Experiential Dining in the Heart of Historic New Albany
Content provided by Estes Public Relations
Photos by Jose Morones Vergara
In less than one year, MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen, located in New Albany, has quickly become a hotspot for Kentuckiana foodies. The high-end studio kitchen offers experiential dining curated by the region’s top chefs, mixologists and purveyors. Attendees can enjoy themed, interactive tasting events, dinners and cooking classes. The intimate space packs a ton of energy where 24 lucky guests get a front-row seat to live kitchen action.
MESA is more than a cooking class or demonstration; it’s an elevated dining experience since guests enjoy dinner and a show. Typically when you dine at a restaurant, you do not see or speak with the chef preparing your food. At MESA, you not only witness your meal’s preparation, you can ask the chef any questions you want during the process. Most events offer three to four courses, and wine, beer and cocktails are always available for purchase.
Each event at MESA features a theme. Regular events highlight mixology; trivia about popular TV shows like “Seinfield” and decade (80s and 90s) pop culture; Mediterranean, Italian and Mexican cuisines; pastries; bourbon and chocolate pairings; meal planning; vegetarian dishes; Thanksgiving turkey prep; wine and cheese pairings; and more. Kid-specific events are also offered, including pizza and ravioli making, gingerbread house building and a kids’ baking competition.
In the coming months, MESA will introduce a few new series of events. Beginning in April, “Dining in the Dark” will take guests on a fun, interactive food experience. Attendees will challenge their senses and expand their palates while eating with a blindfold. A surprise guest chef will cook and talk about each course. Starting in June, a chef and farmer series will highlight the close relationship chefs have with local farmers and feature dinners showcasing locally-grown produce, meats, cheeses and more.
Many of the region’s top chefs, mixologists and purveyors are the stars of the show at MESA. Regularly occurring talent includes: Paco Garcia of Con Huevos, Bobby Benjamin of Butchertown Grocery, Scott Dickenson of Gospel Bird and Hull & Highwater, Madeleine Dee of Fond, Richard Britney of Palatucci’s, Patrick Carter of Brooklyn and the Butcher, Andrew Welenken of La Chasse, Case Belcher of Four Barrel Fitness, Huber’s Starlight Distillery, Copper & Kings American Brandy Co., Cellar Door Chocolates, Capriole Goat Cheese Farms, Ballotin Whiskey and several more.
MESA’s dining space is available for private events including bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, bridal luncheons, baby showers, graduations, corporate events, team building, holiday parties, anniversaries, birthdays and more. More information about private rentals can be found on MESA’s website, mesachefs.com.
In addition to its state-of-the-art studio kitchen, MESA offers a unique shopping experience in its attached Pantre boutique. Here, shoppers can find a handpicked selection of books, gifts and cookware. Popular items for the foodie in your life include Cellar Door Chocolates, Olivet oils and vinegars, kitchen gadgets and utensils, barware, wine accessories and a salt and sugar bar.
Husband and wife duo Bobby and Ysha Bass are the co-owners of MESA, and both are also realtors with Bass Group Real Estate in Jeffersonville. Selling properties in Indiana led them to uncover the up-and-coming potential along New Albany’s Pearl Street, close to New Albany’s riverfront and amphitheater amidst other locally owned shops and restaurants. Both share a passion to make MESA the culinary hub for Indiana and Kentucky chefs, purveyors and culinary aficionados.
It’s a family affair at MESA. Ysha’s father Rod Juarez is part owner and the general manager. Bobby and Ysha’s two children often give their input and ideas for the kid-focused activities. Juarez and his daughter Ysha are originally from Mexico, and drew inspiration from their culture when selecting a name for MESA, which means “table” in Spanish. MESA diners are always greeted by Juarez and the Basses, who treat MESA like their home and visitors as their guests.
MESA events are regularly held Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Ticket prices range from $30 to $100 per person. VT
A Collaborative Kitchen
216 Pearl St.
Upcoming MESA Events
April 7: Hands On Date Night for Two with James Beard semi-finalist chef Paco Garcia of Con Huevos. $105 for two tickets.
April 12: How to Throw the Perfect Derby Party with personal chef Wes Morrison of Flavor You Can Savor. $50 per person.
April 21: Four-Course Italian Dinner Show with Chef Richard Britney of Palatucci’s. $75 per person.
April 25: Cellar Door Chocolates – Derby Style with Erika Chavez-Graziano. $40 per person.
April 26: Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey Cocktail Night with small bites. $40 per person.
April 28: Dining in the Dark Series. Challenge your senses with this interactive dining experience. $75 per person.
May 23: Healthy Meal Prep with Case Belcher of Four Barrel Fitness. $30 per person.