If you’re walking down Sansom Street, you’ll notice a plywood box has gone up over the facade of the-artist-formerly-known-as-the-Sansom-Street-Oyster-House… which means that the construction has officially started on the anticipated spring opening of Oyster House, which is the restaurant’s new name and which will be run by father-and-son team David Mink and Sam Mink. A little history – David Mink ran the SSOH back in the days before Cary Neff (currently of Coquette) took it over (and then closed it after filing for bankruptcy proteciton).
Sam Mink let us take a peek inside the under-construction spot today. No good photos, as there’s not much left but a long empty space, but Sam let us see the architect’s drawings and gave us a great verbal walk-through of what the Oyster House will look like, plus, he dropped the name of his chef. Click after the jump to find out.
First up: Greg Ling has signed up to be Oyster House’s chef. This talented guy was the opening chef of the hot kitchen at Raw and had stints at Rx, Django and Deuce before dropping off the Philly grid for a while. We’re excited to hear he’s back and will be behind the line.
As for the interior, which was designed by Brett Webber Architects, rustic and industrial are the two words that kept coming up as Mink described what would eventually fill the space. As you might be able to tell from the above photo, the wall that once divided the restaurant area behind the bar (along with just about everything else in the joint) has been demolished and replaced with steel support beams, which will remain exposed. The brick walls will also be exposed, but whitewashed, and they’ve even found a place for the family collection of antique oyster plates (Mink’s grandfather, who owned a bar nearby, assembled an assortment of about 400). Tables will be made of reclaimed wood, the bar will have a classic marble top and a subway-tiled back, and the restaurant’s facade will be replaced with floor-to-ceiling glass.
Best of all, the L-shaped oyster bar will showcase, well, the oysters! Mink plans on showing off the raw goods in prominent display cases on beds of crushed ice; guests will be able to belly up to the oyster bar and watch the shuckers in action.
Mink emphasizes that despite the changes, he still wants Oyster House to be a place where people can come “three, four, five times a week. We don’t want this to be a special occasion restaurant.” Happy hours are on the agenda, “reasonable” prices and Mink is tossing around the idea of doing some sort of clambake.
The opening is still planned for ‘Spring 2009,’ which, as we all know, when it comes to restaurants, is about as specific as anyone can get.