Family Business Profiles

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The Grilled Oyster Company

Rick and Valerie Dugan

Cabin John Shopping Center, 7943 Tuckerman Lane
Potomac, MD


Cathedral Commons, 3701 Newark St., NW
Washington, DC


Through years of working—and gathering valuable experience—in all aspects of the restaurant industry, Washington, D.C.-area natives Valerie and Rick Dugan always had plans to open their own place in the region when the time was right. In September 2012, the husband and wife team introduced The Grilled Oyster Company to Montgomery County. With the Potomac location’s massive success, Valerie and Rick, whose complementary strengths enable them to work together seamlessly, opened a second restaurant in Washington, D.C.’s Cathedral Commons. 

In short, the Grilled Oyster Company is a regionally inspired fresh seafood restaurant and raw bar. But it’s so much more. As frequenters of the Eastern Shore—where they spend much time on the water and know many local fishermen—Valerie and Rick are passionate about conservation of the Chesapeake Bay and the surrounding wildlife. The Grilled Oyster Company is a member of the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s Shell Recycling Alliance and recycles its oyster shells in an effort to help raise new oysters and restore oyster reefs. 

The Dugans, as local restaurateurs, prioritize partnering—and have cultivated prosperous long-term relationships—with local farmers, fishermen and breweries in an effort to harvest and provide ethically grown seafood ad produce for their customers. 

As suggested by the moniker, the Grilled Oyster Company’s menu includes oysters—cooked, grilled, fried or in the half shell—along with all the seafood options patrons could imagine; there are also plenty of options for those who don’t eat seafood. And the restaurant’s atmosphere is just as fitting for special occasions as happy hour with a few friends at the bar. 

The Dugans cherish seeing familiar faces and catching up with longtime customers—considered friends and family—says Valerie.  

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