EVANSVILLE, Ind.¬†‚ÄĒ Moriah Hobgood has been busy building quite the food, drink and fun empire in and around Evansville. The Henderson native was, just over three years ago, the young bartender at The Blue Bar at Sauced.
Then, in early 2017, she bought and remodeled the old Haynie‚Äôs Corner Pub turning it into Mo‚Äôs House. Within the year, she had established The Kitchen EVV, a food truck, and Mo‚Äôs Traveling Medicine Show, a mobile bartending service ‚ÄĒ call it a drink truck.
Then, last winter, she went and bought the historic Metzger‚Äôs Tavern in Henderson and gave it a good face-scrubbing before reopening to a thrilled Henderson dinner clientele.
Not one to rest (ever, apparently), Hobgood recently jumped on the chance to expand her footprint in Haynie‚Äôs Corner even more by purchasing the Bokeh Lounge when former owner Mike Millard decided to retire from the venture. As much as anything, it was her need for a good kitchen on the Corner that inspired the move.
When they first got Mo’s House, she said they painted and redid the floors but talked about whether¬†they wanted to add a kitchen during the Mo’s remodel. In the meantime, customers ordered food from Sauced and Bokeh was delivered to customers. But she also needed a commissary kitchen for the food truck.
“But when it was all said and done, I didn‚Äôt really want to put one in there,‚ÄĚ Hobgood said of Mo’s House.
So she struck a deal with Millard for Bokeh, and the transfer was made.
‚ÄúI kind of freaked out after it was all arranged, because yeah, it was great to have this place, but who was I going to get to run it?‚ÄĚ Hobgood said.
Then, in a stroke of fate, she grabbed up longtime Lamasco Bar manager Jessica Nuffer, who briefly thought she had retired.
‚ÄúI saw she had retired, and I called her up, and I was like ‚ÄėHey‚Ä¶‚Äô but she said no,‚ÄĚ said Hobgood. ‚ÄúShe wanted to take time off.‚ÄĚ
Nuffer said she’d planned to take time to spend with her family.
“But she got me eventually,” she said. “I love new challenges. And I adore Mo, she has such a creative eye.‚ÄĚ
Hobgood is a great fan of sticking with what works in a location, and she admired the business Millard had built Bokeh into.
‚ÄúHe had a cool thing going,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThere were great bands coming through, and I loved the events they hosted here like Science with a Twist, Drag me to Brunch, Jazz Sunday. We‚Äôre keeping them, and if anything, we‚Äôre just going to add onto that.‚ÄĚ
The menu did get revamped. Products are now coming from Creation Gardens, a Kentucky company sourcing as much product as possible from Kentucky farms, and the kitchen is staffed with local kitchen heavy-hitters. Head chef is Travis Swayze, formerly of Sportsman‚Äôs Grille and Billiards; cooks are Holden Hoffman, formerly of Arazu Downtown; and Charisa Perkins, formerly of Tin Man.
The menu is small but solid with both classic and creative choices for everyone.
Sides, for example, include fries or slaw, but also fresh-fried pork rinds and chickpea salad.
Choose cornmeal breaded fish and chips, or PBLT, which is a sandwich of unsmoked pork belly slow-cooked and then deep fried for a crisp exterior, piled onto a bun with a fried green tomato, lettuce¬†and pimento cheese.
Hobgood said two of the most popular items on the menu are the¬†veggie burger and veggie tacos.
‚ÄúPeople really appreciate having some vegetarian and vegan options,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe veggie burger has black beans, onions, corn, red peppers, a little panko to help hold it together. We serve it with cheese and guacamole.‚ÄĚ
Nuffer is also excited about the menu.
‚ÄúWe have a great burger section, and people have fallen in love with the nachos, which have pulled pork on them but can be made vegetarian,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe large portion comes on a 16-inch pizza pan and easily feeds a table of 6 as an appetizer.‚ÄĚ
Monday is taco special night. Fillings are changeable and might range from chorizo sausage to fish with all the topping love. Tortilla chips are fresh-fried and served with house-made salsa, queso and guacamole.
Salads include the house kale salad with lemon vinaigrette and shaved parmesan, a traditional Cobb¬†or an iceberg wedge with bacon and bleu cheese.
The restaurant opens at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays for brunch, with breakfast choices such as a country breakfast platter, breakfast burritos¬†or pancakes.
The Bokeh menu can be ordered at Mo‚Äôs House as well as the Evansville Brewhouse next to the Alhambra. The entire menu, except for breakfast items, is available until close.
Watch Bokeh‚Äôs Facebook page at facebook.com/BokehLounge/ for upcoming events and expect to see the following regularly:
The Bokeh Lounge is located at 1007 Parrett St.
Monday, Thursday and Friday 3 p.m ‚Äď2 a.m.
Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. ‚Äď 2 a.m.
Tuesday closed, except third Tuesday of the month for poetry night.
Wednesday closed, except third Wednesday of the month for Science with a Twist.
Read or Share this story: https://www.courierpress.com/story/news/2018/07/25/bokeh-lounge-haynies-moriah-hobgood/654446002/