Chris Parsons — the man behind now-closed Winchester restaurants Catch and Parsons Table and a co-founder of (though no longer involved with) the acclaimed Steel & Rye in Milton — is opening his dream restaurant in Boston this week. The Oyster Club at the Heritage is set to open in the Heritage on the Garden building at 79 Park Plaza on Saturday, July 27, in the space that was most recently occupied by Michael Schlow’s Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar and Via Matta before that.
The Oyster Club at the Heritage will highlight products from New England’s bountiful fisheries, and it will be centered around its oyster bar, where diners will be able to relish in the theatrics of oyster shucking and raw bar preparation. The oyster bar will have space for 19 diners, and the restaurant will also include a second bar with space for 28, a dining room that can accommodate over 100, a sizable seasonal patio, and a 30-person private dining room.
Parsons enjoyed success and acclaim at his previous restaurants, but the dream was always to open a seafood restaurant in the heart of Boston.
“I’ve always loved cooking seafood, just everything about it,” Parsons told Eater earlier this year. “From catching the fish to preparing it to serving it. We are so fortunate with the fresh catch off our shores. I just want to serve fresh, amazing product, get out of the way, and let it shine on the plate.”
The restaurant’s interior was designed by Brookline-based Sousa Design Architects, and it features elegant millwork, textured leather, polished wood, and brushed silver accents. It has the look and feel of a yacht club — or an actual yacht.
The Oyster Club at the Heritage’s menu will obviously feature oysters, but the restaurant is more than just a slick spot to eat raw seafood. There will be a daily lobster special, pan-roasted fish, and an extensive list of tinned, potted, and smoked fish, the latter made in-house. Oh, and there will be rosé. The bar will also serve a selection of crisp whites, French whites, various pinot noirs, craft beer, cocktails, and Sheppy’s Cider (which is a 200-year-old cider brand from the United Kingdom).
“I think it will be a great pairing with our pan-roasted mussels,” Parsons told Eater earlier this year.
Parsons is a fourth-generation fly fisherman, and he owes much of his reverence for the bounty of New England’s fisheries to this fact. He’s eager to let the product speak mostly for itself.
“It will be our spin on regional classics,” Parsons previously told Eater. “It’s the way I know I like to eat seafood: Take the classics and just update them a bit but again, don’t overcomplicate it. Just let this amazing product shine brightly.”
This weekend, the Oyster Club at the Heritage will be open for dinner only, but starting on Monday, July 29, it will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. until close. (Parsons and crew are waiting to get an idea of what the neighborhood needs before they determine what time “close” will be.)
And if it’s not raw bar and seafood you’re after, you’re in luck: Parsons is also planning a pressure-fried chicken joint called Lily P’s in the Genzyme headquarters in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. (Okay, Lily P’s will also definitely have oysters. But it’s mostly about the pressure-fried chicken.) Construction on that restaurant has begun, so it’s just a matter of time before Kendall gets a taste of what Parsons is cooking, too.