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The Found Oyster Team Shores Up a New Seafood-Focused Project in Highland Park

The unnamed restaurant lands on York, and will focus on the foodways of Charleston and the coastal American south.

Oysters and clams on ice at Found Oyster with a red table.
Oysters and clams from Found Oyster.
Wonho Frank Lee

East Hollywood’s Found Oyster team is on the expansion path, plotting a new kind of East Coast seafood destination in Highland Park. The unnamed new project from the Last Word Hospitality team will land at 4701 E. York Boulevard late next year, and should feature one of the city’s best new raw bars when it opens.

While plans for the project, submitted through the city of Los Angeles, call for an indoor-outdoor, partially U-shaped space with a possible upscale diner aesthetic, Adam Weisblatt from Last Word tells Eater this morning that many of the details are still in flux, from design elements to hours to the name itself. What is for sure, though, is that this new project will move south from the New England perspective that Found Oyster carries, with a planned focus on Charleston and the larger Southeast coast of the United States. Chef-partner Ari Kolender, who hails from the region and cooked in Charleston for years, will be running the new restaurant.

“The Last Word model, at this point,” says Weisblatt, “is: How do we bring back historic spaces, when possible, and how do we bring in partners into the culinary world, and design projects around them?” Last Word, which Weisblatt co-founded with Holly Fox in 2014, also operates Same Same Thai on Sunset and the long-running Red Dog Saloon in the high desert city of Pioneertown. In partnership with Kolender, their restaurant Found Oyster has become one of the most sought-after reservations in the city. “You layer in real talent with passion,” says Weisblatt, “and you let those people be creative and you see what it can do.”

The new restaurant space was for decades an auto body shop and showroom, dating back to the early 1930s in historic Highland Park. Weisblatt says the incoming project will be “a little bit grander” than Found Oyster in its design and size, but ultimately this is still a small restaurant space with some shaded outdoor seating. In addition to the raw bar, Kolender’s culinary team will also use a wood-fire grill to prepare dishes.

As for timing, Weisblatt expects the upcoming project to open in late 2022 at the earliest, following months of design, build, and finish, as well as menu creation (and naming) from Kolender and the team.

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