There’s a reason why “breaking bread” with complete strangers can make you close friends by the end of the meal. Food breaks down barriers, it gives people something to talk about, a commonality. That’s why when Jordan Sawyer decided to buy and renovate Bristol Oyster Bar, he opted for a warmer environment and made tweaks to the menu that were more “share friendly.” Can you blame him? Oysters, especially during the summer in the Ocean State, are like catnip for native Rhode Islanders and visitors alike. Who wouldn’t want to sidle up to the bar and share a buck-a-shuck with their closest friends?
While working at Bristol Oyster Bar, Jordan knew that he wanted to open a restaurant in the Bay region, somewhere between Warren and Bristol. But, when he thought about the rapport he had with customers and knowledge about day-to-day operations of the oyster joint, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to capitalize. He then approached the previous owner about taking it off his hands.
“I considered my knowledge of Bristol Oyster Bar’s day-to-day operations, relationships with our guests and staff, and saw that as a significant advantage...I wanted to renovate to make the restaurant my own.”
As for the product, Jordan says that he likes to keep things strictly local. The restaurant sources different varieties of oysters from his own Aquidneck Oyster Farm, but the majority of their shellfish comes from the Ocean State Shellfish Co-op. Says Jordan, “We only buy and sell Rhode Island oysters. Rhode Island has the best oysters in the world, and we like to support our local farmers.” As for the pricing of the oysters themselves, the restaurant will still be doing dollar oysters on certain days. However, Jordan notes that not all of his product will be priced equally. The new owner has “compromised,” pricing more expensive varieties of the shellfish at two dollars on designated dates.