The Jolly Oyster, known for its seaside Shuck Shack in Ventura, has opened its shop in Torrance’s Nijiya Plaza.
If you walk inside the new store, there’s a good chance that owner Mark Reynolds will chat you up, ask you about how much you love oysters, and then shuck you a sample of something from his Baja California shellfish farm.
The Torrance market, which had its grand opening last Thursday, is selling Kumamoto and Pacific oysters, plus its signature Jollies (a Kumamoto/Pacific oyster hybrid) and Manila clams–all from its farm. There are also Pacific Red and Island Stone crab claws to remind you that Florida doesn’t have anything on the West Coast when it comes to meaty, sweet, creamy crab. This is shellfish that needs no accompaniment.
There’s no seating at the store, but you can pay extra ($12 a half-dozen vs. $1.25 to $1.50 each) to have your oysters shucked before you take them home or attempt to grab a seat outside the Nijiya Market (maybe buy some food there, too). If you like some heat with your brininess, try the spicy Jolly sauce when you slurp. Reynolds is also eager to sell customers a shucking knife and give them an oyster-opening lesson because his goal is demystifying the process and bringing people closer to the food they eat.
Reynolds, who focuses on sustainable seafood, says he plans to add scallops to his Torrance selections and will also look into uni.
The Jolly Oyster is part of a serious remake of Nijiya Plaza into a multi-faceted shopping and dining destination. Reynolds told Los Angeles magazine’s Eddie Lin, who broke the story about The Jolly Oyster’s new location in December, that he chose Torrance after learning that he had customers driving from the South Bay and even as far as Orange County to buy his oysters in Ventura. The Torrance store is next door to the former Men Oh Tokushima ramen shop that’s turning into an outpost of ultra-popular udon restaurant Marugame Monzo, which could be close to opening. There were bags of udon flour on the floor Saturday.
The Jolly Oyster, which is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., is running a grand opening special through February: $1 Pacifics and Jollies, unshucked, and $5-a-pound Manila clams for purchases over $20.
The Jolly Oyster, 2143 W. 182nd St., Torrance, 310-200-6295