Turning Tables Tavern & Eatery – set to open later this week in Historic Turner Hall (1034 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.) – is not your typical restaurant. What makes it unique is that it’s a teaching kitchen that provides hands-on training and mentorship to budding local food entrepreneurs.
The concept kicks off on Friday, Aug. 5 with an opening event fundraiser allowing diners to sample the new menu and learn more about the restaurant’s mission. Behind Turning Tables is local entrepreneur Emerald Mills, whose venture Diverse Dining cultivates compassion and connection through the experience of dining. Through that 4-year-old initiative, Mills hosted meals at various local restaurants, bringing together folks for food they’ve maybe never tasted before and meaningful conversation.
Turning Tables seems almost a natural extension of that – helping entrepreneurs get off the ground in an industry where it’s so challenging to get established.
After this Friday’s fundraiser, Mills says Turning Tables will function as a restaurant. “We’re incorporating restaurateurs – some are in different phases, some are employed by companies. We’ll also develop partnerships with restaurants to [feature] special dishes,” she says.
With options that include starters, Greens & Grains and chef specials, the menu will feature smoked chicken jerk eggrolls, loaded BBQ nachos, classic Caesar salad, Midwest dirty rice bowl, mac and cheese, the Turner burger, fish tacos and a BBQ dinner. For dessert, there’s a warm brownie served a la mode.
The initial hours (which may change) are Wed-Sat 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m.