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Menu Talk with Pat and Bret

Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster in Washington, D.C., supports local producers and his employees

The 2023 James Beard Foundation Award winner for Outstanding Chef discusses his approach to doing business


Rob Rubba is the chef of Oyster Oyster in Washington, D.C., which, despite the name, is a mostly vegan restaurant. One of the ‘oyster’s in the name stands for oyster mushrooms, and the other is for the actual sea creatures, which apart from being delicious are regenerative animals that help shore up the coastlines and riverbanks where they grow while also helping to purify the water. The single oyster dish on the menu, from a local producer, of course, is the only item that is not vegan.

Sustainability and connection to the environment and his community are hallmarks of Rubba’s approach to running his business, which uses all sorts of local and seasonal ingredients while managing food waste and also looking after the welfare of his employees.

His food is no joke either. He was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine Magazine last year, and this year he won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef in the country. 

Rubba recently discussed his restaurant, his cooking, and his priorities.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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