For the Shell of It: 20 Charleston Restaurants That Recycle Oyster Shell

I love food (I have the hips to prove it), and I particularly love food in Charleston. It’s a foodie’s paradise, and our F&B community is absolutely exceptional. 

Today I want to recognize some of our many local restaurants who are giving back to our beloved waterways by recycling their oyster shells through SCDNR. In case you missed the last post, here’s a quick recap:

  • Estimated 85% wild oyster reefs have been decimated worldwide

  • Up to 50 gallons of water filtered in 1 day by 1 adult oyster
  • Young, free-swimming oysters depend on older oyster shells to develop and grow
  • South Carolina has a critical shell shortage, and currently purchases shell from out of state

Oysters are delicious, but old oyster shells can be downright disgusting. It takes time, commitment, and work for these restaurants to do the right thing while still serving up tasty meals, providing exceptional service, and maintaining a desirable atmosphere. Recycling oyster shell is not always convenient or pleasant, and these restaurants, their chefs, shuckers, servers, and staff are doing an amazing job.

Take a moment to tell them so! Your feedback can make a world of difference, and we as a community owe them our support and appreciation for all their hard work.

The restaurants on this (certainly not comprehensive) list confirmed with me personally, and/or were confirmed through SCDNR’s list of current venues actively recycling, though there are additional restaurants participating in the greater Charleston area that also deserve a high five and cheers, and I certainly don't intend to slight anyone.

Leave a comment if there’s someone doing an amazing job that deserves credit!

*This gallery contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you. 

Coast Bar & Grill: A veteran on the Charleston restaurant scene, Coast serves up delicious seafood of all kinds, and recycles their oyster shells to boot. A huge thanks to the Holy City Hospitality group, whose other restaurants Rue de Jean and Victor Social Club also recycle through SCDNR.

NICO: This Shem Creek hotspot is known for their exceptional oysters and atmosphere, and they’ve been recycling since the day one. They give all the credit to Ben Dyar with SCDNR, however, who is also doing an amazing job! 

Gilligan’s: Not only does the Gilligan’s franchise recycle their oyster shell at all six of their locations, their rep stated that “We have proudly recycled over 500,000 pounds of shells. We only serve local oysters so they go straight back into our waters.”

Bowen’s Island: A Charleston institution, this beloved down and dirty Lowcountry oyster spot serves up buckets of steamed oysters with a killer view, AND puts those shells back in the water.

Hank’s Seafood: Keeping up with droves of tourists looking for local seafood AND recycling copious amounts of oyster shell can’t be easy, but Hank’s does a great job recycling through SCDNR.


And last but certainly not least, Charleston owes a huge thank you to the following restaurants for going the extra mile to restore and replenish our oyster reefs through their work with the South Carolina DNR oyster shell recycling program. 

Please don't forget to give them a high five next time you stop by! Their hard work deserves to be recognized.

Red’s Ice House

Pearlz WA



Creekside Kitchen

Rusty Rudder

Shem Creek Bar and Grill

167 Raw

Daniel Island Country Club

The Obstinate Daughter

Daniel Island Grill

Dig in the Park

Morgan Creek Grill