From the time it opened in spring 2013 on the edge of Klyde Warren Park, Lark on the Park has been a big hit with diners. One big reason was the cooking: Lark's husband-and-wife chef team, Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop, turned out appealing, approachable, thoughtful, produce-happy American plates that varied deliciously with the seasons.
Owners Shannon Wynne and Keith Schlabs laid off half of that team – Kelley – in April, so it comes as no surprise that Bishop has tendered her resignation.
The pair will head the kitchen at Up on Knox, an American brasserie that Stephan Courseau (owner of Le Bilboquet) plans to open in late summer. "We're very excited," says Bishop. "It should be a great venture." (Culture Map first reported the news.)
The food, Bishop says, will be "kind of our style, farm-to-table so to speak; we're trying to keep it organic and seasonal." There's going to be a raw bar, she adds, with oysters, chilled seafood and perhaps even a seafood tower. "We also have a wood-fired grill, which I love, so we'll be doing a lot of grilled meats and things like that. There'll probably be a steak frites and a burger, but all focused on the ingredients and being fresh and seasonal and bright."
Think it sounds maybe a wee bit French? Maybe it does. "Stephan is French, and he keeps saying he wants it to be American, but the design and all the design aspects feel very French," says Bishop. "Kind of rustic French. So there is a French influence, and of course all our techniques are French basically, and there is the California thing. There will be the global influences we've always had in our cooking, in a very kind of café-French essence."
As for timing, Courseau says he's aiming to debut just before Labor Day, "so it could be late August or early September, depending on how construction goes." The restaurant will seat about 100, and unlike Le Bilboquet, it will have a bar with seating — "where people will not only drink, but eat as well."
CORRECTION, 4:40 p.m., June 27, 2017: This article was updated to correct a mention of Bishop in the second paragraph.