Mo’s is on the Newport waterfront. Or perhaps we should say Mo’s are on the waterfront, because there are two of them in Newport, across the street from each other – Mo’s Restaurant and Mo’s Annex. (There are even more Mo’s along the Oregon coast.) Newport’s Mo’s are surrounded by a dockside sprawl of fish markets, seafood packing companies, the occasional wax-museum-type tourist trap, and stores that advertise they will smoke any fish, meat, or fowl you bring in.
We love eating at the Annex. What a view! The colorful eating shed is perched above Yaquina Bay, allowing diners to look out over the water and the commercial fleet berthed at its dock, and to watch sport fishermen cleaning their day’s catch. In the distance, sailboats skim across the Bay.
Mo’s makes a grand bouillabaisse thick with clams, shrimp, oysters, crab, cod, halibut and salmon in a light tomato sauce. There are fine deep-fried shrimp and clams; and you can’t go wrong with a “Cannonball Express,” which is a bread bowl filled with chowder. Oysters for oyster shooters, oyster cocktail, or oyster stew come from Mo’s oyster beds on Yaquina Bay.
The chowder on which Mo’s reputation has been built for more than half a century is thick and creamy, stocked with pieces of clam, with a faint smoky taste. We like this chowder; but what we like even more is the oddly named variation that Mo’s makes, listed on the menu in the category of seafood stews as slumgullion. Slumgullion is clam chowder given a special marine sweetness by adding shrimp: a terrific combination, and with a salad and a hunk of bread, a royal supper.