Love Food on the Menu

Once a wine-only destination, The Tasting Room branches out with oysters and booze

Former wine-only destination branches out with oysters and full bar

Tasting Room oysters
Oysters are new on The Tasting Room menu. Photo courtesy of The Tasting Room
Jerry Lasco, Laura Lasco, Tasting Room, June 2016
The Tasting Room owners Jerry and Laura Lasco. Photo by Jeffrey Heyman
The Tasting Room, June 2016
The Tasting Room bar tender whips up martinis to go with the raw and baked oysters. Photo by Jeffrey Heyman
The Tasting Room oysters June 2016, Michelle Carr, Ryan Fernanez
Michelle Carr and Ryan Fernandez sample The Tasting Room seafood fare. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Tasting Room oysters
Jerry Lasco, Laura Lasco, Tasting Room, June 2016
The Tasting Room, June 2016
The Tasting Room oysters June 2016, Michelle Carr, Ryan Fernanez

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.

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