Raising the Oyster Bar
By Jessie Monsivais
As residents of the Water Street Market for about three or so years now, our team here at The Bend Magazine is constantly thrilled by the new and exciting happenings in regard to our neighbors. The first day we pulled up to the office to find the building, in which our old office was housed, being torn down, we let out expressions of happiness. For one, there is now only one sign in the Market that says "The Bend" now, as opposed to two (which if you've ever been to the Market to visit us, you probably will know of the confusion I speak about). And two, this was a sign of change on the horizon!
Long-time Corpus Christi staple, Water Street Oyster Bar, is still up and running despite renovations on the back of the house. Temporarily serving out of the Seafood Company located in the back of the Water Street Market, you can still enjoy your favorites off the same beloved menus from both the Oyster Bar and the Sushi Room (which is also temporarily closed for the reno)!
Since 1983, the business has been serving it up downtown with fresh oysters, seafood, and excellent service. President and CEO of Water Street Restaurants, Richard Lomax, shares it was time to invest in the 36-year-old infrastructure after Hurricane Harvey. “The hurricane gut-punched us, as it did everyone in town. We lost 40% of the staff. We just ran the front and did so well,” shares Richard. “The community has been great. It’s given every bit of value to our guests and us. When [the renovations] are complete, it will be built to run for another 36 years.”
Big projects are in store for the local conglomerate. Renovations to Water Street Oyster Bar are expected to reach completion in January. Richard teases what’s in store for Water Street Market in the coming year.
“Phase one is to rebuild the market to where we want it to be after the hurricane damage. Starting with investing in our flagship store, [Water Street Oyster Bar] – improving food and operations,” says Richard. “Then get the former Seafood Company open with a new outdoor dining space and then finally, move into filling the breakfast solution at the old Agua Java location.”
Soon to be complete with a new and beautiful oyster bar, the new ability to farm oysters right here in the Coastal Bend will be a big theme of the future Water Street Oyster Bar. “We’re building the stage to display local, high-quality, Texas maricultural oysters. Menu changes and highlights are focusing on the local oysters that Corpus Christi will soon be the mecca of,” Richard shares excitedly. “We’re so excited for the future of the Oyster Bar and the oyster farm."
The company has brought in a team member from Austin to hoe down the path of a three-year strategy for the block of Chaparral to Water Street. New developments to the former Seafood Company will feature a landscaped breezeway connecting the two streets with an outdoor corridor, set with a dining and bar component for a relaxed and fun atmosphere.
“We’re super excited to bring Chaparral back to life. We really want our block to be everything it needs to be for our community. Our mission statement is to enhance the value of where we live, work, and visit. We have a responsibility to make that block shine.”