We are proud to have become known as the premier destination for seafood on the central Oregon Coast. It is our mission to give people “the best seafood experience of their lives” and we are honestly thrilled that not a day goes by that we don't hear exactly that from our customers.
Owner Laura Anderson comes from a small boat fishing family that plied the waters off Washington, Oregon and California for three generations. Trolling for salmon and harvesting crab in the summers on her dad’s commercial fishing boat gave her an appreciation for the fishing families and crew that bring Local Ocean its daily catch and an authentic understanding of its quality. Seafood was literally her “bread & butter” growing up.
Laura’s first job was washing dishes at little cafe at age 11 and she advanced her way up to waitress before leaving high school. Working her way through college and travel, she served customers in numerous coffee shops, chain restaurants, mom and pops, and fine dining establishments. All the while never contemplating a career in the industry.
In her early years Laura worked with artisanal fishermen as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Phillippines, followed by a year of international business in Hanoi, Vietnam. Not content to go back to restaurants or fish on her dad's boat, she went back to school and consulted multiple clients on seafood marketing and sustainability issues.
While the master's degree in marine resource management (Oregon State University 2000) was not a prerequisite for becoming a restaurateur, is has been partly responsible for the success of Local Ocean. Understanding the science and the policy of fisheries ensures that every dish served at Local Ocean passes her “red-face test” for sustainability. “I don’t always agree 100% with the sustainability ratings programs. I have dedicated my life to to knowing our local fisheries and when it comes to what we sell and don’t sell, the buck stops with me.”
Ask her what her favorite seafood is, and you'll get this answer: “It depends on the season or even just the whims of the day. But any day I can graze on a plate of sweet, succulent spot prawns is a good day.”
Chef Enrique Sanchez-Rodriguez learned the culinary arts from the ground up with Chef Patrick Wheeler at the Embarcadero Resort & Marina from 1995 to 2004. He met Charlie Branford in 2003, and was inspired by the culinary adventures of both Branford and Bruce Jackson, who responded to his desire to learn with enthusiasm! He loves to pass on this inspiration to his crew.
Indeed, Branford and Jackson's encouragement brought Enrique to the new concept restaurant they envisioned. A part of the Local Ocean team since the beginning, Enrique's passion is to “bring global flavors together on one plate,” following the fundamentals of fresh ingredients, tastes and textures. He likens the process to that of a play: the plate is an expression of his artistry, the food an expression of his soulful approach.
Fish Goddess Amber Morris is on site 5 days a week at our Bayfront location to answer all your seafood questions. When she's not pounding the docks looking for today's freshest catch, she is behind the fish case, filleting and wrapping your evening meal.
Her love of community shines through the close relationships she keeps with her valued customers and the more than 70 local fishermen she buys from. Don’t be surprised if Amber remembers you even if only met her once before. If you’ve been around Newport awhile she probably even knows your kid’s names and their Chinese sun signs. She’s often heard saying things like “Oh, that little monkey!” or “How’s your little rooster doing?” Truly a gem in our small community, Amber and her naughty little golder retriever Segar can often be found playing on Nye Beach before and after work.
Samantha Sugar brought her quick wit and adventurous palate to Local Ocean Seafoods in 2013. Leaving NYC in 2006, having built her management skills teaching public school and earning a master's degree in education, Sam was bound for Portland, Oregon. Always a voracious eater with an appreciation for food, Sam quickly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest region and the cuisine.
After cutting her teeth on the city’s diverse fare and microbrews, she set sail for the coast, where she quickly became captivated by all creatures of the briny sea. Immersing herself in the regional wine landscape (with a particular proclivity for Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noirs – as evidenced by the Local Ocean wine list) Sam was instrumental in building out Local’s acclaimed beer and wine program.
As deck boss, Samantha manages our service staff aiming for excellence in customer service. For the six years before joining the Local Ocean crew, Samantha managed several high volume and successful micro-brewpubs in Portland and Newport.
Her favorite quote is from the "The Walrus and the Carpenter" poem in "Through the Looking Glass," by Lewis Carroll:
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
What We Do
Local Ocean Seafoods is committed to the following mission: “to give people the best seafood experience of their lives." Our mission is guided by the following principles:
Provide our customers with immediate recognition, premium quality, total product accountability, excellent service and competitive prices.
Support fishing families by consistently offering a price premium to high-quality harvesters.
Provide meaningful work opportunities, fair compensation, and a safe, healthy work environment that encourages creativity, self-discipline, and personal and professional growth.
Support our local community through purchasing from other small businesses and local vendors.
Source packaging and other products that have the least footprint on the environment.
Whether you are coming in for our famous fish tacos or shopping for fresh crab in the fish market, Local Ocean aims to give you the best seafood experience of your life, in a setting which reflects the source of what you're eating – the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Bay and the Yaquina River.
We take sustainability very seriously here at Local Ocean Seafoods. The overwhelming majority of our seafood comes from right across the street, not trucked in from thousands of miles away. We also have a robust recycling program. We also have a great selection of salmon-safe certified wines. We would not be caught dead with farmed salmon or shrimp.
We also understand that sustainability is about more than just the environment; it’s about economics and equity as well. We pay top dollar to our fishermen for the best quality product available. We also are active in advocacy for better fishery management.
We are what the media likes to call the new generation of ‘natural capitalists’ or ‘socially responsible business.’ We know that we need to make a profit to stay in business, but we also recognize that there are limits to the natural capital on which our business depends. At the end of the day, we must respect the social and cultural context within which our business operates.
We are grateful to our many customers, vendors, and non-profit partners who are creating a better future for food, fisheries and coastal life.
Volumes have been written on the question “why local?” ranging from reduced carbon footprint, to food security and safety, to the value of recycling dollars in the local economy. And all of those are excellent points.
But we also like to flip this question around and ask, regarding seafood: “why import?” The founding premise of Local Ocean is that we have access to some of the most valuable natural capital in the world. Oregon seafood is sought worldwide for both quality and sustainability. When you’ve got the best right here, why go anywhere else?
Seating Policy & Reservations
We offer 20% of our total seats for reservations, up to 180 days in advance. However, the majority of our seating is walk-in customers, so if you can't make a reservation for the time you like, please come anyway. For parties of 8 or larger, please contact the restaurant directly at 541-574-7959.
About The Artist: Diane O'Leary (1935-2013)
Born in 1935, the extraordinary artist Diane O'Leary led a remarkable life. Raised in a small Texas college town, she encountered many accomplished individuals during her upbringing; her father was Irish and her mother was Native American, a member of the Comanche Indian tribe. Although she never took a class in art, Diane O'Leary worked as a commercial illustrator early in her life. She also played the piano, studied baroque literature (music), pursued nursing education (public health), and was fascinated by archeology. Over her life, she cemented her dedication to artistic expressions that stressed the equality and dignity of women.
In 1967, O’Leary moved from Texas to New Mexico, where she became an early leader in the renaissance in Native American art that blossomed in the Southwest at that time. In Taos, New Mexico, she studied under Canadian landscape painter Eric Gibberd and Taos founder Emil Bisttram. O’Leary was privileged to know and have occasional (sometimes withering) artistic criticism from Georgia O’Keefe during that formative period. O’Leary is perhaps best known for her sparse, stylized paintings of Native American figures.
O’Leary moved to Garibaldi, in Tillamook County, in 1989. While researching the Tillamook Bay jetties to advocate for their rehabilitation before Congress, she learned how the biodiversity of Tillamook Bay had diminished, which inspired her series, “The Living Waters of Tillamook Bay.” Those compelling prints, aimed at both children and adults, reflect her deep commitment to improve the conditions of our nation’s nearshore waters by mobilizing public opinion through art.
For her brilliantly colored collages celebrating the uncanny beauty of Oregon’s marine life, O’Leary mastered the Japanese art media of gyotaku, which starts with an impression taken from an actual fish. She learned to speak Japanese so she could communicate directly with gyotaku masters, and she is revered for being scientifically and anatomically faithful to her subject matter. Read more about O'Leary here. Many of her last works featuring anatomically scaled depictions of tide pool species are on display here at Local Ocean Seafoods. Numbered prints of the rougheye rockfish print are available for $175 each (unframed) from Local Ocean Seafoods owner Laura Anderson.
Food should taste good, and with seafood, freshness is as important as preparation. Local Ocean Seafoods buys fish directly from boats here in Newport – so you get it at its freshest. It's what makes our seafood taste so great.
Food should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, or our health. The fin fish at Local Ocean Seafoods is all wild. Wild harvest fisheries are clean and natural – no farmed salmon or shrimp on our menu.
“Local Ocean Seafoods makes it easy to be a locavore. Labels tell you where the seafood came from, how it was harvested – even the name of the boat that pulled it in.”
Food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. Local Ocean Seafoods pays top dollar directly to fishermen for the high-quality fish we serve. By eliminating the middle man, we can also serve our seafood at fair prices.