You can find the Royal Oyster Bar sitting just below the southbound lane of Gulf Shores Parkway (aka Hwy 59) on the edge of the Little Lagoon. Go a few hundred yards farther south, and you’ll end up at its much larger neighbor. Both specialize in oysters, but they offer very different experiences.
The Royal is small. Its got that beachy, dive, “I discovered it,” feel that so many travelers love. Except when it’s jam-packed, this is a good thing. Then, you might find yourself waiting for a table. But, that’s true of nearly every area restaurant during ‘the season.’ Go when it isn’t busy, and you’ll come away thinking the place is run by friends rather than ‘staff.’ You won’t be far off.
Area residents David Thompson and Marissa Wilkins opened the Royal Oyster Bar in the spring of 2017. Early on, they began purchasing oysters from Lew Childre, a mechanical engineer who started farming oysters on the Bon Secour Bay just a year earlier. By 2019, Childre’s Shellbank Selects along with the Royal Oyster found their way into a Forbes.com article about preserving Gulf coast oysters.
The Royal Oyster doesn’t limit itself to regional harvests. They also offer fresh boutique oysters from around the U.S. and Canada. The chef, Tim Hensley, competed in both the 2018 Hangout Oyster Cookoff and Pensacola Peat and Pearl events. He’s got some creative ideas when it comes to toppings that you won’t run into elsewhere. Try a flight of six oysters, and you’ll find truffle oil and shiitake mushrooms, Chipotle honey butter, creamed spinach, ginger, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon waking up your tastebuds.
If you don’t love oysters, there’s more on the menu. The Royal offers burgers and other dishes, including coconut curry crab claws, shrimp Yakamien, and fried Brussels in Ponzu sauce. The bar has some surprises as well. Their take on the Bushwacker and other creations such as a Pumpkin Pie Martini alone may make the Royal Oyster Bar worth finding.
Our favs: Chipolte Bourbon baked oysters, Shrimp Yakamein, and Delta Slaw
Tips for visiting The Royal Oyster Bar
- The food is delivered when its ready. If your friends order items that take longer to prepare you might not be served at the same time.
- Rustic doesn’t mean cheap. Check the pricing on the menu so you’ll know what to expect.
- Be prepared to eat outside since indoor seating is limited.
- The entrance is shared with David’s Gallery. It’ll be easier to turn in if you approach from the southbound lane of Gulf Shores Highway.
- Haven’t tried it, but they do show delivery is available via Gulf to Go