Chef News

Blue Mesa Grill in Addison woos millennials with new menu of wee bites

Blue Mesa Grill in Addison woos millennials with new menu of wee bites

Rooftop Cinema Club: The Drive-In at The Central
Why settle for one big item when you can get a whole bunch of tastes at once? Photo courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club

Southwestern restaurant Blue Mesa Grill has shuffled its menu and introduced a new set of dishes aiming to meet the needs of restless contemporary diners.

Founded in 1988, perhaps before many of its customers were born, Blue Mesa is best known for its unique Southwest-inspired dishes as well as its bountiful and affordable weekend brunch, served at all three locations in Addison, Plano, and Fort Worth.

But owners Jim and Liz Baron are nearly as restless as their audience, and have unveiled an updated menu at the Addison location, developed by executive chef Becky Foulk.

It includes shared-plate entrees such as the Mesa Sampler, with Latin chicken blue corn individual nachos, pepper sausage bites, and "mac 'n cheese balls."

Lunch features lighter, "healthy" menu items such as wraps, with chicken, skirt steak, and avocado-hummus veggie; apple-kale salad; and bowls, including quinoa veggie bowl with grilled veggies, and the burrito bowl with Latin chicken, BBQ pork, grilled veggie, or carne asada.

New dishes for dinner include chicken breast with tequila lime butter sauce and crispy tacos with ground beef and chorizo, served with rice, black beans, and their signature corn cake.

Foulk, who previously was a corporate chef for Corner Bakery Cafe, created a sharable category called Mesa Mini-Bites – a series of small plates that can be mixed and matched for a single person or a group.

Choices include:

  • poblano mac 'n cheese balls
  • wild mushroom adobaditos (bite size versions of their trademark Adobe Pies)
  • red chile glazed meatballs
  • bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp
  • corn crusted chicken

Other new items include "tiny tacos," an adorable bite-size taco filled with choice of BBQ pork, ground beef-chorizo, and avocado-black bean.

Chef Foulk joined Blue Mesa after 12 years as corporate chef and director of R&D for Corner Bakery Café. She previously worked with Whole Foods Market and has extensive experience in the corporate and hotel industries. She's also the author of a cookbook and blog called Cooking Soup to Nuts.

"Looking at Blue Mesa's menu, I thought it was really important to maintain their wonderful traditions," Foulk says. "It's their corn cake that you always got when you go to Blue Mesa, and their unique, satisfying flavor profiles you really don't get anywhere else. All their sauces are made from scratch. They make things the right way."

"By same token, I felt like we could add a few touches that respond to the different ways people want to eat," she says. "We created these 'mesa bites,' like mini appetizers, where a group can sit around and have margaritas and have something to munch. It's very much a millennial way of eating. We wanted to make sure we had that option of sitting around the table and sharing different things, while still having the choice of a traditional classic meal of enchiladas."

For now, if you want to try the new dishes, they're available at Addison only. They'll workshop the menu, then roll out the winners at the other Blue Mesas later this year.