Opening an oyster bar in late September (the beginning of oyster season) in a seafood town seems like a low-risk venture. But when Chris "Bozo" Vodanovich offered to sell Ed McIntyre the popular seafood joint he'd run for the past 38 years, McIntyre was on the fence.
"I was iffy at first," McIntyre says. "I already own four restaurants "After thinking about it and wanting to keep the oyster bar style from Bozo's, I decided to make the purchase."
The result is Mr. Ed's Oyster Bar and Fish House (3117 21st St., Metairie, 504-833-6310). McIntyre renovated the 4,400-square-foot restaurant, molding its menu and style into his own while keeping the standing oyster bar that attracted him to the space.
"This oyster bar has been an old-fashioned stand-up oyster bar for over 38 years," McIntyre says. "There aren't too many places that have that style anymore. People who come in and see that we're packed go straight to the oyster bar, have a drink, eat their oysters and go on about their business. It makes it easier on those people."
The restaurant has a wide selection of oyster dishes: raw, grilled, fried or drizzled with Buffalo sauce. The oysters come from Oakdale, La., and McIntyre says this year's harvest has been plentiful.
McIntyre got his start watching his parents run a barbecue restaurant when he was 7 years old. His parents sold the business before he was old enough to help maintain the restaurant. Passionate about restaurants, McIntyre began working at Louisiana Purchase Kitchen as a dishwasher at age 16.
"That was my first real job," McIntyre says. "After two years, I became a cook. I owe my inspiration to the owners over there. I'm still friends with them today."
McIntyre opened several delis throughout the region, beginning in 1989 with Mr. Ed's Deli on Veteran's Memorial Boulevard across from Dorignac's in Metairie. Since then, McIntyre has opened 14 restaurants ranging from burger joints to fine dining.
"It's been nonstop, and it's been exciting watching it all come together," McIntyre says.