Harry’s Oyster Bar at Bally’s in Atlantic City

One of our insatiable cravings has always been oysters, in any shape, prepared in any way, at any time. So, when we were invited by Frank and Maureen Dougherty, Harry’s owners, to come and check out their bustling oyster bar, it was a no-brainer! Especially since we knew the Oyster business was a genetic connection to Frank’s Great-Grandfather, ‘Harry’, the original restaurateur who opened Dock’s Oyster Bar also in Atlantic City in 1897 which is still running strong.

At first impression, when encountering the bar with its huge ‘centerpiece’ featuring hundreds of fresh oysters and clams heaped high on a bed of ice, was that we were in for some serious sampling with no disappointments.

The nostalgic ambiance, with mahogany floors, tin ceiling and paper matted tables, set the tone for finger licking, groaning, and slurping out loud, which is exactly what we did. A tower of seafood filled with lobster, crabmeat, oysters, shrimp and ceviche was set before us and we dove in! If one could capture the very essence of the Jersey Shore, especially in November, with the cool, crisp saltiness of the air as it waifs over the Atlantic, Harry’s has done it by providing its diners with a selection of freshly shucked oysters hailing from the very waters that grace the shores of Southern NJ:  NJ Greats and Cape May Salts. Tender, succulent, and flat out Yum-my!

While we could have stopped right there and have been perfectly content, you know us…we didn’t!

We were intent on tasting as many of their ‘signature’ dishes as was humanly possible. This led to the next course, Soup Shooters. Since we had such a hard time deciding exactly which soup to savor, the lovely server surprised us with both of the clam chowders, Manhattan and New England, in small cups. Both were newsworthy, but our personal preference was biased toward the white, buttery chowder with the smoky background.

As Snootie Foodies, we continued to indulge our curiosities with even more goodies, noting three clear ‘winners’:

Mahi Mahi Fajita-soft tortillas filled with strips of grilled Mahi Mahi and fresh avocado, perched atop a   medley of red onion, tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeños, excellent and strong entrée contender.

Old Fashioned Lobster Roll-starring luscious chunks of Maine lobster slathered in mayo and presented in the classic, buttery toasted roll. Fantastic. Thought about this one for days!

Buffalo Oysters-delicately crusted oysters with a dollop of blue cheese simply melted on the palate, a real winner.

Besides continuing the legacy of great entrepreneurship, Harry’s gives back and that is the Real Story:

Their largest charity event for Harry’s was their grand opening a few months ago.  All proceeds for that event, approximately $55,000, were donated to the Intensive Care Unit of AtlantiCare.  On November 4, Harry’s hosted an event for the United Way for which they donated all of the proceeds from food and bar purchases. To us, Big Food and Big Hearts are a winning combination!

Check out their full menu and special events at www.harrysoysterbar.com

Harry’s Oyster Bar
Bally’s Atlantic City, Ground Floor.
Atlantic City, NJ 08402 Phone: 609-431-0092

Wayne and Anne Galya, learned how exciting food could be back in Junior High, when the Wood Shop class elective was completely filled and his guidance counselor encouraged the guys who didn’t make the cut to take Cooking, instead.  “Why would I want take a cooking class? Wait a minute…cooking = girls! Heck yeah, sign me up!”  And there began his love affair with all things relating to food, making it, serving it, eating it…. Back in those days (the 70s) Culinary Art Careers had not yet become the rage, so I didn’t consider it an option and when I graduated from high school, I began a 39 year career as an Industrial Electrician.  But, I never lost my passion for the Art, and even produced my own CIA chef, my son Wayne! One of the greatest joys I have is seeing what other chefs are doing, as it challenges me in my own kitchen. Many friends and family have enjoyed the re-creation of dishes that I have savored in France Italy and the Caribbean, as well as regional dishes from across the US.