Chow Town

App helps connects oyster lovers with the shellfish

Screen shot of the Pearl Oyster App
Screen shot of the Pearl Oyster App

I love oysters. I mean, I really love oysters. So imagine my surprise when I came across an app that, among other features, “allows users to find oysters that are in restaurants around them.”

I know. I know. You think I’m making this up. I mean, how can the world not be ready to keep up with my, and your, oyster interactions? It’s called the Pearl oyster app, and it has been improved.

“Our design team has been working hard on aesthetic improvements (as you may notice the app is now a vibrant pink) and the interface looks better than ever,” Pearl founder Sam Asher said. “Beyond aesthetics, the new Pearl oyster app allows users to create their own profile, ‘check in’ at restaurants, track oysters you’ve eaten and share your oyster-eating experiences.”

Share your oyster-eating experiences? Never really thought anyone would be interested in my oyster-eating experiences but me, but OK. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to snap a photo or 10 of food I’ve prepared, ordered and will eventually consume. As the producer and host of the television show “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” I have had more than a passing interest in all things culinary. But an app just for oyster lovers? Well let’s just say I was a little skeptical.

I asked Asher how, and maybe more importantly, why, he came up with the app?

“I have always been passionate about food,” he said. “I’m insanely curious about where it comes from, how it’s processed and eventually how it lands on our plates — whether from a store or a restaurant. I have also always been entrepreneurial. I started my first company when I was 16 and since worked in a variety of tech companies. Pearl is really combining my two passions, innovation and food.”

But why oysters in particular?

“People can’t remember what oysters they have eaten, so this allows them to remember which oysters they ate at which restaurants,” Asher said.

He’s absolutely right. I had some amazing oysters — big and beautiful, creamy and delicious — the other week at Jax Fish House. I took pictures of them, but I deleted the pictures because my phone was running out of memory. Anyway, I am apparently running out of memory too because I couldn’t remember what type of oysters they were for the life of me. I had to ask Jax’s general manager Rick Compton. He told me they were Mariposa, a variety I highly recommend, by the way.

While I had his attention, I also asked Compton for his thoughts on the Pearl app. Not surprisingly, Compton, who heads the leading purveyor of fresh oysters in the metro, was enthusiastically supportive.

“I think it has a ton of potential,” he said. “Anything that helps bring oyster lovers closer to their food I think is great.”

Compton sees the app as a “Pied Piper” of oyster lovers and producers.

“Like wine, oysters reflect the unique waters that they are raised in, and so it’s important to know not just the major area where an oyster is from, but the unique geographical characteristics that make oysters distinct from one another,” Compton said. “The Pearl app is another way in which oyster lovers can get to know the unique varieties available to them.”

Granted, Compton isn’t exactly unbiased in his unabashed fandom of the Pearl oyster app. Still, if early returns are any indication, Asher might be on to something. He says the Pearl is already in the top 2 percent of food apps for Apple. That’s pretty impressive since the app launched just in June. The updates were added this past week, so it looks like more good times for oyster lovers, oyster producers and oyster sellers everywhere. I still don’t know who would want to share my oyster-eating experiences, but what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. After all, it’s free.

You can download the updated app at or go to the updates section in the Apple app store. That’s where I’ll be going.

Dave Eckert is the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.