Chef Andrew Gruel to Open Raw Bar by Slapfish in Orange County
Orange County residents can now indulge in their favorite crave-worthy seafood dishes and oysters under one roof with the opening of Raw Bar by Slapfish. Founded by Chef Andrew Gruel—the culinary mastermind behind the 11-unit Slapfish, as well as food hall concepts Two Birds and Butterleaf —Raw Bar aims to become a local hangout, offering chilled seafood and oysters at affordable prices.
Opening in Huntington Beach in mid-January, Raw Bar boasts an array of oysters sourced from responsible seafood suppliers, as well as seafood charcuterie, smoked fish, and a rotating menu of Peruvian style raw fish with handcrafted sauces. Similar to a sushi restaurant, guests can sit at a 16-seat wrap around marble bar and watch their food being prepared, with the option to eat at tables for a full-service experience.
A barn door separates the restaurant from the original Slapfish location, offering easy access to the full Slapfish menu for those Lobster Grinder and Clobster Grilled Cheese fans. Imbibers can also choose from sixteen taps of local craft beers, ranging from two to five dollars for 12 to 16 ounce pours, as well as sake and wine. With “Oyster Sommeliers”, slurp-and-sip competitions, and oyster classes, Raw Bar promises a fantastic time and go-to destination for locals.
The idea behind Raw Bar has been years in the making, as Gruel has always wanted to open an oyster bar as part of his continued mission to bring sustainable seafood to the masses. “When the space next to Slapfish Huntington Beach became available, I saw it as an opportunity to bring my idea to life, with the goal of celebrating the oysters,” says Chef Andrew Gruel, founder and CEO. “Oysters are the only truly sustainable protein source, and with the opening of Raw Bar, we hope to add credibility to the conversation around oysters and their essential role in increasing seafood consumption. We also want to create a local hangout—a place where community members can come for incredible food, inexpensive drinks and great company.”
Founded by Gruel in 2011, Slapfish started as a food truck serving boat-to-plate seafood and quickly grew into 11 brick-and-mortar locations, with 150 in development. Raw Bar by Slapfish marks Gruel’s fourth restaurant concept, following the opening of TRADE Food Hall’s Two Birds and Butterleaf in early 2017. With a focus on chef-driven seafood dishes at both Slapfish and Raw Bar, Gruel aims to change the way consumers view seafood, increasing worldwide consumption and spreading the word that sustainable tastes better.
Raw Bar by Slapfish will be open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.