creek's newest restaurant, Blue Island Oyster Bar, opened its doors to the public earlier this week with a lineup of oysters and other seafood dishes that could make any coastal eatery jealous.

The ocean-inspired interior that can accommodated up to 100 guests was created by Arch11. The local design firm has also worked on the spaces of Oak at Fourteenth, Fate Brewing Company, and Ignite!, among others. With a contemporary vibe, Blue Island Oyster Bar highlights sea-related elements like the mural of oyster divers behind the bar, the wall-size rendering of the Great South Bay lines, and the shell-like light fixtures. 

Blue Island Oyster Bar is open for lunch and dinner daily.

Blue Island Oyster Bar Now Open In Cherry Creek

By Elizabeth Woessner | Online Editor

Serving up Coastal Comfort Food

The much anticipated Blue Island Oyster Bar {2625 East Second Avenue, Denver; 303.333.2462}, a new oyster-centric restaurant from Concept Restaurants—the group behind Humboldt :: Farm Fish Wine—is finally open in Cherry Creek. Inspired by the food found in small New England coastal towns, the 100-seat Blue Island Oyster Bar is a casual, unpretentious, “dock-to-dish” eatery, serving up affordable clam shack favorites.

Sean Huggard, Director of Operations at Concept Restaurants, sums the restaurant up as “a cross between what would happen if an oyster shack was taken over by a chef or a gastropub was taken over by an oysterman.” Here’s a peak at what you can expect to discover at the soon-to-be Cherry Creek favorite.

It’s All About the Oysters

Oysters are front and center here, as is reflected by the raw bar, the décor, the menu, and even the management team. Chris Quartuccio, owner of the renowned Blue Island Shellfish Farm off the coast of New York’s Long Island, is a financial partner and co-owner, making Blue Island Oyster Bar the first oyster farmer-owned Colorado restaurant.

Guests can sit at the oyster bar and interact with the shuckers while slurping down the earthy, toothsome East Coast Naked Cowboys, or the plump, sweet West Coast Shibumi oysters. Quartuccio is responsible for all of the restaurant’s oysters, which he meticulously sources from both coasts. Many of the oysters are exclusive to Blue Island Oyster Bar, flown in daily, and change with the season. In addition to raw oysters served with cocktail sauce and mignonette, guests can enjoy roasted oysters with garlic butter, Parmesan, and Ritz cracker crumbs, or cornflower-crusted fried oysters with Chef DJ Nagle’s housemade tartar sauce.

Inside Blue Island

Touches throughout the space harken to the New England oyster shack theme with modern, sophisticated flair. The entrance wall was designed to mimic the interior of an oyster shell and the restaurant boasts a full-wall nautical rendering of Long Island’s Great South Bay (if you look closely, you can see the submerged Blue Island Oyster baskets just off the coast of Sayville, NY).

The centerpiece of the restaurant is the oyster bar adorned with fresh oysters on ice displayed in traditional shucker’s baskets just waiting to be shucked and slurped. The enormous custom-made ceiling installation floats above the bar and resembles giant wooden oars. The far wall depicts underwater photographs of oyster divers collecting their treasures.

The Menu

Executive Chef DJ Nagle’s menu is inspired by the East Coast beachfront meals of his childhood. The Stuffies are giant clamshells packed with a seafood stuffing of scallops, clams, charred corn, and Linguica sausage—warning: order your own plate, you will not want to share.

The Fried New England Surf Clams are perfect for sharing and are served with Chef Nagle’s housemade tartar sauce. The Clam Pasta is as good a linguine and clams as you can find. Nagle tosses fresh pasta with a generous amount of chopped clams, crushed chile, garlic, white wine, butter, and fresh herbs.

Clamshack cooks throughout New England are known to use Ritz crackers in their crumb toppings and with good reason—they taste delicious. Nagle’s Baked Sea Scallops are served in an individual casserole and topped with a buttery Ritz cracker crumb crust.

The Chef and Shucker—Blue Island Oyster Bar’s version of a charcuterie plate—is a two-tiered dish perfect for sharing with four Blue Island No. 9 oysters, four Long Island Little Neck clams, seafood salad, peel and eat shrimp, artisanal cheese, garlic salami, tuna poke, salmon rillettes, and grilled ciabatta.

Coastal Libations

No one wants to sit by the ocean eating clam shack comfort food without something wet and cold to quench their thirst. The bar team at Blue Island Oyster Bar has put together a simple yet refined beverage program of seven specialty cocktails, nine beers—two of which are brewed exclusively for Blue Island—and a well-curated wine list.

The Diver’s Punch is a deceptively light, beach-pounder of Monopolowa Dry gin, Exotica tequila, and muddled blueberries, fresh lime, and bitters. The Fall Mule is made with St. George spice pear liqueur, Monopolowa vodka, vanilla, ginger, and lemon.

Both of these cocktails are included in the seven $5 cocktail offerings during happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday, 3-6pm. Happy hour also features $4 draft beers, and $6 or $7 wines. Happy hour bites range from $2 for a Blue Island No. 9 oyster to $8 for a Knuckle Sandwich, made with lobster knuckles, of course.

 

 

Seafood and more

By Colleen O'Connor

If you're someone who likes to be first at the new places, head over to  Blue Island Oyster Bar, which opened yesterday in Cherry Creek North. 

It's the creation of Concept Restaurants, the team that's also behind Stout Street Social and  Humboldt Farm, Fish and Wine

Executive chef DJ Nagle created a menu that's got a beach-shack vibe, with such dishes as grilled ahi tuna with snap pea salad, sunflower pesto and wasabi greens, or charred octopus with a chorizo vinaigrette.

For those who aren't in the mood for seafood, there are hearty proteins like the Blue Oyster Bar Burger served with Haystack fries. 

And, of course, a range of tempting salads.

But oysters are a big player in their culinary game, and the restaurant has built a relationship with oyster diver and farmer Chris Quartuccio, whose Blue Island Oyster Co. in New York supplies many of the top restaurants in that city. 

The 100-seat restaurant also has a raw bar with fresh oysters, ceviche, crudo, clams, crab, caviar and lobster.

Blue Island Oyster Bar will be open daily starting at 11 a.m., serving lunch, late afternoon snacks, dinner and late-night eats at the bar. 

Happy hour will be weekdays from 3 to 6 pm.

2625 E. Second Ave. 303-333-2462; blueislandoysterbar.com

Blue Island Oyster Bar Starts Shucking Tonight

by Andra Zeppelin

Cherry Creek North just got groovier with this classic oyster bar. 

"I have wanted to open an oyster bar for a very long time," said manager Sean Huggard, a chef and restaurateur who made Denver his home for the last decade. An East Coaster, Huggard knew that the only way to make the goal a reality and maintain the standards that he grew up with was to partner with someone who had first dibs on great oysters, clams, and more.

Enter Chris Quartuccio, who is not only bringing the goods but also the name of the new restaurant. A Long Island oyster diver and partner at Blue Island Oyster Bar, Quartuccio is the founder of twenty year old Blue Island Oyster Company. His operation is the number one oyster and clam distributor in the New York area and has expanded to restaurants in Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. 

The Cherry Creek North restaurant Huggard, Quartuccio, and their partners created brings the highest quality seafood in a casual and laid-back environment. Chef Dj Nagle, formerly of Humboldt, created a menu that is interesting and approachable, comforting and challenging at the same time. There is something for everyone from burgers to salads, but the highlights center around the classic and modern East Coast comfort food: the stuffie, the chowder, the lobster and crab risotto, and the crispy black cod, among others.

But if you only get the oysters and clams, you will still leave happy. Some nine rotating oysters will be available on a daily basis from the signature Blue Island No. 9, a farmed Long Island briny oyster with a smooth finish, to the well-marketed Naked Cowboy, a meaty wild oyster diver-harvested in the Great South Bay. Another highlight is the Shibumi oyster, a Puget Sound creation grown using tidal tumbling techniques to yield deeply cupped oysters that have a distinctive smoky finish.

The space, created by Arch11, is contemporary and inviting with sea-related elements throughout from the entrance that is meant to remember the interior of an oyster shell. There is an attractive mural of oyster divers behind the bar,  a large rendering of the Great South Bay lines, light fixtures that are reminiscent of the under-water world, and real oyster-harvesting baskets in which the goods are displayed. The dominating oar installation over the bar adds another dimension to the space.

Seating for up to 100 guests varies from banquette tables along the west wall to counter seats around the oyster bar and a posh booth right by the door. The restaurant opens tonight for dinner and will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.