Taste & Toast your way through the waterview patios, The Raw Bar, The Burgee Bar and The Flag Room sampling Champagne & Shells, Tuna Tartar Tacos, The Blue Nectar Shooters & their very own brew “Midtown Oyster Stout” with General Operations Manager Charlie Holder, Chef James Mitchell and me. Treat your chariot to Waterfront parking central to everything in downtown Newport. Win a local gift of the month! Tag yourself #MidtownOysterBar & #NLandL @MidtownOysterBar Winner of the best photo will be announced Sunday Sept 30th
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Welcome to Newport Living & Lifestyles.
I’m Christon and I’m here with Charlie Holder of Midtown Oyster Bar, and he’s going to tell us a little bit about their specials and this amazing structure today.
We’re so happy to have you guys here and we can’t wait to show you the
place! Let’s go check it out!
All right so Charlie, what year did you guys open and tell us about the unique
structure. Well we opened in 2013. The two owners Patrick Kilroy and Larry and
Jessica Phillips had the idea of the building which most local Newporters
will remember as Salas’s Restaurant, which was an iconic restaurant here in
Newport for many many years, almost 60 years. So we took the building over in
2012, had to tear the whole thing down and rebuilt it in that year’s time and
opened up in 2013. Well I remember when you guys were completely demolished and
you opened up and I thought how in the world are they gonna fill this space?
It is expansive and you do fill it! It’s one of those if you build it they will come
scenarios. We get about 450 people from capacity but again it’s all spread
out three floors, multi rooms, multi bars, a couple decks. It’s become quite the space.
Most of the wood in here is a lot of reclaimed wood from different structures: barns,
warehouses and around the Northeast. Anything else unique that people might
find fascinating? Well I think, you know, just the room behind us, our grand room,
our flag room as people call it, with our 48-star American flag that’s a unique
kind of structure. You know the whole outlook of the place is
nautical yet colonial Newport. it’s got a really great feel to it.
So tell us about your chef. We have a great chef. Chef James Mitchell, Chef Mitch as
everyone has known him around Newport for 25-30 years, he’s been around. Extremely
talented and just a joy to have and a good friend of mine. All right well let’s
meet him, come on in Chef. Good afternoon, how are you doing? Welcome.
I’m well thank you. Good to see you Charlie. Thanks for having me. Absolutely.
Tell us a little bit about your tenure and your experience in the industry. I graduated from the Culinary
Institute of America in 1982, since then I moved to Newport became
chef at Castle Hill at a young age and never left town. Originally a New
Yorker, a transplant now, a New England Sports fan. I’m an ex-Patriot as they say
I’ve been in town since early 80s. folks bought a house here in late 70s
A perfect time as a teen to come and find a new playground, I’ve never left.
Well I love some of your very unique dishes: the octopus and the tuna tartare
tacos? Yes. Those are very good and you can’t find octopus in Newport
So that’s very unique to Midtown. How did you come up with that idea? Well ironically I never cooked
octopus before working at the Midtown Oyster Bar. However, I happened to have a
Greek kid in the kitchen when we opened, buddy a Charlie’s became my sous chef.
He had worked in various places that had it and he showed me the way and so
I got to give credit to mr… Well you can pronounce his name….
“Kourtsonis”, yeah, all right that sounds about right
anyway there’s a lot of myth about cooking octopus, some people put a
penny in the pot or a cork in the pot. We throw it in the pot for four hours in the
oven with three simple ingredients and it cooks itself. Well it’s delicious, congratulations.
And you are very unique
to your tuna tartar tacos right? That’s correct another ripoff!
I don’t invent a lot even after 40 years in the industry. yeah, you know you see
things and read and you know you become a sponge and having studied continental
cuisine 100 years ago, I’m still learning today and a lot of it comes by
dining out, reading, seeing internet you know.
Well hopefully look at an opportunity to taste that today. I think you will
What else are we gonna take a look at? An Oyster shooter, You’ve never done
before. I’ve never done an Oyster Shooter, I’m a little afraid to do that.
You’ll be fine. okay, I’ll be fine afterwards- finer Yes! Finer afterwards…
Well let’s go check some things out. Let’s go do it.
That’s really good!
Wow that’s good. That’s good! I was a little afraid with the Oyster Flavor but that’s delicious!
Thanks so much for having us today Charlie! It’s been a pleasure. So much fun.
We look forward to seeing you, on Newport Living and Lifestyles.