I had the pleasure of meeting Tina Patel, one-half of the ownership team opening (at long last) Bleu Restaurant, at an event last week. She’s a whipsmart little firecracker of a woman, all passion and hands-waving and wide eyes. She’s deeply invested in seeing Bleu open and become a success and is rightfully peeved that it’s taken a year and a half to (almost) get it off the ground. Her months-long battle with various confused and inconsistent city and county codes was well-chronicled in Vox a while back.
(Aside: Bleu is not the only small business that’s had to jump through extraordinary hoops just to get started. KoJaBa and Carlito’s spring to mind, among others. In conversations with her and with other local business owners recently it’s become clear how strongly many of the locals feel the deck is stacked against them and in favor of chains.)
As for the restaurant itself, seasonality isn’t going to be a focal point. Wines will be front and center, showing up even in the infused signature cocktails the bar will feature (some will even benefit from frothy egg whites). All involved assure me they will be opening the week of August 18; take a trip over to the Tiger Hotel and see if you think this is doable. I see a lot more than three weeks of work remaining but they desperately want to be open before Mizzou starts classes again. Stay tuned. If Bleu Market (their takeout operation on the other side of the Tiger Hotel entrance) is any indication, it’s going to be a wild ride.