Why is San Francisco so ripe for culinary adventure? We attempt to peal the surface of this question by asking a few of the restaurants featured at our Get Hungry! gallery show currently up at Lomography SF to reveal a little more about their process, what inspires them and something you never knew…
This week we spoke with Hog Island Oyster Company Co-Founder John Finger and Greg Hinds, the manager at Hog Island Oyster Bar.
What do you feel makes your restaurant unique?
We actualize the farm-to-plate experience with shellfish. Not too many oyster bars have a farm in their own back yard! We grow the majority of the oysters and clams we serve on our menu at our farm on Tomales Bay, CA, 49 miles north of the San Francisco. The additional shellfish, brought in for variety, we purchase direct from small-family owned farms that we have personally visited, surveyed and approved.
What is the most delicious thing you have ever eaten?
Our clam chowder on a cold day! Next to that, I really should say oysters, but I had a pork porterhouse with toasted carrot bead and red wine redux over wilted greens. That stopped the presses.
When did you know you wanted to be in the business of food?
I grew up cooking, and growing vegetables for our family, but I suppose I first knew when I was in college, and decided that I wanted to combine my love of food and the oceans/bays. I was in my 20’s, fresh out of college and new to the Bay Area. San Francisco opened my eyes to a world of culinary diversity. My gut instinct said this was the place to launch a great oyster adventure.
How would you describe the overall concept of your restaurant?
Shellfish-centric! The freshest and most thoughtfully procured local shellfish and seafood served up in a casual, friendly and fun environment.
What do you think is the most important ingredient for good food?
Locality. What I enjoy most about traveling is eating what the locals eat.
What is one thing that inspires you to come up with a new dish?
Fresh ingredients from local farms and farmers’ markets, especially the first of the season of something. And innovation: tradition with a fresh twist!
Tell us something that not many people know about your restaurant.
Not only do we grow our own shellfish, but we grow some of the veggies, as well. And our menu changes every day, based on what’s available at that moment from the local farms. You never know what may come your way…
Be sure to check out Hog Island Oyster Co. through a plastic lens on display until Saturday April 28th, more details here.