Dining With Denise Neil

Taste and See closing in Old Town, new restaurant moving in

Chef Jason Febres and his partners, Steven and Christine Bacci, will close their Taste and See restaurant at the end of business on Dec. 31.
Chef Jason Febres and his partners, Steven and Christine Bacci, will close their Taste and See restaurant at the end of business on Dec. 31.

Your last chance to Taste and See has arrived.

The Old Town restaurant where local chef Jason Febres leads the kitchen will close at the end of business on Dec. 31, said co-owner Steven Bacci. A new Japanese fusion restaurant called Blue Fin is set to open in its place early next year.

“It’s time,” Bacci said. “It’s been a great run. We’ve had so much fun, but we have so much going on. I’ve got eight kids growing up and we’ve sacrificed holiday after holiday, and days have been excessively long. It’s been a great run. We’re thrilled.”

The restaurant will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. on its final two days of business, Dec. 30 and 31, and will offer a special buffet of all the restaurant’s favorites. It’ll cost $30 a person, and reservations are being accepted at 316-260-4233.

Bacci’s bar next door at 301 N. Washington, Gianni Baccis, will remain open.

“We love the restaurant industry. We love the service industry,” Bacci said. “We’re going to continue with Giannis. It’s a lot more manageable and easy to control.”

Christine and Steven Bacci originally opened Taste & See in 2010 as a venue for cooking classes inside Office This at 3825 E. Harry. They developed it into a restaurant and hired Febres as their chef. He later became a part owner – and a bit of a local star. The young Venezuelan chef, who had launched Sabor with Melad Stephan in 2007, drew fans for his cuisine and charisma. He became well known over the years as he won spots on several network cooking competitions.

But the chef drew plenty of criticism, too: for planning to serve lion meat in 2012 (a plan he later withdrew), for falling behind in taxes in 2015 and most recently for a social media post about feminism that angered some locals.

Bacci said he and his wife and Febres will maintain a friendship and a professional relationship. They plan to continue catering some events.

Febres said he is going to focus on the catering business, called Taste Catering.

He said he also wants to clear his schedule to explore ministry at his church, Aviator Church in Derby.

“I don’t want to be a chef all my life,” he said. “God is leading me to ministry. God is calling me to do that.”

Febres also said that he’s taking a job with a food distribution company, but he wasn’t ready to name it yet. He starts on Jan. 1, he said.

I’m also working to get more information about Blue Fin, which Bacci said was likely to open in about three months.

Stay tuned for more details.

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