The Oyster Girls, a Sonoma County traveling oyster bar, is aiming to put a touch of feminine class back into the North Bay oyster business, dishing out the popular mollusks with a dose of glamour.
Everything from the company's logo — an innocent-looking '40s-style pinup girl sitting on an oyster shell — to its charming owners, sisters Aluxa and Jazmine Lalicker, has a measure of modesty the duo say is an antidote to the oft-macho culture that has come to characterize the oyster.
At least that's how the Oyster Girls see it.
"We do try to bring femininity to the oyster, but we've worked really hard to keep it classy sexy," said Aluxa Lalicker, 33, who started the business about seven years ago.
"It always has a touch of class. I think of my grandmother and how they were sexy back in that era," she said.
In just a few short years, The Oyster Girls' list of clients has grown rapidly and includes the likes of Campo Fina restaurant in Healdsburg, Iron Horse Vineyards, Lagunitas and Jackson Family Wines.
The outfit recently signed a lease for a commercial kitchen in Petaluma, at the former location of Millie's Chili Bar on Petaluma Boulevard South.
The business has been hired by established caterers to do such events as the Neiman Marcus grand opening in Walnut Creek in 2012; a benefit dinner in 2013 for President Jimmy Carter's foundation at a private home in Saratoga, where Carter spoke; and an event honoring large donors of SFMOMA hosted at Yammer's San Francisco offices, with George Lucas as the guest of honor.
Currently run out of the Petaluma home of the two sisters and their mother, Joanne Lalicker, the business is a product of an entrepreneurial spirit and romantic impulse that have largely been a way of life for the family. In its simplest terms it is finding opportunity in the things you love to do.
Aluxa, whose name is derived from the Mayan word alux — a mythical spirit similar in mischievous antics to the Irish leprechaun — was born Cancun, Mexico and grew up in Playa del Carmen back when the now trendy tourist spot was a small fishing village.
Joanne, who was born in Texas but grew up in Oklahoma, fell in love with the Caribbean in the late 1970s, after visiting the region during high school. She fell in love with a seafaring Mexican and for a few years made a life in Playa del Carmen.
They lived there until shortly after Jazmine was born and not long after the region was destroyed by Hurricane Gilbert.
After the storm, the family moved back to Oklahoma, where Aluxa Lalicker finished high school. Sonoma State brought Lalicker to the North Bay, and a job as a kayaking guide in Tomales Bay brought her to the world of oysters.
During her kayak tours, Lalicker started taking her clients to Tomales Bay oyster beds and eventually the shelled creatures became a big focus of her tours. She started shucking them for appreciative kayakers and later for friends at parties. The seeds of a business were planted.
In college, Lalicker studied urban planning and environmental studies, but she was always toying with business possibilities. Her early ideas included designing yoga mats, developing an online travel resource for Point Reyes National Seashore and trying to come with a web app that turns your smart phone into a mirror.