1440 8th Street, NW courtesy Oyster Oyster
From a press release:
“After COVID delayed its long-anticipated opening, sustainable plant-centric restaurant Oyster Oyster turned to take-out, serving local farm dinners and vegetable-focused fare to-go beginning in August of this year. But the Shaw eatery has two exciting dining experiences launching this weekend: its first foray into on-premise outdoor dining, featuring private pizza, pinball and oyster parties in its funky “Oyster Garage” space; and a daytime coffee shop pop-up with local RĀKO Coffee Roasters.
“2-HOUR PARKING” AT OYSTER GARAGE
Oyster Oyster is thrilled to finally welcome guests in for a safe, unique on-site and outdoor dining experience. And in true Oyster Oyster style, it’s one of the most fun, creative (and COVID-safe) culinary bookings in town. Starting Friday, September 25, the restaurant will host “2-Hour Parking” at the Oyster Garage — an adult Chuck E. Cheese-esque pizza, pinball + oyster party — every Friday and Saturday evening.
The “Oyster Garage” is their adjacent, covered-yet-still-open-air alcove outfitted with psychedelic street art-style murals, vintage pinball machines and a recycled skateboard deck backbar. The completely raw space was originally designed to be a dedicated grocery pick-up lane for Giant, but that plan was soon abandoned, so it served as an extra entrance to the parking garage until Oyster Oyster moved in. Pre-COVID, the team originally envisioned the space serving as a fun, all-day hangout spot and café, but has now transformed it into their own weather-proof, open-air private dining room.
$400 (excluding tax/gratuity) gets a group (up to 6 people) the private space all to themselves for two hours, plus a boozy oyster + pizza feast curated by Chef Rob Rubba and Beverage Director Sarah Horvitz, which includes:
4 dozen raw oysters, served with a seasonal mignonette of the moment
4 Cowabunga pizzas (vegetarian and vegan varieties, which may include kale/sunflower crema/garlic/chili flake, roasted pumpkin/pepita ricotta/fennel, or last-of-the season-tomatoes/meadowrella/oregano)
4 bottles of wine/pitchers of beer or cider (mix-and-match everything from responsibly-produced Muscadet, carbonic Pinot Noir, Pet Nat Grignolino, or Oyster Oyster’s very own beer – an umami-rich farmhouse saison named “Adult Ponies” made with oyster mushrooms, oyster yeast, local wheat and grain — designed in collaboration with and brewed by Black Narrows Brewing out of Chincoteague Island, VA)
Guests can supersize their experience with extras like fancy Champagne, special wines, and additional food and drink.
The name was inspired by a massive “2-Hour Parking” sign at the restaurant’s back garage entrance, but it’s also a tongue-in-cheek play on the dinner party’s two-hour time limit.
The team all has a big hand in design of the space. Two murals — one wall focusing on mushrooms + earth, and the other wall showcasing mermaids + sea — were designed by three artists hailing from Bogotá (Lorenzo Masnah)/Mexico City (Rex Bantron)/Boston (MerkAVeli), tying in the restaurant’s two namesake ingredients. Owner Max Kuller is a personal collector and lifelong fan of pinball machines, and he sourced two vintage, aquatic-inspired machines — Sea Witch and Whitewater — from the 80s and 90s (which will be sanitized between each use). The backbar is made of colorful, recycled skateboard decks (Rubba’s a longtime skater).
The space is perfect for the looming cooler seasons, as it is covered so can host rain or shine, and the team installed heated floors to keep things toasty during cold months. There are also large fans for increased air circulation in the open-air space.
“2-Hour Parking” will be hosted on Fridays and Saturdays (to start) with two nightly seatings — 5-7pm and 8-10pm. The package can be booked/prepaid through Tock.
RĀKO X OYSTER OYSTER: Sustainable Daytime Coffee Shop Pop-Up
Oyster Oyster is thrilled to partner with local Lorton, VA-based RĀKO Coffee Roasters on a daytime coffee shop pop-up launching on Saturday, September 26 and running through February. Operating every Wednesday through Sunday from 8am-2:30pm in front of the Oyster Garage, guests will find espresso carts dispensing made-to-order milk and alt-milk based espresso drinks, baked goods and teas from Chef Rubba, and a retail shop selling brewing essentials and bagged coffee.
Chef Rubba is creating several fresh baked goods for the shop, which may range from cinnamon roll-esque pumpkin hickory bark rolls, plus seasonal breads and scones of the day. He has also collaborated with the roasters on a unique Mushroom Tea, made with lion’s mane mushrooms, which Rubba says adds a creaminess to the tea’s mouthfeel, and is good for focus and energy.
RĀKO and Oyster Oyster came together over a shared ethos of sustainability. RĀKO focuses on sustainably-sourced single origin coffees, and roasts locally with environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient roasting practices. Their commitment to bettering the earth extends to everything from fully compostable cups, to a program where guests can return their coffee bags to be recycled and turned into park benches. They also share an eye for design, and RĀKO tapped local DC artist Emon Surakitkoson to create a mural backdrop and cup artwork for the pop up.”