People Behind the Bar

Parker Stokes

Your Oysterman from the South

Parker Stokes

Bill and I have been friends for over twenty years. After all those years of eating great oysters at the bar, I now routinely bring the party to you.

My passion for downhill skiing brought me to the bar. It is an expensive sport to say the least. I looked around at ways to underwrite that sport and thought that Bill has a ton of fun. Why not serve some great oysters, maybe eat a few along the way, and make new friends?

I come by my love for seafood naturally. I grew up in the southeastern US; northern Florida to be specific. I spent most of my youth either on the Atlantic Ocean or  Gulf of Mexico as fishing was one of my Daddy’s two passions. It’s just part of living down south that you grow learning how to peel and devein shrimp, shuck oysters, and clean crabs. I started cooking when I was ten. By fourteen I was shopping and planning the family dinner. My Mama worked long hard hours at her beauty shop which was attached to the house. She’d only get a short break to eat dinner.  I wanted to have everything ready when she could join us. It might have been self-defense since my Daddy’s total approach to cooking was to slow fry everything in corn oil.

I first met Bill when my wife was pregnant with our twin daughters. She was not able to have oysters during that time and had one request upon the girl’s birth. She wanted oysters and sparkling wine. That was exactly what I prepared for her first meal home.

Maybe it was that desire/abstinence from oysters that was the beginning of my daughters’ love of them. They had their first oysters at Bill’s bar in the Los Gatos farmers market. They were all of eighteen months old. I consumed a lot of oysters in those days and they stood inquisitively by my side. One day they asked to try them so I gave each an oyster. I thought they might drink the liquor at most. I was very surprised to look down and see them both holding up empty shells and simultaneously asking, “More?”

From that point they had oysters every Sunday. Ultimately I had to set a limit with Bill upon arrival. I was shocked one day to discover that had consumed over $50 worth of oyster in a single session. It just became part of arriving at the bar to let Bill know the limit of the day.

Now they are both in college. One in California and the other in France. They have both worked with me at the bar for high volume service and Emma has gone on her on solo sessions. I guess you could say this has all come full circle.

Camila Velasco

Camila Velasco

I have known Camila for 14 years. She is a Santa Cruz Mountain girl. She is Latina and her parents come from Chile, South America. Her parents inspired in her a great passion for seafood. She was eating raw clams when she was 3 years old. She is a great Mom, raising two beautiful girls. Camila has supported me for many years. Camila loves it when the oyster bar is slammed with customers. She is famous for making oyster shooters for our customers.

 

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