Located on the not-so-hidden corner of Kirkman Road and Old Winter Garden Road, Lee & Rick’s Oyster Bar and Seafood House has been serving fresh Florida fish and oysters on the half shell since 1950. Lee & Ricks is a comfortable, no-frills kind of place. The main entrance to the restaurant is lined with dozens of vintage photos that span back to this eatery’s opening day. The front façade of the restaurant mimics a red and white barge, and this place is the home of one of the longest oyster bars I know of in Central Florida. I prefer my fish steamed, fried, or broiled, but Adam loves the taste of freshly shucked oysters, so we sidled up to the raw bar.
The raw bar at Lee & Rick’s is slanted so the attendants can chuck oysters and sweep empty shells into a reservoir for easy clean up. Napkin dispensers hung above the bar for maximum oyster shucking room, and on the bar itself were bottles of ketchup, hot sauce, lemon juice, and cocktail sauce. There was also a basket of crackers to cut through the salinity after eating too many oysters.
Adam ordered an Oyster Bucket ($18.95) and I went with a Fried Seafood Combination Platter ($16.95). One of the very talented bar attendants immediately started shucking oysters as easily as mostly people breathe. I’ve tried Lee & Rick’s raw oysters before, but since raw isn’t my thing, I had fun just watching the attendant fall into an oyster-shucking rhythm. The watchful attendant also made sure to point out two small oysters from Adam’s bucket attached to larger oysters, which were cracked or otherwise considered unsafe to eat.
My seafood platter arrived fairly quick and was crowned with an abundance of crispy, golden crinkle fries, one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Fried seafood is generally fried seafood, but beyond the shrimp and fish, the clams and the crab cakes were especially yummy. The clams were crunchy without being chewy, and the crab cakes were nicely seasoned. I’m unclear if both the fried clams and the crab cakes are made at Lee & Ricks, but the stars of this place are the oysters, which Adam thoroughly enjoyed.
Lee & Ricks just celebrated their 60th anniversary this past October, and locals continue to pour in for the unique experience of eating raw oysters. They’re still family owned and operated, and the “Shucking Crew” — cool T-shirts by the way — engenders that famous Southern kindness that will continue to bring Adam and I back for more.
T: (407) 293-3587