Tag Archives: MESA

Talented baker
Lydia Sprigler.

Letter From the Editor | June/July 2018

By Angie Fenton   

The Extol Team is thrilled to have Lydia Sprigler as the subject of our featured cover story. The winner of MESA’s Kid Baking Contest, Lydia wowed the judges with her sweet skills and will be the guest of honor at our launch party, which is 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. June 21 at MESA, 216 Pearl St. in New Albany. Attendees of the free, family-friendly event will get a chance to enjoy Lydia’s baking and other appetizers at this edition of our signature event. We hope you’ll join us. By the way, if you have a budding young baker in your family, Food Network contacted MESA KIDS (coming soon to New Albany) and asked for help finding talented kids ages 8 to 13 to cast for season 5 of the network’s Kids Baking Championship show. You can find more information at www. mesakidscookingschool.com.

Talented baker Lydia Sprigler.

Talented baker
Lydia Sprigler.

In this issue, we remember and celebrate the life of Bekki Jo Schneider, who made Derby Dinner Playhouse a must-visit Southern Indiana institution. We are grateful to Jon Huffman and Arts-Louisville.com for allowing us to share his tribute to Bekki Jo.

It has been enjoyable watching basketball standout Romeo Langford mature into a young man who is preparing to head to Indiana University. We caught up with the Hoosier for a quick Q&A and photo shoot at The Pepin Mansion, where he, once again, displayed why he’s a fan favorite on and off the court.

Romeo Langford with fans Elliott Baker, 7, and his sister Eve Baker, 5.

Romeo Langford with fans Elliott
Baker, 7, and his sister Eve Baker, 5.

Amid the articles and columns about summer fun, food, exploring Southern Indiana (and beyond), sports, fitness, fashion, home renovation and philanthropy, you’ll also find several though-provoking first-person pieces. Zach McCrite shares an honest account of his recent 80-pound weight loss. Ray Lucas imparts the wisdom he learned from his father. Guest contributor Amy Gesenhues gives a glimpse of her family’s 100-year garden. And Miranda McDonald details a recent trip that includes coming to terms with what it means to be divorced.

Many thanks to our advertising partners for their support, which allows us to remain a free publication. And, all of us at Extol greatly appreciate you, our readers.

 

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-39-26-pm

SWEET SKILLS

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-39-26-pm

By Angie Fenton

Photos by Danny Alexander

BAKING DYNAMO WINS MESA’S FIRST-EVER KIDS BAKING COMPETITION

Lydia Sprigler rushed into MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in downtown New Albany, her face flushed, hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, carrying the now-cold sweet bread she’d baked to audition for the venue’s inaugural Kids Baking Competition.

The Highland Hills Middle School student had just come from volleyball practice, recalled her mother Adrienne Sprigler, and was surrounded by budding chefs 8- to 13 years old carrying their own freshly-baked versions of delectable breads, eager to impress the judges.

Then, the auditions began – and Lydia was selected to go first.

Despite serving up a cold version of her sweet bread and arriving straight from her athletic practice, the judges were impressed with her knowledge and passion. When they whittled down the group of 30 hopefuls, Lydia soon learned she had been selected to compete in the first round along with five other competitors.

In the initial round, the 13-year-old and her peers created cookies by scratch in front of a live audience. Judges, attendees and online voters picked Lydia and three others the best bakers of the evening.

In round two, the four creative cooks each baked 24 donuts from their favorite recipe in 1.5 hours. At the end of the night, Lydia – along with her peers Jayla and Sierra – advanced to the finale.

Round three, the final leg of the competition, required each baker to produce 24 cupcakes and once again wow the judges, those voting online and the live audience at MESA, 216 Pearl St., where the contest had been hosted. Hundreds of people watched the finale via Facebook Live, many sending comments of support for their favorite competitor. (This writer observed the girls in person and was impressed by all three.)

When the finale was finished, each baker received comments from the judges, including constructive criticism and helpful advice. “Lydia, you’ve been smashing it every single week – I’ve ever had.”


“YOUR OATMEAL COOKIES – THOSE WERE THE MOST WONDERFUL COOKIES I’VE EVER HAD.–CHEF LIZ MARTINO TO 13-YEAR-OLD BAKER LYDIA SPRIGLER, WINNER OF MESA, A COLLABORATIVE KITCHEN’S FIRST-EVER KIDS BAKING COMPETITION


“This entire competition, you’ve just been consistently in the top,” added Adrienne Holland of Adrienne & Co. Bakery and Café at the finale. “You’ve really been knocking it out of the park. I love your no-nonsense approach.”

Lydia listened intently, her face serious, as the judges then suggested she slightly lessen her use of bold flavors with a whipped cream filling to stave off overpowering tastes and use the most of her time since she was first to finish.

Anxiously, the three girls lined up against the counter as Liz and Adrienne prepared to announce the champion: “And the winner of MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen’s first annual Kids Baking Competition is Lydia!” said Adrienne, as guests applauded.screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-44-17-pm

“Waiting for the results, that was nerve-wracking,” admitted Lydia, though there was another moment during the contest that was a bit stressful, too. “In the donut round and my oven wasn’t working. But then (the judges) decided to give everyone an extra 20 minutes. That was probably real nerve-wracking.”

In addition to winning a feature in these pages of Extol, a $100 gift card to MESA KIDS and a tote with baking goodies, Lydia will be the guest of honor at the Extol Magazine launch party hosted by MESA 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 21. She’ll debut her winning cupcake at the free, family-friendly event, which will also include appetizers by a local chef and plenty of giveaways.

The best part, said Lydia, was “having my friends and family there and also practicing it and letting the judges taste what I was making.” But, she added, “winning the competition was fun too.”

Photo courtesy Jose Morones Vergara

Photo courtesy Jose Morones Vergara

For mom, though, it was more than fun. “I ways knew she’s had a creative outlet in her,” said Adrienne Sprigler. “Along the way, she always wanted to help in the kitchen. She’s always wanted to bake and decorate cupcakes and cookies. So, what (this competition) has done is its fueled a fire. It’s highlighted something she has a knack for. Who knows what’s coming next because she’s just started.”


screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-39-53-pm

LIFE WITH LYDIA

• The 13-year-old Floyds Knobs resident is the daughter of Adrienne and Chris Sprigler, has a brother, Harrison, 16, a black lab named Mae, a mini schnauzer named Junie and a dwarf hamster named pipsqueak. • Lydia will enter the 8th grade when school starts and is an all A student. She enjoys art classes but could “do without health and PE.”

• When it comes to eating out, Lydia enjoys Bella Roma, Israel’s Delicias De Mexico Gourmet, Come Back Inn, Olive Garden and Berry Twist and Adrienne & Co. Bakery and Café for desserts.

• Lydia is a gifted athlete who enjoys volleyball. But her other interests include all things craft. “I’m pretty crafty. I have a craft room. I’m pretty much crafty, sporty and I like to bake. I like snuggling with my dogs. And I have a trampoline too. That’s what I like to do.”

• Lydia’s love of baking began with her grandma, Terri Sprigler. “I bake with her all the time. It was kind of like ‘Karate Kid’ where she was training me.”

• “Go out and try it. If I didn’t win this competition, I would probably keep baking. If you like (some thing), try it. Keep practicing and go after your dreams. Just do what makes you happy. You have one life and just live it to the fullest.”


screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-4-50-10-pmMESA KIDS COMING SOON

MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen will soon have a kid-friendly counterpart. MESA KIDS, 154 E. Main St. in New Albany, opens this summer and is specifically designed just for kids who want to learn how to bake and cook (or better their current skills). Features include classes and summer camps taught by culinary experts, as well as birthday parties and a unique Black Coat Program geared toward young chefs who are super serious about developing their culinary techniques and talents. Learn more about MESA KIDS at mesakidscookingschool. com and @mesakidscookingschool on Facebook.

1

MESA Hosts Bake-Off Contest for Kids

1Photo by Jose Morones Vergara

MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen, recently hosted the Kids Baking

Championship at its New Albany location. Kids 8 to 13 years old

brought their best baking skills to the competition, which featured

three rounds, including a cupcake bake-off for the finale. The winner

will be featured on the cover of the June issue of Extol. For more

information about MESA, go to mesachefs.com.

screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-08-31-pm

HOT STUFF!

SOUTHERN INDIANA’S CULINARY SCENE IS ATTRACTING ATTENTION FROM ALL OVER THE REGION – AND BEYOND. HERE’S WHY WE SHOULD BE CELEBRATING.

BY ANGIE FENTON

PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN WATSON TAKEN AT MESA, A COLLABORATIVE KITCHEN, 216 PEARL ST. IN NEW ALBANYscreen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-08-31-pm

Months ago, a “foodie” friend asked me for dining recommendations when she was in the area for a business trip. I text her plenty of options, only to get this reply: “I trust you, but…” followed by a few emojis along with several unfavorable GIFs.

“Trust me,” I told her, biting my tongue before adding that I would pay if she had a terrible experience. And then I waited.

After my friend’s visit, she took the time to call me – we’d seen one another in person during her visit, so this was extra – to just say, “Thank you. Wow. Southern Indiana is the next.”

The next? What does that mean? I asked.

“The next BIG thing happening,” my friend replied with a heart emoji.

Call our Southern Indiana culinary scene whatever you want – including “the next” with emoticons – but what we are is here to stay, amazing, ready to redefine and share with others. We are a community filled with talented people executing amazing accomplishments in the culinary arts, in small kitchens and high-priced ones, too, from comfort to cutting-edge food.

For example, MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in downtown New Albany gives people the opportunity to engage with chefs and experts. This phenom in the foodie world continues to grow rave reviews while booking chefs from around the region. (Go to MesaChefs.com for more information.)

Want evidence? Look to publications and online resources like Southern Indiana Eats ‘n Treats (southernindianaeatsntreats.com), Food & Dining Magazine (foodanddine.com), Southern Indiana’s Clark-Floyd Counties Tourism Bureau (gosoin.com), and, of course, Extol (extolmag.com). Collectively, you’ll find everything culinary related from exciting and ingenious to mainstays and down-home establishments.

Whatever your taste is, celebrate Southern Indiana and what our talent brings to the table. We’re hot stuff. So, eat up – and invite others to join in.


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-03-38-pm

KENDELL SHEPPARD

EXECUTIVE CHEF BROOKLYN AND THE BUTCHER

What’s to Love: Everything. Yes, this place is pricey, but if you have the money to spend, do it. There is not a steak around that can rival one of those at Brooklyn and the Butcher.

Dish to Die (or try) For: Any steak on the menu, though the Brooklyn Wedge, Scallops and Braised Short Ribs are also knock-outs.

FYI: Speaking of knock-outs, the atmosphere is a hit for birthdays and special events. It’s also a really cool place to grab a special drink just because.

BROOKLYN AND THE BUTCHER

148 E. Market St.

New Albany

812.590.2646

www.brooklynandthebutcher.com


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-03-45-pm

PAUL SKULAS

CHEF/CO-OWNERPORTAGE HOUSE

What’s to Love: The view. The food. The walls. The staff. The view.

Dish to Die (or try) For: Char-Grilled Oysters are phenomenal, but so is the Roasted Cauliflower. Order both and cocktails. Then, decide if you want an entrée.

FYI: Portage House has so many beautiful views, it deserves to be rated “Best Date Place,” “Best Anniversary Spot” and “Best Southern Indiana Space of Solitude.”

PORTAGE HOUSE

117 E. Riverside Drive

Jeffersonville

812.725.0435

eatportagehouse.com


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-03-50-pm

RACHEL SMALLWOOD

OWNER/OPERATOR ORANGE CLOVER

What’s to Love: Owner Rachel Smallwood may have the biggest heart in Southern Indiana while also possessing one of the most amazing work ethics. Once you meet her, you’ll never forget her, her food or her spirit. Goodness, we are lucky to call her one of Southern Indiana’s gems.

Dish to Die (or try) For: Nope. Not even going to pretend to call a favorite here. Instead, try everything on the menu – including the daily specials – and you let us know. We give up. They’re all amazing.

FYI: The lines are long at lunchtime. Forgive us, but duh. Be patient. Orange Clover is worth the wait.

ORANGE CLOVER

590 Missouri Ave. Ste. 100

Jeffersonville

812.282.1005

www.orangecloverjeffersonville.com


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-04-01-pm

BRIAN STONE

GENERAL MANAGER PARLOUR

What’s to Love: The deck, obviously, but so is the gorgeous inside. But the deck. Did we say the outdoor area as in the deck?

Dish to Die (or try) For: Pizza, but you knew that already. Whatever your pleasure, Parlour delivers (when you order in-house, we mean). Take a walk across the Big Four Bridge – or don’t – but whatever you do, order a pie and you’ll want to reach for the sky (for napkins, clearly).

FYI: The pizza is the highlight, but the salads rival any we’ve found in town. (You’re welcome.)

PARLOUR

131 W. Chestnut St.

Jeffersonville

812.914.7400

www.eatparlourpizza.com


screen-shot-2018-01-31-at-5-04-07-pm

JOSEPH HORNEMAN

EXECUTIVE CHEF THE EXCHANGE PUB + KITCHEN

What’s to Love: This is THE place that made downtown New Albany a foodie destination, and it continues to impress. Changing menus, great atmosphere and the owners’ support of what else is happening in New Albany continue to make The Exchange a must-try spot.

Dish to Die (or try) For: Hands down, at least in this weather, the ramen. This is an “I am not sharing with anyone” dish, and once those with you try it, they’ll understand why you were so stingy and want a bowl of their own.

FYI: In warmer months, The Exchange welcome’s animals on its beautiful patio. And, the owners are majorly involved in giving back to the community. Love them for that with your business.

THE EXCHANGE PUB + KITCHEN

118 W. Main St.

New Albany

812.948.6501

www.exchangeforfood.com


 

lowres-38

Chef Bobby Benjamin at MESA

Jan. 20 • MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in New Albany

Photos by Christian Watson

Chef Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery in Louisville returned to MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen Jan. 20. The renowned restaurateur and chef wowed attendees with a sold-out “Mexican Flare” brunch. Find out more about MESA, which continues to garner rave reviews, but going to mesachefs.com.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-51-05-pm

2017 Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is quickly approaching. According to the National Retail Federation, more than half of shoppers start to research and plan their gifts in October, if not earlier, though by December most of us still have plenty of holiday shopping left to do. To help you get a jumpstart, we’ve featured a few of our favorite local finds. But don’t just take our word for it. Go out and frequent these locally-owned establishments now and take the hustle ’n‘ bustle out of this holiday season.


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-51-25-pmSapphire Boutique

Sapphire Boutique, which has locations in Jeffersonville and New Albany, carries the latest fashions, accessories and gifts for women and babies. Follow us on Facebook @sapphireonspring and Instagram @sapphire_boutiques.

Julie Gionatti is wearing a Pink multi color sweater dress by BCBG, Black button front rain dress by BCBG, handbag by Sondra Roberts.

Rachel Shipton is wearing a ruffle sleeve suede dress by Olivaliceous, Handbag by Sondra Roberts.

Both models wearing various styles and brands of jewelry.

326 Spring St., Jeffersonville

812.920.0017

154 E. Main St., New Albany

812.725.0900

Facebook/SapphireonSpringBoutique


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-51-33-pm

Lavender Hill

At Lavender Hill, we strive to make our customers very, very happy. We offer daily deliveries to both residential and business locations. Our knowledgeable staff is here for you, be it a celebration, loss of a loved one, wedding or our favorite – for no reason at all. We’ll guide to towards the perfect florals or fine specimen plant, or pop into the shop to find the perfect piece of jewelry, scarf or artisan gift.

359 Spring St., Jeffersonville | 812.288.2388 | lavenderhillflorals.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-51-40-pm

Madhouse

Whether you’re selecting a special gift, entertaining, or just need a little room refresh in your life, Madhouse is here to help. You will not be disappointed in the variety and uniqueness within this specialty shop that truly caters to any price range.

151 E. Spring St., New Albany | 812.924.7728 | madhousena.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-05-pm

The Olivet

Locally owned and operated and situated in the beautifully developed Underground Station in the charming historic river town of New Albany, The Olivet is the only olive oil tasting emporium in the Southern Indiana area and offers the community a wonderful selection of ultra premium, extra virgin olive oils, hand selected from California groves, aged balsamic vinegars, whole spices and herb blends, Italian artisan pastas and sauces, handmade chocolates and truffles, a wide array of specialty and gourmet food items, and beautifully handcrafted, unique gifts. They also offer private tasting parties and specialize in custom gift baskets.

37 Bank St., New Albany | 812.913.4430 | www.theolivet.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-12-pm

The Office Cigar Lounge

Kick back in big, comfy easy chairs and enjoy a cigar with your buds in the cigar lounge. There are hundreds to choose from in the huge walk-in humidor, as well as cigar and pipe accessories – plus we have a large selection of pipes and pipe tobacco – to keep you puffing and happy.

3700 Paoli Pike, Floyds Knobs | 812.993.0445 | www.theofficecigarlounge.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-18-pmACE Hardware

New Albany Ace Hardware is locally owned and happy to serve our community for more than 81 years. What better gift to yourself or someone special than a new grill! New Albany Ace Hardware offers a full range of grills – including Big Green Eggs, Traeger and Weber – and accessories – for the outdoor chef on your gift list. We also offer a variety of other items, just right for stocking stuffers and more. Plus, we receive new items every week. Follow us on Facebook by searching “Ace Hardware of New Albany.”

1905 Charlestown Road, New Albany | 812.945.6633. | www.acehardware.com & search “New Albany” in the store locator


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-29-pmMESA

MESA is a state-of-the-art, collaborative kitchen-classroom, featuring demonstrations by established and aspiring chefs from Southern Indiana and Louisville. The collaborative space offers cooking classes and demonstration, and also houses a bookstore, pantry, to-go cooking dinners, cookware boutique, aprons, toys for little ones and more. Stop by to pick up a gift for aspiring chefs of all ages or easily purchase a gift card for that special someone on our website.

216 Pearl St., New Albany | 812.725.7691 | www.mesachefs.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-44-pmHim Gentleman’s Boutique

Him Gentleman’s Boutique is a one-stop shop for every man. We provide all styles ranging from everyday casual to looking your best on a night out. Want to try a new look? Not sure how to work certain trends into your wardrobe? We are here for all your styling needs.

314 Pearl St., New Albany | 812.924.7441 | www.himgb.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-52-56-pmTop Shelf Tactical

Come and experience a different firearm retail experience. We are committed to the highest quality products, the most competitive prices and 100 percent customer satisfaction. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook – @topshelftacticalfirearms – for our weekly specials throughout the holiday season.

37 Bank St. Suite 7, New Albany | 812.725.1115 | www.topshelftactical.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-53-04-pmStrandz and Threadz

Threadz has many fashions to offer, including trendy clothing, scarves, purses and accessories, plus we carry gift items like signs, teas, candles, local items, seasonal items and more! Strandz is an AVEDA concept salon and full-service spa. So, you can complement your new outfit with a new hairstyle, blowout or add some highlights!

322 Vincennes St., New Albany | 812.945.5480 | www.strandzandthreadz.com


screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-3-53-12-pmLL&A Interior Design

Celebrate Your Space!

247 Spring St., Jeffersonville | 812.282.6606 | www.leslielewisdesign.com

mesa

Mesa Means Table. Table Means Eat.

A new concept coming to New Albany will pair hungry diners with local chefs eager to experiment and to explain.

Story by Steve Kaufman & Photo by Danny Alexander

Just imagine you sit down to a dinner prepared by Scott Dickinson, executive chef at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen. And you have a question about something – preparation, or ingredients, or seasoning.

So, you ask.

And Dickinson leans over the table and answers. That’s the concept envisioned for MESA, a new way of dining coming soon to downtown New Albany.

“We call it a collaborative kitchen,” said Bobby Bass – who co-owns MESA with wife Ysha Bass, of Bass Group Real Estate. “Our tag line is, ‘Bridging the gap between the kitchen and the table.’ ”

Table = Mesa. Get it? (“Mesa” means “table” in Spanish. Ysha is from Mexico City.) But it is in no way meant to suggest that this is a Mexican restaurant. In fact, the cuisine on any given night will depend on who’s doing the cooking.

Rather, the “table” in question refers to the idea of a chef’s table, popular in many higher-end restaurants, where the chef sets up a small service in the kitchen for a few preferred customers to chat, watch the prep and eat a specially-prepared meal.

Except, in the case of MESA, you don’t have to go to the chef. The chef will come to you.

“We wanted to have a place where the consumer gets a fabulous three-to-five-course meal, paired with wine or beer, and the chefs get to do what they rarely get to do: engage in conversation with the public,” explained Bobby. “We feel we’re an advocate for both parties: The consumer gets more than a great dinner and the chefs get to experiment or show off their stuff.”

MESA will be moving into 216 Pearl St., between Market and Main in downtown New Albany, the old Peterey-Hedden Building.

Bobby said he’s looking for a late May/early June move-in, purposely avoiding Derby. “It’s hard for a new concept to compete with all that’s going on at that time,” he said. “Too much noise, too many distractions. I don’t want to waste our marketing dollars.”

Also, he said, it will give them a chance to get everything running properly, do a couple of private runs and work the kinks out. “Never a good idea to rush something and risk anyone having a bad experience.”

When it is up and running, the concept seems so straightforward and logical you wonder how it could possibly fail. A visiting chef from one of the area’s many excellent restaurants comes in for a night, using MESA’s kitchen. Bass said he already has commitments from both Ian Hall properties, The Exchange and Brooklyn and the Butcher, as well as from Habana Blues and SuperChef’s Darnell Ferguson. Bass said he has also been in talks with Vincenzo and Agostino Gabriele of Vincenzo’s and Josh Moore of Volare.

Sampling the chef’s efforts will be 20 to 25 diners, sitting at a table around the cooking area, who have paid somewhere between $85 and $150 for the evening. (Bobby pointed out that not all the details – like prices, hours, schedule – have been entirely worked out.) There may also be breakfast events, probably at weekend brunch, which would be less-formal and less-expensive, and could also include children.

Off to one side will be what Ysha called “a kitchen-essential boutique pantry” – a spice bar, salt bar, chocolate bar, oil bar, sugar bar, cookbooks, aprons, knife sets, supplies, kids’ cooking paraphernalia, “a lot of unique things” – where diners can pick up something while they’re there. The items will be supplied largely by local vendors.

Bobby has arranged with local businesses – like Dine Company, Chefs Supply and Bonnycastle Appliances – for the cooking equipment. “It will all be high-end residential equipment, so people can see it and relate to it. Perhaps they’ll want to contact one of the vendors and buy something after they’ve been in here.”

On the nights when a restaurant chef might not be performing, there will be what the Basses call one of their “in-house chefs.” They’ll rotate in and out, taking a turn at a regular dinner and also for special events, like a reception or a corporate party.

“We’ve been talking to a lady who was a finalist on the Food Network’s ‘Cutthroat Kitchen,’ ” Bobby said. “But she doesn’t have her own restaurant. I’ll work a schedule with her to perform here on a monthly basis and can rotate other chefs who also aren’t attached to restaurants.”

Private events are also part of the endless possibilities. “I’ve already had a request for a 20-person wedding reception,” Bobby said. And, he anticipates local companies wanting to have office parties at MESA, or to entertain clients there.

Among the other opportunities for the space are chefs’ lessons and special events, like pairings and tastings hosted by local suppliers – wine, bourbon, cheese, oils. More endless possibilities.

The restaurant business can be a tough one for anyone, especially those who – like the Basses – are new to it. They’ve already been through the Kafka-designed world of licenses and permits for food, wine, beer, liquor. Plus, the building is in a historic district, so what they can and cannot change might limit them as they build and design the space.

“We’re in the real estate business,” said Bobby. “But we work in Jeffersonville, live in Floyd County and eat in downtown New Albany about 12 times a week.” He chuckled. He was exaggerating – but only slightly.

What about the challenges of balancing food supply, having enough of what he needs but not so much that the spinach wilts and the bread turns green on the edges?

He seems prepared for that, as well. His manager is a Sullivan University culinary arts graduate.

“We’re only going to do these events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, one sitting per night,” Bobby said. “We’ll request that people order tickets online six to eight weeks in advance, so we always have a good idea of who’s coming in the door. This won’t be a place for last-minute walk-ins.”

Though the website currently in place – www. MESAchefs.com – is just a one-page “teaser site” at the moment, it nonetheless has a reservations form.

The grand vision, for both Ysha and Bobby, is a concept that benefits all corners of the local community.

“Chefs will benefit from getting the chance to experiment, and to get feedback directly from consumers,” said Bobby. “Restaurants will benefit by exposing what they do to a wider group of people.

“We’ll give local food and produce vendors a market for their goods, plus the retail opportunities we’ll offer. And the equipment and appliance dealers will be able to sell directly to people whose interests are tweaked by coming to our events.”

They feel downtown New Albany merchants can benefit from more potential consumers coming to the area, particularly those who are drawn from Louisville and are perhaps not yet familiar with what downtown New Albany has to offer.

And, said Ysha, the plan is to have special events that will support food banks, soup kitchens, churches, shelter homes and charities, in collaboration with various non-profit organizations.

Oh yeah, and foodies will benefit, too. “We’ll be giving people an opportunity to try new things, watch the chefs at work, ask questions and learn.” It all adds up to the three E’s at one table: entertainment, education and epicure.