Bobby Bass says that in his new MESA collaborative kitchen in New Albany, he’s trying to eliminate the gap between the kitchen and the dining room.
“Customers don’t often connect a face to their food, and we’re creating an experience in which chefs engage and customers can ask questions,” said Bass, who plans to open the space at 216 Pearl Street in mid-June.
He said the venue will play host to up to five events per week, featuring chefs he’s personally recruited, plus three to five in-house chefs. That way he can enjoy some of the positives about running a restaurant without the pressures involved in being tied to full-time hours. Bass is a real estate professional, and is opening the business with his wife, Ysha.
Talking about his first venture into the industry, he said he had never been so busy ironing out details and taking care of business issues.
While the space will have room to seat 20, it will also feature space for educational sessions, so that customers can connect with the chefs who prepare their food and see the action as it takes place. Among the chefs already on board for guest appearances at MESA are Scott Dickinson of The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Darnell Ferguson of SuperChefs, Josh Moore of Volare and Eric Morris of the Gospel Bird.
Bass said the experience will rival that of Chef’s Tables, the popular private affairs that sometimes take place in a small section of the kitchen at high-end restaurants.
In addition, there’s a retail boutique pantry, so that customers can select some of the accessories and ingredients used by the chefs to prepare their meals. He said the space will be equipped with high-end equipment, thanks to special arrangements he’s made with suppliers like Dine Company, Chefs Supply and Bonnycastle Appliances.
For now, MESA’s web site lacks details on scheduling, but that will change soon. For now, those interested can sign up there for a mailing list.