September 15, 2016

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar in Portland, Oregon

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar

photo by: Roger/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar has been a Portland institution since 1907.

Talk about a family affair: For five generations, the Wachsmuth family has owned and operated Dan and Louis Oyster Bar, keeping the beloved Portland, Oregon, landmark going strong since 1907.

When Louis C. Wachsmuth first opened his business, City Oyster Co., he ran it as a wholesale and retail seafood store that served oyster cocktails. He was no stranger to the industry—he had grown up working on his family’s oyster farm in Washington and learned to shuck oysters at the tender age of 5.

In 1919, Wachsmuth took over the food bar next door and added his now-famous oyster stew to the menu. As his customer base grew through the years, he added several small dining rooms, filling each with his growing collection of steins and maritime objects.

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar

photo by: Tim Rodenberg/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Old plates and maritime objects decorate the walls.

In time, the restaurant came to be known as Dan and Louis Oyster Bar, named for Wachsmuth and his son Dan, who was a constant presence in the shop until his death in 1938. Louis died in 1957, and over the next several decades, the restaurant’s ownership passed from one family member to the next.

While the restaurant has expanded a few times in the last 100 years, and new family members have taken the helm, its location in Old Town on Ankeny Alley has never changed. Oysters are hand shucked outside the entrance, as they have been for many years. And its nautical theme, with maritime objects collected throughout the decades, is a nod to the family’s longstanding place in the seafood industry.

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar

photo by: katie wheeler/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Outdoor seating along Old Town's Ankeny Alley

Check out one of Portland’s oldest restaurants for yourself. Grab a seat at the bar, or head to the outdoor patio. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

Address: 208 SW Ankeny St., Portland, OR 97204

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.-9 p.m.

You’re Having: Oysters on the half shell and a bowl of Louis’ famous oyster stew. Wash it down with a glass of wine from the region.

Best Yelp Review: “I really enjoy this place. Fresh no-nonsense oysters. Hot delicious bread out of the oven and tasty clam chowder. It's a classic old Portland institution here with original decor from generations ago. Just love it.”

Lauren Walser headshot

Lauren Walser served as the Los Angeles-based field editor of Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about art, architecture, and public space, and hopes to one day restore her very own Arts and Crafts-style bungalow.

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