2023 Chefs

Rob Rubba

Oyster Oyster

Washington, DC

Saturday, March 9th at the Grand Tasting & Auction

Three big names in local hospitality are uniting to bring DC a restaurant that puts the planet first. Restaurateur and sommelier Max Kuller of Estadio, Chef Rob Rubba formerly of Hazel, and bartender Adam Bernbach formerly of 2 Birds 1 Stone hope to open Oyster Oyster in 2019.  

Oyster Oyster is inspired by an article. Back in April 2017, Saveur printed a story called “What Dinner Might Look Like in a Future of Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels.” Though it predated the devastating United Nations’ climate change report that came out last month, the article asks, “In a world where tuna are extinct, meat is unsustainable, and agriculture is forced to be nearly completely reinvented, what ingredients become central to debating how we will eat in the future?” 

The answer largely rests on consuming a plant-based diet and bivalves, most notably oysters and mushrooms. “It was that ‘ah hah’ moment for us,” Kuller says. “That helped us define what we are focused on.” One “Oyster” in the name of the restaurant refers to bivalves, and the other to oyster mushrooms.  

Rubba and Kuller have been friends for years, but what solidified their bond enough to move forward as partners is a shared diet. Kuller has been a vegetarian for 22 years and Rubba made the switch a year ago after carefully contemplating how he and his family members consume. “We were brainstorming and we shared a belief that sustainability is the most important topic with restaurants and dining going into the future,” Kuller says. “Plant-centric cuisine is good for sustainability.” 

Rubba, who has a background in fine dining under big names like Gordon Ramsay, Charlie Trotter, Guy Savoy, and George Perrier, isn’t letting any one cuisine guide his cooking at Oyster Oyster. The seasons and the ingredients will take care of that.  

  • Washington City Paper