Wintzell’s Oyster House

Review by: Michael Stern

Wintzell’s Oyster House | What to expect

Wintzell’s is goofy but great. A Mobile, Alabama institution since Oliver Wintzell opened it as a six-stool oyster bar in 1938, it has survived hurricanes and floods, rebuilt and expanded into a modern, comfortable seafood restaurant, and spawned clones as far north as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This original location still has a swell oyster bar where you can sit and knock ‘em back by the dozen; and it continues to keep score in the ongoing contest to see who can eat the most raw oysters in one hour. Its walls are plastered with thousands of little signs offering bons mots and politically incorrect rules of life put there by the late Mr. Wintzell, starting in the 1950s. For example: “When a wife looks high and low for her husband at a party, she usually finds him high.”

What to eat at Wintzell’s Oyster House

Aside from impeccable, opened-as-you-watch raw oysters and the vintage bar-room charm, Wintzell’s is a good place to sample many definitive Gulf Coast specialties: seafood gumbo, crisp-fried crab claws, oyster po-boys, fried catfish, and a mouth-watering West Indies salad. No one knows how West Indies salad became such a favorite dish in Mobile, but it is served in all the good seafood restaurants, and it is something every visitor must try: nothing but hunks of crabmeat marinated in oil and vinegar with grated onions. It is simple, rich, and sweet – so addictive that many customers forgo it as an appetizer (its usual role) and get a couple of large orders for their main course, accompanied only by saltine crackers and drinks.

What To Eat

West Indies Salad


Oyster Sampler

Fried Crab Claws


Wintzell’s Oyster House Recipes


What do you think of Wintzell’s Oyster House?

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