"The oysters you eat today slept last night at Oyster Bay."
Last night the Legendary Olympia Oyster House was destroyed by fire. It was a tragic conclusion to what was perhaps the most dangerous Lakefair festivals of all time.
The Oyster House claimed to be “the oldest seafood restaurant in the State of Washington”. It began as the Olympia Oyster Company in 1900, and they eventually opened a small bar in the corner of the facility. By the 1920s they had grown into a full-blown restaurant. The Oyster House became famous across the region and was a tourist destination for decades (particularly during the period when Route 99 was still running through downtown Olympia).
It was closed for a while during the 90s when the restaurant was between owners. In fact, when I moved to Oly in 1994, there was no Oyster House. I was working at Kinko’s when our regular customer Linda (the woman who owned the old Dairy Queen on Capitol Blvd which is also now gone), came in to copy some menus. She happily announced “We’re reopening The Oyster House!” and she paused for anticipated excitement. Except I had no idea what Oyster House was. She was disappointed in my reaction.
When the place reopened, it was indeed an incredible gift to the town. Now I FINALLY had a place to take family members when they came to visit me from out of town! There were not a lot of “nicer” restaurants in Oly at the time, and certainly not many located right on the sound (there still aren’t many). I only went to the Oyster House once or twice a year, but I sure was happy it existed.
My heart is broken. RIP my old friend.