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Christopher Dreyer Talks About the First 20 Years of Oyster Bar at Palace Station

That memorable moments, the lines and more.

Christopher Dreyer
Christopher Dreyer
Amelinda B Lee

The Oyster Bar at Palace Station celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. The restaurant, based on the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station in New York City, came out of a love for good food and turned into the type of place that people will stand in line to get one of the 18 seats that line the bar. Here, Christopher Dreyer, the executive chef of Palace Station, talks about some of the crazy things that have happened over the years, guests flying in just to eat here and more.

Did you think an oyster bar would have such long lines of people waiting to eat?
I think that the original design of the Oyster Bar was geared toward a small, intimate group of 18 people with a common love of good food. It was a specialty restaurant meant to compliment our steakhouse, The Charcoal Room, and offer our guests something unique. Soon as we opened it took off. People love the interaction with the team members as well as each other. The design of the Oyster Bar promotes that family setting similar to a chefs table in a restaurant or your dinner table at home.

What have you learned in the first 20 years of running Oyster Bar?
I have only been running the Oyster Bar here at Palace Station for the last two years. Our focus is on quality and consistency. We want our guests to have a memorable, one of a kind experience interacting with the chefs and service staff but also have a consistent food experience; making it great every time.

What were you thinking about in terms of design of the restaurant?
It is reminiscent of a coastal seafood restaurant with hints of driftwood for a simplistic, rustic elegance.

Has Vegas embraced the restaurant? How?
Vegas, as well as our guests from out of town, have made this place a huge destination spot for dining. I have guests comment to me that the food is worth the wait. I have also had guests tell me that they flew in just to have lunch and are flying back out of town later that day. Many guests tell me this is the first place they go, even if they just drove in and it is 3 a.m.

What’s changed recently at the restaurant? How have the crowds changed? How do you address that?
We have a very diversified group of people in this restaurant. I believe that we have seen a big swing to out of town guests due to our Yelp rating in the city. We have 1,200-plus reviews with a 4.5-star rating. When people search for a great place to eat in Vegas the Oyster Bar is at the top of the search. 

What’s the most unexpected thing that happened over the past 20 years?
I have heard stories of famous celebrities dining incognito. I can't tell you who because what happens in Vegas. I can give you a hint though. Facebook.

How about the craziest thing?
It’s the sum of many smaller parts that make the whole. I strongly feel that the atmosphere of this special restaurant inspires people to be themselves and do things like: picking up everyone's tab eating at the time, the whole restaurant doing the wave, breaking out in song, and coming back every year on the same day. I don’t believe I have ever seen these things at any other restaurant.

What's the must-order dish of the moment?
For me? Hands down, the pan roast, and make it a 7 if EZE or Ricardo are working. Everyone loves that dish and it is our most popular. If you want a treat, ask for the bull roast on the secret menu. 

What would you tell diners to order at Oyster Bar the first time they come in?
I am biased, the gumbo or the pan roast. I have people in from the South frequently that tell me that the gumbo is in the top, if not the best they have ever had. The pan roast is a cornerstone to the restaurant and my go to. When I am feeling adventurous, I go with the Alaskan Chowder (white) and wash it down with a cold IPA.

What's on tap for the future?
We are looking forward to continuing to honor the legacy that has become the Oyster Bar at Palace Station; good food and great people coming together to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience.

Oyster Bar

2411 West Sahara Avenue, , NV 89102 (702) 367-2411 Visit Website

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