New Upscale Eatery Moving Forward

Nick Meyer

We told you in early November about the local group of entrepreneurs looking to open a small, chef-driven, farm-to-table, community-supported restaurant in Eau Claire. After their first meeting for potential backers was held in the Volume One Gallery on November 12, we can now give you more details into the plan. The people leading the charge on the effort are Nathan Berg, Jake VandenBush, and Eric Nelson. Berg, who would lead the culinary side of the operation, was the proprietor of the highly regarded Native Bay in Chippewa Falls a few years ago until a crushing overhead brought them down in 2008. He since was in charge of culinary operations at the Creamery in Downsville, and previously worked at Harvest in Madison and other regional restaurants. Nelson and his wife Julie are the owners of The Coffee Grounds in Eau Claire – avid foodies and travelers, they lead the business side of the endeavor. VandenBush and his wife Kelly are local business owners who bring their experience to the mix as well. Their hope is to gather enough low-level investment from a number of local individuals to open a very small space by late spring 2013 – “a place where you can bring family, friends, and business colleagues to truly impress them.” While a spot has yet to be secured, they’re looking throughout downtown Eau Claire and elsewhere for a dining room to host a maximum of 40 people – a small space that can keep overhead down and interest up. Berg hopes to leverage his close relationships with area farmers to build a highly seasonal, ever changing, local menu of roughly 6-8 main entrees, 12-15 small plates, and a specific but quality list of local beer and wine. With a core staff of roughly eight to ten, they’d be open five nights a week offering a “very high level of fine dining” with full entrée prices landing in the $30 range. If you’re interested in learning how you could financially help such an endeavor come to fruition, you can get more information and learn about upcoming meetings by emailing the group at: ECCSRgroup@gmail.com.

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