NEW ALBANY — A local business has gained a large following with its artistically-styled boards of meats and cheeses, and now, the owners are taking their vision to another level.
The co-owners of Board and You, a charcuterie board catering service, are planning to expand their business with a new restaurant in downtown New Albany. The Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar is scheduled to open in spring of 2020 at 434 Pearl Street.
New Albany couple Zack Flanagan and Sean Lara founded Board and You started only five months ago in April, and the business has taken off. The business delivers customized charcuterie boards for both small groups and large corporate events. Over the past months, they have seen an expanding client list, and the business's popularity on social media has skyrocketed — they recently reached 10,000 followers on Instagram.
About a month after launching their new business, they started working on the concept for the restaurant.
"When we had this platform of Board and You, we kind of took it as like a really good opportunity to branch off of it but keep its signature and create something with it," Flanagan said.
The restaurant will be an upscale, quick-service restaurant featuring high-quality food, "premier" wines, specialty cocktails and, of course, plenty of their customized charcuterie boards. It will include a menu of entrée items such as steak, pasta, seafood, burgers and salads. Board and You's charcuterie catering service will be centered at the Pearl Street kitchen.
"When I say upscale, I’m not really referring to the atmosphere or that you have to dress nicer to go in," Flanagan said. "It’s upscale referring to the food, so the presentation, the taste, the quality — it’s all going to be very upscale while still being about $15 to $20 per entree, so it’s very average with what’s going on with downtown New Albany."
They are working with an executive chef and mixologist to develop the food and drink menu, including Flanagan's brother, Aaron, who will soon graduate from Sullivan University's culinary school. The restaurant will have a dining room that seats about 75 people, a bar area that seats about 18 and an outdoor dining area that seats about 25, according to Flanagan. He said the restaurant will provide a comfortable atmosphere with plush seating.
Lara, who is the main charcuterie board crafter at Board and You, said the restaurant will bring "something new and something fresh" to New Albany. He is originally from San Diego.
"I'm just really excited to bring a totally new concept to New Albany," he said. "Also, we are going to create jobs, which is absolutely fantastic. I'm not originally from New Albany, but I very quickly fell in love with the community."
Lara said he wants to get "a little more out of the box" with their restaurant, and one of his ideas includes drink flights specifically paired to cheeses.
He said their charcuterie boards quickly become the centerpiece at every party, whether they are small platters or grazing tables. The artisan cheeses, meats, vegetables and fruits are paired with complementary flavors to create a colorful spread of food with an artistic presentation. He is hoping for the same types of reactions at their upcoming restaurant.
"Just like the boards that we create, presentation is probably the biggest selling point, in my opinion, just because when you first see it, it's like wow, I've never seen anything like this, that's incredible," Lara said. "The same exact thing is going to apply to all of the dishes...I'm going to be working side by side with the [chef] creating the best presentation layout for all of our plates."
Flanagan, who grew up in New Albany, is excited to contribute to the growth of the city's culinary scene.
"There's not really a wine bar in the area," Flanagan said. "It's going to be different than your typical wine bar that has small bites and all that stuff — you'll have the opportunity to order a full-scale dinner if you like. We're really excited for that, and just the overall atmosphere and presentation of the building — I think it's just going to be something that people have not seen before."