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Here’s Why Local Oysters May Be Hard to Find in the Bay Area for a While

Plus, a new Moroccan restaurant in the Marina and more food news

Oysters and caviar from Hog Island Hog Island Oyster Co.
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Sensing a distinct lack of locally harvested oysters on Bay Area restaurant menus lately? You’re not alone. As of December 26, the California Department of Public Health has halted the harvesting of any oysters in Tomales Bay. SFGATE reports the dynamic has played out a number of times in the past: when there’s heavy rainfall in the North Bay, farmland fecal matter and wastewater runs into the Bay, rendering oysters inedible for an amount of time. While this is a typical seasonal occurrence, this year’s storm parade caused more flooding than usual.

In the meantime, many restaurants have looked to the Pacific Northwest for oyster sourcing — think Skookum oysters coming from Washington state. But importing fees can rack up. Hog Island Oyster Company co-founder John Finger told SFGATE he’s paying double what he normally would for oysters. Even when the rain ends, companies will need to wait roughly five days to make sure the oysters are safe to consume. “When you have this much rain in a short period of time, it’s really hard to manage,” Finger told the outlet. “So we just do the best we can.”

Celebrity San Francisco chef pulls out of Las Vegas expansion

Industry icon Dominique Crenn has pulled out of the Sundry food hall at the UnCommons in southwestern Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Michelin-starred chef will “pause” her plans to open taco and mezcal-centric La Madrina and instead focus on other projects in 2023. It’s unclear if Crenn will proceed with her Paris restaurant plans.

This celeb-backed chicken chain will open in Oakland

Dave’s Famous Chicken, which is partially financed by Canadian-born rapper and actor Drake, will open on Friday, January 20 at 2228 Broadway in Uptown Oakland. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the location will take over the former Old Brooklyn Cafe & Bakery.

San Jose Vietnamese grocer expands with second outpost

Dai Thanh Supermarket opened its second of two new locations at 1641 North Capitol Avenue in San Jose this week. The Mercury News reports the longtime San Jose favorite sold its original downtown location, the popular business’ home for more than 35 years, to open this North Capitol Avenue location and another on Tully Road in June 2022.

Moroccan restaurant opens in former Marina bakery space

A new Moroccan restaurant called L’Mida, which comes from the owners of Khamsa in the Mission, opened at 2359 Chestnut Street, in the former Chestnut Bakery space. What Now SF originally reported the opening, but Tablehopper brings details of the menu: the new restaurant serves maakouda (potato fritters), tagines, and numerous flatbreads.