Why change something that isn't broken? In other words, why would The Tasting Room, packed to the rafters during most happy hours and into the night, add an oyster bar and full-service bar to its fan-winning equation, requiring an end to its retail wine sales?
"You always have to keep the energy going or you're going to die on the vine," TTR owner Jerry Lasco tells CultureMap. "People want to go where there are people and action."
Beyond that, the Lasco Enterprises president and CEO admits that he has been entertaining the idea of the oyster addition for a number of years. No small factor in the decision, Lasco says that he personally loves oysters and champagne.
"Oysters are fantastic, they go with everything that you ever want to drink, whether it's beer, or wine or champagne or even vodka shots,"he says. "And they're good for your health."(wink, wink)
Earlier this week, Lasco introduced the oyster bar/fresh seafood concept at The Tasting Room Uptown Park to some 150 friends and customers. While the bartender poured Moet & Chandon and mixed a variety of cocktails, guests gravitated to the chandelier-laced party room where a vast, cold seafood buffet beckoned. Baked oysters in various flavors were offered fresh from the ovens. (Raw oysters are $3 each, baked $12 for three.)
By the way guests loaded their plates with lobster, fresh-shucked oysters, crab claws and boiled shrimp, the move was brilliant. If the program proves popular at The Tasting Room in Uptown Park, Lasco says that the concept will be expanded to the sister location at CityCentre.
State liquor laws require that with the addition of cocktail service, TTR can no longer offer retail wine sales. It's an easy trade-off according to Lasco.