NEW ALBANY — A new restaurant in downtown New Albany aims to provide a comfortable but upscale dining experience when it opens in a few weeks.
The Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar is set to open in early July at 434 Pearl Street. Board and You, a charcuterie board catering service, has thrived with its artistically-arranged boards of meats, cheeses, fruits and other pairings, but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it has faced delays in opening its restaurant, originally scheduled to open in the spring.
Board and You was launched by co-owners Zack Flanagan and Sean Lara in April 2019, and their elaborate charcuterie boards filled with artisan foods quickly garnered a large following.
Although charcuterie will be among the offerings at the restaurant, Board and You Bistro will offer a fine dining experience with a variety of small plate and dinner options, and the bar will offer a curated wine menu and specialty cocktails.
“Every single person that’s involved in the operation of this restaurant is an absolute professional at what they do, and I think that’s absolutely going to show through,” Flanagan said. “There’s been so much time and attention put into not only the experience, but the product as well.”
Flanagan’s family has been in the restaurant business for 17 years, and his brother, Aaron Flanagan, is the bistro’s executive chef.
“Food is always the centerpiece of everything we do, and to create a concept like this was so much fun,” Flanagan said. “Board and You was the perfect avenue to get us started to create Board and You Bistro & Wine Bar.”
The pandemic significantly delayed construction on the bistro, but amid the pandemic, Board and You “has never been busier” as people ordered boxes of charcuterie, he said. The business went viral on social media multiple times in recent months, and it hired additional staff.
The bistro will feature six small plates, three salads, one soup, eight entrees and three desserts. The entrees include steak, salmon and pasta dishes, and one of the salads is a charcuterie-inspired dish featuring a fig jam vinaigrette. There will be several gluten-free and vegan options.
“[Aaron] has done such a good job developing something that’s so unique to this area but still upscale and delicious,” Flanagan said.
They worked with sommelier Christian Huber of Huber’s Orchard & Winery to develop the wine menu.
“He is a genius when it comes to wines, so he and I four or five months ago started throwing around ideas for the wine menu,” Flanagan said. “What’s exciting is that charcuterie is kind of tastes and flavors from all around the world, and our wine menu is the exact same. We have bottles that range from $22 all the way to $150.”
The bistro worked with professional mixologists from a company called Make & Muddle to develop Board and You’s cocktails. The Old Fashioned is among the highlights, and a refreshing cocktail called Queen Bee is a “game changer” that features a “Honey Lavender Elixir” syrup, Flanagan said.
“All of the drinks are advanced but still very approachable,” he said. “People are not going to shy away or feel like they don’t know what they’re drinking, but it still allows them to be adventurous and seek out new tastes and flavors that they haven’t seen before.”
A charcuterie board with favorites such as a blueberry goat cheese will be offered as one of the bistro’s small plates. The Board and You charcuterie business will operate inside the same building, and people can pick up their boards within the restaurant.
The restaurant features garage doors that will be opened in nice weather, and by the fall, there will be outdoor seating available. Since the restaurant will open after Stage Five of the state’s reopening plan, it will be at full capacity. Staff will take safety precautions by wearing masks, providing sanitation stations and checking employees’ temperatures.
Flanagan said he is excited that the City of New Albany allowed for two local artists, Donna Burden and Stephanie LeBrun, to paint a electrical box outside the restaurant with colorful images of wine and cheese. The artists also painted a mural outside the bistro.
The bistro will offer an inviting atmosphere with plenty of “warm tones and textures,” Flanagan said. Work on the restaurant’s interior is still progressing, but it is close to completion.
“We wanted to bring a sense of comfort and family into the restaurant, and I think that’s going to show with the actual experience,” he said. “Everything is comfortable — you can spend two or three hours there and not feel like you’ve been sitting down for too long.”
The restaurant’s hours will be 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.