Maylin Chavez and Melissa Mayer, recent San Diego transplants, are shucking their way into the PDX oyster scene with plans to open Olympia Oyster Bar this spring. The duo—both experienced executive chefs with diverse cultural backgrounds (Chavez is originally from Tijuana and Mayer a native Wisconsinite)—believes that when it comes to shellfish, "oysters are king."
As for early workings on the menu, there will definitely be about six to seven rotating oyster selections sourced from up and down the coast and even as far as New Zealand, with a spot reserved for the NW native Olympia varietal. The bar will have a full cocktail program; expect to see lots of "bubbles, crisp whites, and Sancerre," along with craft beers and ciders. They want to keep a chill, relaxed vibe: "Our brand is fun and playful," Mayer says. "We want to treat oysters the way they do in France, where they make them center stage, but we'll do it with Pacific coast ingredients. PDX keeps it real, it's not going to be about chandeliers and marble."
Chavez and Mayer plan for their first oyster bar to serve as their flagship location, with hopes of opening two to three locations in Portland alone, and eventually moving on to other Pacific coast locations.
The brick-and-mortar establishment (they have their eyes on a few spots in the Pearl) is still a ways out—as in no lease yet—but until then, you can find Olympia Oyster Bar at Yakuza on Tuesday nights for an ongoing pop-up series. The first will be on August 26 by reservation only, but the team plans to eventually be open for walk-in business.
· Olympia Oyster Bar [Official site]
· All Coming Attractions Coverage [-EPDX-]