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Dining Out in Hershey: The Oyster Bar

When Devon Seafood Grill opened for business in Hershey, it brought restaurant goers the opportunity to enjoy fresh seafood.  However, this is not the first time a seafood restaurant has opened in Hershey.

 

Hershey Community Inn, on the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues. ca.1936

 

In 1936 a major addition was made to the Hershey Inn.  Located on the southwest corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues, the 1910 Hershey Inn provided guest rooms at moderate cost. As more and more people came to visit Hershey, the Hershey Inn could not keep up with the demand for its rooms.  So, in 1936, two more floors were added to the Inn and it was renamed the Community Inn. 

 

Menu cover, The Oyster Bar.  ca.1936-1948

 

 

As part of these renovations, a new restaurant was installed in the Inn.  Christened the Oyster Bar, this restaurant specialized in seafood.  Chincoteague Island oysters, Cherrystone clams, Maryland Eastern Shore crabs and North Carolina shrimp were some of the menu highlights.

 

 

The Oyster Bar offered a wide selection of fresh seafood, including oysters, clams, lobster and brook trout. ca.1936-1948

 

 

As an article in the Hotel Hershey Highlights noted, “The Oyster Bar is the only one of its kind within many miles of Hershey and has quite a metropolitan air.”

 

 

Large aquariums held lobsters and Hershey raised brook trout for hungry diners. ca.1940-1950

 

 

 

 So what happened to the Oyster Bar?

 

While Milton Hershey enjoyed seafood, the restaurant consistently lost money.  After World War II, a review of all Hershey Estates operations was conducted the audit firm, Andersen & Co..  Its 1948 report revealed that the restaurant was not and had never been financially successful.  Recommendations were made to alter the menu and eliminate the focus on seafood.  While the restaurant continued to be called the Oyster Bar in the 1950s, menus from that era show that seafood offerings were greatly reduced and more emphasis was placed on more traditional restaurant foods such as steak and chicken.

 

The Oyster Bar ceased to be when the inn closed in September 1970.

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