Since opening in 2012, the Parish has been Portland's outpost for Cajun culture on the west side—but especially for every possible permutation of the almighty oyster: Baked oysters, fried oysters, and especially raw oysters.
Opened by Tobias Hogan and Ethan Powell of Williams avenue's Eat: An Oyster Bar—surreptitiously the main supplier for most oysters you eat at any restaurant in Portland—it's been one of Portland's finest all-round seafood restaurants since opening, from shrimp etouffee to a soft shell crab roll we described, when it opened, as being "what every fast-food fish sandwich aspires to be, dressed with mayo and pickles like a Big Mac but with a delicious, crisp-fried crab in place of a soggy tilapia patty."
But last night, September 8, the Parish did not open as expected. And today, it remained dark.
Ominously, the bar shelves have been stripped clean. Boxes are strewn around the restaurant, and tables lack chairs. The Parish is closed, and according to staff at sister restaurant Eat: An Oyster Bar, the Parish will not be reopening as the Parish; they also said there will be an announcement soon as to the disposition of the space.
The owners are not yet ready to make an announcement, however, and have not responded to requests for comment.
After what seemed like a sudden oyster boom, it seems like the tide is again receding. The Parish is the second major oyster hall to close this year, after Trent Pierce's B+T Oyster bar also announced its closure. The high-profile Olympia Oyster Bar, meanwhile, lost its chef after a couple rocky early reviews.
In our 2015 Restaurant Guide, we wrote that the diminished space was still serving the high quality of seafood it had been delivering for four years.
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"A cold seafood salad was small, delicate and impeccably arranged with poached Spanish octopus and white shrimp," we wrote, "steamed Northwest clams and local tomato, all tossed in a delightfully tart basil lemon vinaigrette.Cucumber and fennel salad came with a pungent buttermilk-feta dressing and tiny toasted-biscuit breadcrumbs that gave a lively crunchiness to each bite. "
One of our writers visited Sunday, and reported a similarly excellent experience. But as it stands, it appears that might be the last meal we get to have there. Eat: An Oyster Bar remains open—but the Parish is no longer accepting congegrationers.