Alton Brown Is Defending This Restaurant's Menu Prices On Twitter. Here's Why

Culinary personality Alton Brown recently checked in with his myriad of Twitter followers about the future of the famed Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City, posting in a Tweet, "Is it actually possible that the Grand Central Oyster Bar will never reopen? Anyone have intel on this?"

Have no fear Alton Brown. According to Yelp, the iconic restaurant located within Grand Central Station is only temporarily closed, with a reopening scheduled for October 1, 2021. This is after, as Eater reported, the restaurant attempted to open with limited capacity in October 2020, only to close once more two weeks later. Obviously, with pandemic guidelines being what they are, the amount of people that can flow through or visit Grand Central Station has reduced to a number that couldn't justify the costs for the Oyster Bar to operate. However, with the new date publicly announced on Yelp, it appears one can hope for the establishment's return this Fall.

This is Twitter, though, so a variety of responses came forth with Brown's post. One that he personally took issue with is the person who responded, "Who can afford it besides you?"

While a few commenters piled on their opinions, Alton Brown took it upon himself to respond in this Tweet, saying that the restaurant's menu is very accessible, even though you have to pay market price for lobster (like many restaurants). In fact, as he said, most dishes served are less than $20.

The restaurant's menu does appear reasonably priced

A glance at the menu of the Grand Central Oyster Bar, as seen on AllMenus, gives more credence to Alton Brown's position. Indeed, besides the lobster and seafood platters, most dishes served do come to less than $20 before tax. 

Obviously, if you pay for multiple dishes and drinks and count the tip, it will add up. But in general, the prices of this menu are in the same range as most restaurants, especially most quality seafood restaurants. After all, even before aquaculture and sustainability became dominant concepts in the food industry, you couldn't trust cheap seafood. That is one of the points Bourdain made in his break-out New Yorker piece in 1999: A budget seafood dish on Tuesday will consist of old fish that the restaurant failed to flog over the weekend. 

Perhaps calling the Grand Central Oyster Bar "accessible" treads into hyperbole as the minimum wage for American workers has stayed put while the world has grown more expensive — and many people can't afford to eat out regularly. However, the prices Grand Central Oyster Bar charges seem reasonable and accessible to anyone that might want oysters — even if just for a splurge meal.