In 2012, Sean O'Connell walked into the bar at Fig, chef Mike Lata's award-winning restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, carrying a lunch box. O'Connell had never met Lata, but the oysterman had brought 30 raw oysters on ice, and he wanted Lata to taste them. O'Connell, who is 30, bearded, and built like a linebacker, started working for the Lady's Island Oyster company in 2011. The founder, Frank Roberts, a retired Marine, raises oysters near Seabrook, South Carolina, at the convergence of tidal creeks and rivers that, due to a near constant replenishment of high-salinity ocean water, create conditions particularly conducive to prize-worthy oysters. Roberts had started selling an oyster variety he calls Single Lady oysters in farmers' markets in the late 2000s and discovered something: "If we could get someone to eat one," he said, "it would all be over. Our oysters are our advertising."