SeaFood Business

JUN 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 36 of 46

Photos courtesy of Taylor Shellfsh Direct-source shellfsh Oyster farmers on both coasts dive into restaurant operations in a farm-to-table twist 32 SeaFood Business June 2014 Visit us online at BY LAUREN KRAMER A s the farm-to- table move- ment becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y popular, oyster farmers like Taylor Shellfsh have found the restaurant environment an ideal place to tell their story. Te Shelton, Wash., com- pany just opened a restau- rant in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood in April and will open a fourth this sum- mer in Pioneer Square, not far from Pike Place Market. Taylor opened a location in Seattle's Melrose Market three years ago and also has a store at one of its farms in Samish Bay. While its restaurant segments will only con- stitute approximately 10 percent of the company's overall revenue, they have allowed Taylor Shellfsh to tell its story. "For city diners this is the ultimate fresh experience, with oysters harvested in the morning and served the same afternoon," says Jef Pearson, president. "Our goal is to explain our product and our story of super fresh oysters. Te restaurants have allowed us to have direct in- put and feedback from our customers, which has been the impetus for opening additional sites." Te 1,000-square-foot, 30-seat Melrose store has been consistently proftable, with revenues exceeding $1 million for the past two years and growth up to 30 percent each year, Pearson says. "But we're out of room there, which is why we're opening more locations." Te Queen Anne restau- rant is 1,700 square feet, with 50 seats inside and 30 outside, while the Pio- neer Square restaurant will be 2,500 square feet. Both new locations are good for transitional dining, quick bites before or after dinner or prior to an event. Teir menus will include steamed clams and mussels, a variety of sauces, cooked crab, sal- ads and raw oyster bars. "We want people to come in, have a plate of oysters and a glass of wine and then go to an event," he says. But educat- ing consumers about shellfsh and water quality is also a key part of the experience. "One of the issues we face for our business to survive is clean water, so we want to talk about the eforts and ac- tivities we're undertaking to promote clean water in Puget Sound," Pearson explains. "We get to tell our message in the restaurant environment, and you can see the results of our eforts in the product you eat, because the oysters are a representative example of the water environment in which they grow." Another oyster farmer who has seen success with oyster bars is Perry Raso, owner of Matunuck Oyster Bar in South Kingstown, R.I. He started out selling oysters at farmers markets, where he learned the extent Behind the Line Taylor's shellfsh supply takes the guesswork out of purchasing. "For city diners this is the ultimate fresh experience, with oysters harvested in the morning and served the same afternoon." — Jeff Pearson, president, Taylor Shellfsh 32_33_BTL_JuneSFB.indd 32 5/14/14 2:17 PM

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