Rick Antosh was just planning to stop for a simple lunch at a Manhattan restaurant but ended up leaving a few thousand dollars richer.
The New Jersey man met a friend at the Oyster Bar inside Grand Central Terminal earlier this month and ordered an oyster pan roast. As he was eating the meal, Antosh noticed something unusually hard as he bit into one of the oysters. As CBS News reported, the pea-shaped piece turned out to be a pearl worth thousands of dollars.
Antosh said that at first, he had no idea what it was he had found.
“We were engaged in conversation and all of a sudden, whoop, what is that?” Antosh told CBS New York.
“I didn’t bite on it, but I sensed something was odd. I thought maybe it was a filling or a tooth.”
But as Antosh examined it more, he noticed a black dot and wondered if it was a bit of a kitchen utensil that had broken off in his food. He showed the restaurant staff, and a chef confirmed that it was indeed a pearl. The chef then shared just how rare it was to find one in a plate.
“The one chef in the restaurant said he’s been there 28 years and this is only the second time this has happened,” Antosh said.
The Manhattan eatery is an important part of the city’s culinary history. As the restaurant’s website noted, it opened in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal and was the home to some of the city’s “writers and artists and dilettantes were starting to spring up in Greenwich Village and in other parts of the city.”
The restaurant’s menu includes dozens of different types of oysters, many harvested along the East Coast but some as far away as New Zealand and Chile. It was not clear where the oyster that Antosh ordered had come from, but somewhere during its life, it got a piece of sand in its shell that developed into a pearl. As the CBS News report noted, there is roughly a 1 in 10,000 chance of a pearl forming in an oyster.
What better way to help pay the bill at an expensive Manhattan Oyster restaurant than finding a valuable pearl while dining https://t.co/taUWxlk955
— Foodservice Wired (@fswired) December 17, 2018
Though the pearl he found in his meal could be worth thousands of dollars, Rick Antosh said he has no desire to sell it. The New Jersey man said he considers it good luck. But he did say he would be ordering oysters more often from now on.