Oyster Social, Popping Up at a Bar Near You

Bivalves and beers? You'll find them both, paired with inventive locally crafted condiments, at Foster’s Craft Cooking’s briny events.

By Anna Loh September 10, 2014

If you haven’t heard of Oyster Social, here are the facts:

  1. The concept is Portland’s only mobile raw bar, and
  2. Bivalve lovers can enjoy freshly shucked, high-quality oysters on the half shell for $2 a pop.

Really, that's all you need to know, but we figured diving into the story behind the pop-up might turn up a pearl. Oyster Social is the brainchild of Jaret Foster, operations director for Portland Farmers Market and founder of local boutique catering and event company Foster’s Craft Cooking, and his partner Mona Johnson, communications manager for the Portland Farmers Market. “Mona's love for oysters led me to think we should spread that love around,” Foster says.

Before the official launch of Oyster Social, Foster hosted a few pop-up dinners that featured oysters, but the real fun began when the raw gems became the focus of the meal. The first formal Oyster Social was introduced in March of last year at Upright Brewing, and over 120 tickets sold out in just a few hours. Since then, Foster has answered a near-constant stream of requests for new events. “People who love oysters are passionate about them. We have people who follow us from pop-up to pop-up,” shares Foster. “We meet such nice people, who in turn bring in other nice people. And we love oyster people.”

For every event, Oyster Social partners with local breweries, wine bars, and hot sauce producers like Picklopolis and Marshall’s Haute Sauce. Foster sources fresh-from-the-bay oysters sourced from the Pacific Northwest, working directly with oyster producers Nevør Shellfish Farm in Netarts on two varieties—a tumbled (Tørkes) and a beach grown (Netarts Nevør)—and other seafood farms including Hama Hama in Washington and Island Creek Oysters in Massachusetts. As for future plans, Foster hopes to host an international Oyster Social featuring oysters from Europe and Asia.

“I like making oysters more approachable by allowing people to just casually enjoy a couple of bivalves for $2 a pop instead of paying up to $40 for a dozen at a restaurant,” Foster said. Want to get in on the shucking fun? For details on upcoming Oyster Socials around town—or to host your own Oyster Social at a private party, restaurant, or event—visit the events schedule or call 503-757-6994.

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