Good news, aquaculture enthusiasts: popular Portland seafood joint Olympia Oyster Bar is going coastal this summer. Running June 15 through Labor Day, Olympia chef and owner Maylin Chavez will be spending weekends at Nevør Shellfish Farm, right on Netarts Bay. The concept? An oyster pop-up elevating Nevør's regular oysters-by-the-dozen kiosk, and then some.
Think straight-from-the-bay tørkes, kumamotos, and Olympia oysters (of course), dressed in ponzu or pickled serrano and paired with a local Riesling. Or baked oysters with smoked goat butter or roasted poblano peppers, washed back with coastal-fermented wild ales. Chavez says Olympia Oyster Bar is staying open back in Portland—she and a few colleagues are just commuting, enough to run the Nevør pop-up every other weekend, Friday–Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day.
Have Independence Day off? You're in luck: the Olympia pop-up will also be open July 3 and 4. “We’re pulling double duty,” Chavez says, anticipating holiday crowds eager to taste the sea. She answered a few more questions from us.
So, what's an oyster bar pop-up?
We’re essentially taking our oyster bar and dropping it at the farm. We’ve actually built out a space at the farm. Between Travis [Oja], the [oyster] farmer who’s an amazing builder, and myself, we’ve created an oyster bar and beautiful outdoor seating that overlooks Netarts Bay.
What will you be serving, exactly?
We serve what's cultivated at the farm, of course. We wanted to keep the menu straightforward, really highlight some local shellfish and seafood…keep it simple and very farm-like. Five menu items where people can just come in and enjoy that Oregon coastal bounty, if you will. And, of course, bringing in some of my Mexican influence to the dishes as well.
What about drinks?
We have a full bar, but no cocktails. We’re mostly focused on natural wines. We have some bubbles, rosé, some beautiful Riesling from local winemakers like Etra, Maloof, Joe Swick who’s amazing. And brews as well—we have de Garde Brewing, we’re showcasing some Public Coast beers, and also Pono Brewing.
Why on the Coast?
I’ve always wanted to do something on an oyster farm. That was always kind of my initial dream even before launching the restaurant here in Portland… You know, there are limited offerings at the coast; being able to bring a little bit of Portland to the coast—at a beautiful farm with this gorgeous setting—is really very enticing. To be able to continue to expand my passion for all things Oregon coast. [It] was the perfect opportunity for us to work together.
How has the reception been so far?
People are really happy that they can not only enjoy the farm, but also enjoy the oysters in a different setting. [So far] it's a really nice mix of Portlanders, tourists, and locals. A good friend of mine, Chris Angelus from Portland Food Adventures, showed up, too. And quite a few people who are avid supporters of our restaurant here in Portland. [One couple] were actually here at the restaurant on Friday night, and then Saturday morning I saw them at the oyster farm!