If you drank at AC’s in the early aughts, you likely recognize Genevieve Mashburn. The striking blond worked the bar for five years and says that when people recognize her, that’s where they know her from. But Mashburn is so much more than a dive bar vet. The New Orleans native has been the brains behind Leon’s Oyster Shed event space’s success and includes stints at The Macintosh, The Lot, NOLA’s Cure, and Cane & Table on her resume. Now she’s stepping out on her own with her very first restaurant, The Getaway which will be helmed by Top Chef contestant and former Warehouse Executive Chef Emily Hahn.
“I’ve kind of wanted to do this forever, honestly,” says Mashburn of her new Latin American-inspired cocktail bar. “I always had it in the back of my own head.”
What Mashburn’s calling an elevated cabana bar stems from her international travels. “When I travel, the first place I want to go is some Latin American country,” she says. Just in the past year Mashburn’s spent time in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and her travels there and beyond have informed the forthcoming look and feel of The Getaway.
[content-1] “The focus is on Central America, South America, and the Caribbean,” she says. “We’ll be bringing that vibe but a little bit more refined with a focus on quality ingredients and seasonality.” That focus is also why she feels the hiring of Hahn was so serendipitous.
As those who knew her from before her time at Warehouse know, Hahn was known as The Empanada Mama before she was making news on Bravo’s Top Chef. The New England Culinary Institute grad worked at the Martin Pescador Fly Fishing Lodge in Patagonia, Chile, she returned to Charleston and started her famers market booth Empanada Mamma selling the traditional South American pastries but with her own twist like “Em’s Cuban” stuffed with savory slow-roasted pork shoulder, country ham, Swiss and American cheeses, and homemade chow chow.
“It’s so amazing that Emily is on board. There literally could not be someone more perfect,” says Mashburn.
The two paired up after F&B friends put them in touch.
“I have to give credit to Vandy Vanderwalker. Genevieve and me have been acquaintances and friends for a long time. When I put my notice in at Warehouse, I had a big support group of friends who were like ‘What the hell are you gonna do next?’ Vandy had a whisper of what Genevieve was getting into and thought it could be a good fit or at least a ‘let’s chat,'” says Hahn. So the two met for coffee.
“One cup of coffee and two highly caffienated ladies three hours later, we were hugging and saying let’s do this again. At one point I said, ‘Are offering me a job?’ and she said ‘Um yes, I guess I am.’ We’ve been talking every day since.”
Now it’s a matter of finishing the renovation of what was last King Dusko. According to Mashburn, the former music-cum-art-cum-coffee shop will be unrecognizable when The Getaway’s business partner and carpenter Kirk Heidenreich is done with it. The space will seat 80-90 people and have an indoor and courtyard bar in addition to patio seating.
But don’t expect tiki cocktails here. “There’s a lot of tiki happening in town already,” says Mashburn. “We’re going toward simplistic, classic, a reflection of the menu but not getting too overdone. We’re keeping it simple and probably very traditional cocktails with some spinoff like a Pisco Sour, Sangria, and Caipirinha.”
“Having spent time in Patagonia, Argentina, and the Virgin Islands, even a bit of Europe comes into play always,” says Hahn of her menu. “We’re going to do the foods that inspire us from our travels.
She adds, I”t’s gonna be a really unique thing coming to Upper King. Fun and unpretentious and a cool vibe. We’re just two chicks doing rad stuff and giving it our all.”
Look for The Getaway to open this fall.