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Wintzell's Oyster House

605 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL - (251) 432-4605
Posted By Michael Stern on 2/20/2008 2:12:00 PM
Wintzell’s is goofy but great. A Mobile 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. It still has a glorious 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. (Last we looked, the champ was Heather Andrews, who swallowed twenty-one-and-a-half dozen in 1997.) 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." Mr. Wintzell's self-published books full of his witticisms, Bits of Wit and Wisdom (The Signs at Wintzell's Oyster House) and Oysters and Politics, are available for sale at the cash register.

Aside from impeccable, opened-as-you-watch raw oysters and the vintage bar-room charm, Wintzell’s is a great 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 by nothing but saltine crackers.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A dozen oysters on the half shell, ready to eat!
"A dozen oysters on the half shell, ready to eat!"
Cliff Strutz





West Indies salads can be found in restaurants all over Mobile, but the Wintzell's version of this crabmeat dish is especially good.
"West Indies salads can be found in restaurants all over Mobile, but the Wintzell's version of this crabmeat dish is especially good."
Cliff Strutz


Good dark, spicy gumbo, with plenty of seafood.
"Good dark, spicy gumbo, with plenty of seafood. "
Cliff Strutz


If raw oysters aren't your thing, an excellent way to go is with the oyster sampler.  From left to right, this includes grilled oysters, Oysters Monterrey, Oysters Bienville and Oysters Rockefeller.
"If raw oysters aren't your thing, an excellent way to go is with the oyster sampler. From left to right, this includes grilled oysters, Oysters Monterrey, Oysters Bienville and Oysters Rockefeller."
Cliff Strutz


Deep fried crab claws are another specialty of the Alabama Gulf coast.
"Deep fried crab claws are another specialty of the Alabama Gulf coast."
Cliff Strutz


Wintzell's is mostly decorated with signs displaying the witticisms of founder Oliver Wintzell.
"Wintzell's is mostly decorated with signs displaying the witticisms of founder Oliver Wintzell."
Cliff Strutz


Waiting to be shucked!
"Waiting to be shucked!"
Cliff Strutz


Wintzell's keeps track of oysters eating champions.
"Wintzell's keeps track of oysters eating champions."
Cliff Strutz


Sitting at the bar and watching the shucker in action is a vital part of the Wintzell's experience.
"Sitting at the bar and watching the shucker in action is a vital part of the Wintzell's experience."
Cliff Strutz


The oyster bar before the lunch rush.
"The oyster bar before the lunch rush."
Cliff Strutz


Everywhere you look, there is something interesting to read.
"Everywhere you look, there is something interesting to read."
Cliff Strutz


Mr. Wintzell's sense of humor is everywhere.
"Mr. Wintzell's sense of humor is everywhere."
Michael Stern


Spruced up over the last 20 years, Wintzell's still radiates bar-room charm.
"Spruced up over the last 20 years, Wintzell's still radiates bar-room charm."
Michael Stern


This is one half of Wintzell's menu.
"This is one half of Wintzell's menu."
Michael Stern


On the back of this card, customers are advised that it is valid
"On the back of this card, customers are advised that it is valid "only when accompanied by good old US currency.""
Michael Stern



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