My column on Local Ocean, one of my all-time favorite seafood restaurants, appears in the June issue of Oregon Business Magazine.
213 S.E. Bay Blvd, Newport, OR 97365
Hours: Restaurant summer hours (June-October), 11 a.m.-9 p.m.;
Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Owner: Laura Anderson
Atmosphere: Casual and bustling. The downstairs seating area, adjacent to an open kitchen, is cacophonous with the sound of fish frying on the grill and the whirring of the kitchen fan. Upstairs is more intimate and quiet.
Clientele: Hatfield Marine Science Center staffers, NOAA officials, attorneys, accountants, students, fisherfolk and vacationing families.
Most popular: Grilled fish and chips; vying for second place are the richly satisfying roasted garlic and Dungeness crab soup and the Dungeness crab Po’boy. Another iconic dish is the seafood extravaganza called the Fishwives stew. “It’s a full combat meal,” says Anderson. (You need a crab cracker and pick, a tin bucket for shells and many napkins.)
Best seat in the house: In the summer, sit at a sidewalk table and watch fishing boats returning with their fresh catch. But you can’t do better than a table upstairs in the high-ceilinged dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows provide panoramic views of the harbor, Yaquina Bay Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.
Brag factor: Owner Laura Anderson prides herself on buying local and sustainably caught seafood. There are, however, some species that Oregon doesn’t have enough of — such as halibut. In that case, Anderson sources from the next best location (Alaska for halibut).
Overheard: “You don’t come to a fish place and order a burger! That’s cardinal sin No. 1!” says a 20-something student to his friend. Later, his classmate comments, “I studied my chapters and was watching The Office, and he was like, ‘Where do trees grow?’ I was like, ‘forests.’ And he said, ‘Forests.’ And he was like, ‘What do they release into the ground? Phosphorous!’ And I was like, ‘Wrong! Nitrogen!’ And I felt so smart.”
Critic’s corner: “We wouldn’t be caught dead with a farmed fish,” says Anderson. The exception is any of the bivalves — clams, mussels, oysters — which are raised in aquaculture.