“Our first year in business went by really fast and really slow at the same time, if that’s even possible,” says Maylin Chavez, the owner behind North Mississippi’s Olympia Oyster Bar who wants people “to shuck oysters like breaking bread.” Olympia Oyster Bar opened last December with a mission to make oysters accessible to everyone, and oysters have featured as its main protein ever since.
Chavez says her “dressed” oysters — raw oysters with creative dressings — have been the biggest hit. “I think people like the surprising ingredients, like pomegranate and ginger,” she says. Bon Appetit agrees, singling out Olympia Oyster Bar’s dressed oysters one of the best examples of 2016’s “23 Coolest Trends.”
Larger plates have also evolved. There’s a cured local steelhead tartare, with sesame emulsion, toasted amarinth, and persimmon. Also, this weekend, a crab empanadas special features crab stuffed with empanada dough and served with a traditional Mexican peanut sauce and green chili sauce. It’s one of many dishes on the menu with a nod toward Chavez’s Mexican heritage.
The wine obsessed should also check out Olympia Oyster Bar’s latest wine updates: There’s a new selection of rare and orange wines, with many expressing terroirs compatible with the bar’s regional oyster selection.
When asked whether she learned any helpful lessons over the past year, Chavez says, “Perfection can also be a hinderance. I’m now aiming to be imperfectly perfect. We have to be ok with learning and growing everyday and finding ways to transfer that into something positive.”
To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Olympia Oyster Bar is throwing a party on December 19. Among the festivities are a cake by baker Kir Jensen, music by international DJ Sofia Acosta from DJ Coast2C, complimentary bubbles, and all-day happy hour food and drink. The party runs 5 to 9 p.m.