When Dixie and BlocHaus took home “Best Restaurant Design” at the Jean Banchet Awards earlier this year, there was an obvious reason why: that killer dining room wall lined with hand-painted gold oyster shells. The best part? The idea isn’t one lost at sea—it’s an old Southern tradition that oyster shells bring good luck to the home, so chef and owner Charlie McKenna was intent on their incorporation. It’s decor like this and the stories that back them that are adorning the interiors of restaurants and bars throughout the city, and as such, we’ve been doing double takes as we dine. Here are just a few of the wow-worthy restaurant walls around town right now.

Team photography at R.J. Grunts

Today, more than 100 photos of the team decorate the interior of this Lincoln Park institution—a practice that has been in play since 1971, when a Lettuce Entertain You accountant approached founder Rich Melman with a request: to snap shots of servers. “Our philosophy when we started was the idea of taking care of our servers,” notes Melman. “My mother and my partner Jerry’s mother were waitresses when we were growing up, so that was very important to us.” 2056 N. Lincoln Park W., 773-929-5363