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Volume One Number Eight

Dan & Louis Oyster Bar Celebrates 80 Years
Portland, Oregon 1907-1992

Oregon's Famous Native Oysters Defy "R" Month Myth

JULY 3, 1939 -- Under a new law passed by the last legislature, possession of fresh clams outside the limits of Oregon's coast counties during the summer season is illegal. So Portland seafood addicts are doing without. But they can always fall back on the state's famous native oysters, acclaimed by many connoisseurs as the peer of them all. To help the native industry, the state last week announced a $3000 project for work on the beds at Yaquina Bay under the joint efforts of the state fish commission and Oregon state college research experts. The beds are worked under the jurisdiction of the fish commission. Here is a round-the-clock story of the Oregon oyster, native only to Yaquina Bay.

First, shuckers open the firm white delicacies preparatory to serving it to a hungry Portlander at Dan & Louie's. About 25,000 sacks a year are consumed. The shells are not thrown away or sold, although there is good demand for them as a base for chick feed. Instead, the Oregon Oyster Co. piles them up and allows them to dry, and clean for an entire year.

Then, the clean shells are taken back to Yaquina Bay, and at just the proper moment, learned by close study, they are dumped into the bay in time to catch the spawn of the mature oysters. Long study has shown that native shell is the substance to which the spawn will cling best. After the spawn attaches to the shell, it is called "spat" and is then beginning its four-year growth before it becomes mature enough for consumption.

The oysters are "tonged" up from the bottom by means of a long-handled shear-legged rake contraption. In the packing house the oysters are sorted, the mature ones kept and the young returned to complete their growth. The beds are worked much in the manner of a well-regulated farm, by sections. The completed cycle is the opening of the four-year-old oyster -- probably, one which grew on a shell from an oyster cleaned at the same table five years earlier.

The old myth that oysters can't be eaten in a month which has no "R" just doesn't hold for the native Oregon -- the clean, cold water of Yaquina Bay makes them good all around the year. --News Telegram


People Well-Known to Everyone
Know To Eat at the Oyster Bar

Photographs of famous people hang on the walls of the hall that leads to the restrooms. Being famous is not a requirement to eat at the Oyster Bar, but famous people have eaten at the restaurant well-known for serving more oysters than any other restaurant on the West Coast. Even though these people are famous they received the same as regular customers: great atmosphere, friendly service and good food.

Some nationally famous visitors who have eaten here are Mickey Rooney, Sebatian Cabot, Richard Boone and Jonathan Winters. Locally famous patrons include Sen. Mark Hatfield who held his 1984 campaign celebration party at Dan & Louis Oyster Bar and former Portland Police Chief Ron Still.

You don't have to be famous to eat at Dan & Louis Oyster Bar, but if you are famous perhaps you will be lucky enough to find your photo hanging on their walls. --Bridget E. Smith, editor


The above stories are from Page Two of our special edition about Dan & Louis Oyster Bar which tells the history of the restaurant and how the same family still owns it three generations later.


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Bridget E. Smith, editor & publisher

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Historical Gazette
Published in Portland, Oregon
© 1991-