By Lori A. Havener

There are a lot of reasons you may be ambling down Pioneer Trail. Maybe you’re rushing to a restorative yoga class at Alpenflow Yoga & Movement Lab followed by locally roasted coffee at Pacific Crest Coffee Company, or you are meeting a friend for a beer at Truckee Brewing Company after dropping your bike off at Cyclepaths Bike Shop. Well, here is another excellent reason — Truckee’s newest restaurant, Buoy & Trap.

Chef Zack Duksta grew up in Rhode Island fishing and feasting on all the sea had to offer. While in college, Zack fell in love with skiing and made the choice to move to Tahoe 10 years ago. Loving the area but craving the Rhode Island food from his childhood and the family recipes inspired by his mother, he started the Shuck Truck in 2021, a food truck serving some of the same items on the restaurant’s current menu. Wanting a more permanent storefront, he opened Buoy & Trap this past February. 

<< RAW BAR: A delicious variety of oysters is available, including Ninigret from Rhode Island, Point Reyes Miyagi, and Chelsea Gems from Washington.

Duksta is committed to offering sustainable, fresh seafood. The daily menu consists of New England clam chowder, seasonal oysters, a Maine lobster roll (mayo-dressed), a Connecticut lobster roll (butter-dressed), and a Hawaiian poke bowl with fresh ahi. It should be noted that the brioche buns used for the lobster rolls are baked right across the street at Sierra Bakehouse. Don’t miss the Friday fish taco special – two tacos made with the freshest fish of the week for $15. The day I went they had blackened rockfish tacos with mango chili slaw and avocado lime crema. The fish was cooked perfectly, the slaw crunchy with a mildly spicy zest, and the crema light and citrusy. 


I’ve also sampled their oysters. They were fresh, briny, and perfectly shucked. Chef Duksta’s take on the accompanying mignonette (a condiment made with minced shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar) was deliciously tangy and very well balanced with each delicate bite of the salty oyster. What set it apart was the touch of tarragon.  

GOT LOBSTAH? Buoy & Trap offers two types of lobster rolls — a Maine lobster roll (mayo-dressed) or a Connecticut lobster roll (butter-dressed).

On my recent visit I tried three different types of oysters. The first was the Ninigret from Behan Family Farms in Charleston, Rhode Island. A firm and briny oyster, they are a hometown favorite for the chef and a house staple at Buoy & Trap. Next, a Point Reyes Miyagi, the California version of Kumamoto oysters, a small oyster with a nutty sweetness. Finally, the Chelsea Gems, an oyster from the Eld Inlet in Washington. These oysters are meaty and mildly briny with a sweet, buttery flavor. 

The poke bowl is also a treat — perfectly sticky rice, in-season ripe mango chunks, fresh ahi tuna, seaweed for just the right amount of crunch, salt, and a spicy poke sauce. I felt like I was back in Hawaii!

Buoy & Trap is located next to Full Belly Deli. There is some seating inside and picnic tables outside. Sit at the bar in front of the prep kitchen. The staff loves to answer your questions, share recipes, and exchange stories while preparing your meal. Take time to enjoy the family photos on the restaurant wall. 

Make sure to follow them on Facebook or Instagram for their occasional specials. Past specials include baked oysters with pesto compound butter, toasted panko and parmesan cheese, crab cakes with a classic remoulade, and a Mother’s Day offering of lobster, asparagus, and Gruyère quiche.

FRESH SEAFOOD: Chef and owner Zack Duksta opened Buoy & Trap in February as a way to offer fresh and sustainable seafood that he was accustomed to growing up in Rhode Island.

Buoy & Trap offers fresh raw fish and seafood for purchase. After having a delicious lunch, don’t forget to grab your favorite selection for dinner. If you have a particular fish in mind, Chef Duksta recommends you call first to make sure they have what you need. Don’t feel like cooking? Shuck Truck can handle any size event.

When I asked Duksta what was next, he told me they are excited about the future. Buoy & Trap is about a month out from getting its beer and wine license. It will have an eclectic wine list and serve beer from both Truckee Brewing Company and The Good Wolf. Duksta will also be working with his sushi chef on a special Sunday sushi service.  

So, the next time you are fishing for an amazing raw bar experience, Buoy & Trap is the perfect local choice. 

~While in high school, Lori Havener started a catering business cooking for small dinner parties and her orange kiss me cake won at a Florida orange baking contest. She continued her food journey working for a catering company in Minneapolis while attending college. Eating out and trying new flavors, cooking methods, and delicacies is her idea of a good time.  


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