Olympia Oyster Bar, the cheerfully industrial seafood restaurant on Mississippi, will be closing its doors by the end of the year. However, fans of its oyster and seafood program will be relieved to hear that it will continue on, in the form of pop-ups and an oyster bar at the coast. There’s also a good chance it will reopen in a new space somewhere down the line.
Owner and chef Maylin Chavez cited the end of a four-year lease as the main reason to move on, but also because of new opportunities the change provides. “It is bittersweet, as we have built such an extraordinary community of oyster lovers, passionate cooks, wine enthusiasts, talented curators, and a space that many and myself have called home for the last four years,” she says. “The universe aligned itself — I love to mix it up and explore opportunities. Change is always hard and scary, but we’re doing it for a lot of really great reasons.”
The team plans to continue with its recent takeovers at the event space Function in NW Portland, bringing its signature raw oysters and other seafood — along with natural wines cultivated by Simon Lowdry of Sardine Head — and will also look for other spots to pop up in. Starting next spring, Chavez will head back out to Nevør Shellfish Farm on the coast to helm an oyster bar, something she’s very familiar with and passionate about. While all that’s going on, the team will be looking for a new home — preferably one that allows a bit more production than the small kitchen in North Portland currently does.
Olympia Oyster Bar will hold its final service with an anniversary party on December 16, then close its doors. “I am beyond grateful to all of our oyster farmers, farmers, seafood and wine purveyors for the tremendous support over the years,” Chavez says. “We could not have accomplished so much in our North Portland space without your love and support.”