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Photo: Leck (r) with Westward chef, Zoi Antonitsas

Little Gull's Champion Shucker Picks His Top 5 'Tourists Will Love These' Oyster Bars

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Champion oyster shucker David Leck is in the process of hiring some damn talented staff to help him open Little Gull, the sibling boutique grocery slash fresh oyster bar of Josh Henderson's Westward — both of which are expected to open on the restaurant-deficit north shore of Lake Union later this summer (it's looking like late August at this point). Leck will be managing the place and it sounds like he has no plans to go easy on the hiring process:

Everyone I hire will be very skilled at shucking oysters and very knowledgeable about oysters so we can teach people about them — how to use the product, how to store it and what to look for when eating them. We want to spoil people and give them an experience they'll never forget.

A little history on Leck: He worked at Elliott's for almost 10 years as their main oyster shucker before opening Blueacre with Kevin Davis. He's been in more than 70 shucking competitions in the U.S. and Canada, "I'm usually in the top 3 if not first place." When it comes to oysters, "Anything that comes out of the sea gets me excited." And he admits, "It's hard for me to go order oysters from some place when I can probably do it better myself."

With that said, Leck has a list of places that anyone visiting Seattle should check out. Here are his top 5 picks, ranked and in handy map form for easy tourist guiding.

· Westward/Little Gull [Official Site]


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Walrus and the Carpenter

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4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 395-9227
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"They have great product, for one. They have the best oysters that I'll probably be carrying at the Little Gull. Renee [Erickson] is a great chef. The food is amazing and everybody who works there has always been really kind."
[Photo Credit]

2. Taylor Shellfish Farms

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1521 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 501-4321
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"They're able to bring product straight from their farms from all around Washington and Canada. It's really fresh product; it comes in pretty much the same day they get them out of the water. Everybody in there knows how to shuck oysters properly and tell [customers] everything they need to know about where the oysters come from, where they're grown, why they're grown a certain way; they're really knowledgeable. Also, they have great oyster wines."
[Photo Credit]

3. The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House

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1212 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 224-7000
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"The Brooklyn is cool. It's got great ambience. Especially for tourists, it's got that cool steakhouse, oyster bar, old school New York-style vibe."
[Photo Credit]

4. Blueacre Seafood

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1700 7th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 659-0737
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"The guys who shuck oysters here are really good. Blueacre has a good variety of oysters, maybe about five different kinds. Kevin Davis's menu is amazing. He's a really good chef who can create a lot of good meals. He's a really talented individual."
[Photo Credit]

5. Elliott's Oyster House

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1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 623-4340
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"It's a great tourist spot. If you're down on the waterfront, stop in at their bar and slurp some oysters down. They carry up to 30 types during oyster season. Most restaurants carry up to 12 or 18. Elliott's always carried as many as they could get their hands on, which is pretty cool."
[Photo Credit]

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1. The Walrus and the Carpenter

4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
"They have great product, for one. They have the best oysters that I'll probably be carrying at the Little Gull. Renee [Erickson] is a great chef. The food is amazing and everybody who works there has always been really kind."
[Photo Credit]
4743 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

2. Taylor Shellfish Farms

1521 Melrose Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
"They're able to bring product straight from their farms from all around Washington and Canada. It's really fresh product; it comes in pretty much the same day they get them out of the water. Everybody in there knows how to shuck oysters properly and tell [customers] everything they need to know about where the oysters come from, where they're grown, why they're grown a certain way; they're really knowledgeable. Also, they have great oyster wines."
[Photo Credit]
1521 Melrose Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

3. The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak & Oyster House

1212 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
"The Brooklyn is cool. It's got great ambience. Especially for tourists, it's got that cool steakhouse, oyster bar, old school New York-style vibe."
[Photo Credit]
1212 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

4. Blueacre Seafood

1700 7th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
"The guys who shuck oysters here are really good. Blueacre has a good variety of oysters, maybe about five different kinds. Kevin Davis's menu is amazing. He's a really good chef who can create a lot of good meals. He's a really talented individual."
[Photo Credit]
1700 7th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

5. Elliott's Oyster House

1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56, Seattle, WA 98101
"It's a great tourist spot. If you're down on the waterfront, stop in at their bar and slurp some oysters down. They carry up to 30 types during oyster season. Most restaurants carry up to 12 or 18. Elliott's always carried as many as they could get their hands on, which is pretty cool."
[Photo Credit]
1201 Alaskan Way Pier 56
Seattle, WA 98101

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