For decades, Johnny Mascia has seen it all — from the height of the New York restaurant scene in the 80s to a string of successes in Boston and variety of national magazine covers highlighting his cuisine.
But he would tell you it’s not about him and he doesn’t want it to be about him — it’s about the craft and it’s about his team. He’s the guy behind the scenes, curating the menu and building a highly engaged team to bring life to his vision.
Mascia is a seasoned restauranteur who’s promising some exciting new cuisine in Pensacola. His first venture opens to the public on Friday, Oct. 6. at 5 p.m. for dinner.
Reservations are not being taken during the opening, but the plan is to do so at a future date.
BarSteak, located at 19 S Palafox, will soon feature breakfast, lunch, and dinner and draws from his deep passion for delivering a unique and memorable dining experience. He is intense as he describes the concept.
“Imagine an experience where every sip, every bite, every moment will deliver an unforgettable journey of flavors,” said Mascia. “It sounds dramatic and it is — dining is theater. This will be an experience like none other that simultaneously stimulates all five senses. Every time we open the doors, it’s showtime.”
Mascia describes the BarSteak lunch menu with the same intensity.
“The core of our lunch menu is a dry-aged burger program,” said Mascia. “We’ll have a dry-aged Whoppah, a dry-aged Big Maq and a dry-aged Royale — all double smashed burgers. One of my favorites is the Royale — it’s a truffled foi Gras with a bacon-whiskey cranberry jam — it’s the tastiest burger you’ll ever eat.”
If Mascia is passionate about his cuisine, he is even more passionate about his team. Employee profit sharing, very rare in the restaurant business, is a key part of Mascia’s focus on developing employees and fostering a culture where people feel empowered and valued.
“We cultivate an engaged team by investing in each person, by developing each person,” said Mascia. “It just works — many of my former team members now own their own restaurants because they learned the business beyond their job. We light their flame and fan the fire.”
He’s already working on his next downtown Pensacola project — Salad and Dash — a unique drive-through that offers salad and liquor to go. One more thing, it’s being creatively nestled into a bank drive-through kiosk no longer in use.
“Here’s my vision — deliver employee-driven, world-class culinary with a unique and memorable experience that stirs people, that starts a buzz,” said Mascia. “We’re going to do some breakthrough concepts in Pensacola and I can’t wait to see the team’s successes.”
Mascia has hired Jacob Childers as the executive chef and is bringing in Brian Kaderavek, owner of Pensacola’s Kingfisher restaurant, as consulting chef. Childers ran the largest river boat cruise line culinary program in the country and will oversee logistics, creative, branding and scaling.
Kaderavek, who is helping curate the menu, spent five years with Chef Marcus Samuelson at Michelin-rated Aquavit in New York and four years in New Orleans with Chef Donald Link at Cochon, a James Beard award-winning restaurant.
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