Mesh DR 2
Dining room at Mesh Indianapolis

Indianapolis-based Cunningham Restaurant Group (CRG) plans to open Mesh this fall at the old Bauer’s Tavern property at 3608 Brownsboro Road, next to the Mockingbird Gardens subdivision.

The 330-seat restaurant will cover 7,600 square-feet, have a large bar and guest seating on an outside patio.

Commonly referred to as the “old Azalea property,” Mesh will be constructed on the same lot, but not on the same spot where the tavern, built in 1870, stood until last year.

It was razed following a protracted battle between the Bauer family, who owns the property, and preservationists over the historical significance of the decaying structure.

“When I learned the location was available, I said I was interested in the location only, not the old building,” CRG owner Mike Cunningham said. “I really wanted to do something nice and put a new structure there, something built from scratch.”

CRG owns 14 restaurants that include six concepts operating in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Lexington. The Louisville Mesh will be the second of that concept.

According to Cunningham, groundbreaking for the new building will begin in about two weeks.

The restaurant’s main dining room and bar will seat approximately 275 guests. An additional 60 seats will be outside on the old Azalea’s patio. Cunningham said the many memories locals shared with him about dining on the old patio convinced him to keep it.

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The old Azalea

“There is a lot of sentimental attachment to that patio; people made that clear,” he said. “There will be a new, permanent structure made for an outside bar and some extensive upgrades to what’s there.”

He described Mesh as “upscale casual, but without tablecloths,” and said the chef-driven menu will be virtually identical to that at the Indy Mesh. Prices range from $12 for sandwiches to $35 steaks.

“We have a lot of entrees in the $17 and $18 dollar range also, so you can splurge and do something nice, or take it easy and order salad,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham confirmed Anoosh Shariat will be the restaurant’s executive chef.

The former owner of Shariat’s Restaurant and Browning’s (now Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse) has worked for the past two years as a consultant chef for a restaurant in Charlotte, N.C., while looking for an opportunity in Louisville. He declined to comment for the story.

Mesh’s opening here makes two restaurants CRG will add to its collection in 2014. The first will come in June, followed by Mesh’s opening here in October or November.

Cunningham said he’s glad the wait to open in Louisville is nearly over.

“We’re ready to get started, and we’re glad to be here,” he said.

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Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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