Portland restauranteurs spotlight sustainable oysters

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The restauranteurs opening The Parish next month in the Pearl District, buy directly from sustainable oyster farming operations including Chelsea Shellfish Farms in the South Puget Sound.
John Valls Photography

The restauranteurs opening The Parish next month in the Pearl District, buy directly from sustainable oyster farming operations including Chelsea Shellfish Farms in the South Puget Sound.

Restaurant owner Tobias Hogan would like you to think of oysters as eco-overachievers, filtering brackish estuary waters of potentially harmful algae and phytoplankton and making the waters safe for baby crabs and small fish to flourish.

He and his partner, Ethan Powell, are on the verge of opening their second restaurant in Portland that puts local, sustainably farmed oysters front and center on the menu. The Parish, a New Orleans-styled eatery is set to open in Portland's Pearl District next month. The pair opened EaT: An Oyster Bar on North Williams in 2008.

"We're really focused on promoting the oyster farmers," Hogan said. "We're so close to such great bounty. We're promoting a great opportunity to eat fantastic, sustainable foods."

In an effort to educate patrons on the sustainable nature of oyster farming, EaT hosted Oyster Bus earlier this month, a full-day trip to Chelsea Shellfish Farms in Olympia.

Opening the larger space next month will allow Hogan and Powell to expand their wholesale business and work with even more regional oyster farmers, providing them with a local distributor for their product. A distributor that also happens to be a vocal fan of the product.

And, as Hogan puts it: "We can't talk enough about the amazing oysters we get."

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