Louisville chef Geoffrey Heyde is starting his own restaurant.
Heyde was most recently executive chef at SET at Theatre Square, and prior to that, he was executive chef at Village Anchor Pub & Roost and Owl Creek Country Club. Heyde told Insider Louisville that he’s wanted to start his own restaurant for years.
“I looked at several places in the last few years, but none of them came to fruition,” he said, noting that they were too costly or it wasn’t the right time for him personally.
But when Michael Ton, owner of the now closed Basa Modern Vietnamese restaurant, reached out, Heyde was ready.
His concept Fork & Barrel is slated to open in late March in the former Basa at 2244 Frankfort Ave. Basa shut its doors at the end of last year.
The name of the restaurant had been distilling for a while. Heyde said he and a friend had come up with the name for a restaurant that never came to be, but he liked what it said about his new concept opening on Frankfort.
“I felt like it was a name we could use anywhere, not that I have huge aspirations to open 25 of these,” he said. “I wanted something that was homey.”
Fork & Barrel is “upscale, refined American with a focus on local ingredients and Southern hospitality,” said Nick Sullivan, the restaurant’s chef de cuisine. Sullivan formerly worked as chef de cuisine at The Oakroom and 610 Magnolia.
The menu is about 80 percent done. Heyde and Sullivan stayed mum about specific dishes, but Sullivan said it will include dishes that appeal to most everyone with seasonal vegetables and meats such as lamb, pork and beef. Fork & Barrel also will have regular featured items.
“I think we are going to be in a niche of our own,” Sullivan said.
Heyde said he wants Fork & Barrel to have an accessible price point, to be a place where people can come a couple of times a week. The average check will be about $30 a person, he said, adding that people will be able to stop in for a drink and appetizer or a four-course meal.
“There are a lot of restaurants here in Louisville. I want to give somebody the opportunity to come back and try something else,” Heyde said. “You will have an elevated level of service, but we aren’t gouging people.”
Fork & Barrel will seat 80 people, which includes seating at an 11-foot, live-edge oak and maple table for communal dining.
The building is still under construction, but already, the restaurant has a Southern, rustic feel as some of the walls are covered in the same reclaimed wood as the bar, pictured above. The light is changing; a banquet is being added along one of the walls, and the kitchen is being completely redone.
“We didn’t want to walk into a space and have people say ‘This is still Basa,’ ” Sullivan said.
The bathrooms are being completely redone as well.
“It felt like you were walking into an outhouse before, but to be fair, Basa was successful for 11 years,” Heyde said, noting that the building is undergoing a complete overhaul with a price tag of a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Heyde is currently hiring kitchen and front-of-house staff. He expects to employ 20 people.