She started out selling char-grilled oysters at local farmers’ markets in Baltimore three years ago, but now Jasmine Norton, an African American female chef and entrepreneur, is opening her first permanent location of The Urban Oyster in April 2019. The restaurant, which will serve oyster dishes in a more laid-back environment, will be the first ever woman-owned and Black-owned oyster bar in Maryland.
Jasmine has loved eating oysters ever since her father introduced it to her. She wanted other people to appreciate oysters as well, but there were not so many affordable restaurants that serve them. And she noticed that the majority of them usually exuded a rather sophisticated atmosphere that wouldn’t really resonate with lower income customers.
That’s where Jasmine’s idea of a casual oyster bar came to mind. The Urban Oyster will have the street food vibe with up-tempo music, mural paintings, brass-colored chairs, and most especially excellent quality food. They will serve her best-sellers including oyster tacos and char-grilled oysters topped with cheeses and sauces, and new seafood and non-seafood items as well.
Jasmine’s concept is larger than the business side. She also gives back to the community by feeding the homeless, donating to organizations that combat food deserts in Baltimore, as well as hold clothing drives on National Service Day.
Moreover, because she started the business by participating in farmers’ markets, pop-up events, and festivals, she initially learned to form relationships with the customers on a more personal level. That’s why despite launching her first permanent location, The Urban Oyster will still remain at farmers’ markets and Jasmine is also planning to launch a food truck.
For more information about Jasmine Norton and/or The Urban Oyster, visit www.theurbanoyster.com