Contra Costa kids may not live oceanfront, but they’re learning how to shoot oysters like seasoned seafarers. The Walnut Creek Yacht Club has been teaching children how to toss back raw oysters on the half shell since 1997.
“I call it the Junior Oyster Eaters Club,” says co-owner and executive chef Kevin Weinberg, “and we’ve had kids as young as three try their first oyster here.”A quarter-size Kumamoto with just a squeeze of lemon is generally Weinberg’s approach, “particularly if there is a lot of fear,” he says. “If they’re nervous, I’ll just ask them, ‘Do you go to the ocean? Have you ever gotten a little ocean water in your mouth? That’s what it will be like."
The annals of courageous oyster tasters are on display upstairs in the restaurant, where hundreds of kids’ photographs decorate the wall. Weinberg snaps pictures of the children as they’re downing their first oyster, then sends them a letter welcoming them to the club and a card for a free dessert.