Masseria Kitchen + Bar Opens in Blue Ridge GA

Masseria Kitchen + Bar Opens in Blue Ridge GA Masseria Kitchen + Bar, a Mediterranean kitchen concept, opened during the holidays in Blue Ridge.  It’s the third concept restaurant from the creative hands of Chef Danny Mellman and Michelle Moran.


The space, in a line of retail stores, faces the train tracks of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, one of the main tourist attractions of this North Georgia vacation town.


Masseria Kitchen + Bar is a Mediterranean concept serving fresh vegetables, seafood, hand-made pastas and pizza.  The main directive of the chef is to use as many local ingredients as possible recreating simple, classic dishes from his travels in the Mediterranean.  Masseria has a full bar, using housemade bitters, simple syrups and shrubs.  As well, there’s a full craft bar serving modern classic cocktails and the region’s history will be honored with a nonalcoholic craft drink menu.  It features an open kitchen and a wood-fired oven.


“We find the connection between the Mediterranean and Appalachia goes beyond food to a lifestyle of sustainability,” Mellman explains.  “We honor this history of local today, foraging for our own ramps and mushrooms seasonally, growing our chilies and harvesting our own honey.  We plan on continuing this tradition, growing more products specifically for Masseria and finding additional farmers who share our vision.  The goal is to pull together creatively the prolific flavor profiles and cuisines – from countries like France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Morocco – and marry them to a locally sourced ingredient.”


Mellman and Moran founded Harvest on Main in 2009, a highly successful lunch and dinner restaurant that showcases local, sustainable food in Blue Ridge.  Since then they have created The Cook’s Farm, a downtown Blue Ridge cooking school located on a one-acre model farm to show what sustainable food service production encompasses in the Blue Ridge Appalachian foothills; The Kids Farm to Fork Camp, teaching children about growing vegetables and raising animals, and how to harvest the food to cook; and   The Blue Ridge Grocery, a bakery-café focusing on fresh breads and coffee, community-supported agriculture and fresh, local produce.


Chef Mellman is a nationally acclaimed, James Beard-nominated chef who has honed his culinary skills for 30 years, managing and cooking in kitchens from Pennsylvania to Florida, France to Australia.  His wife and partner, Michelle Moran, is a longtime culinary journalist, the former editor of Gourmet Retailer, Progressive Grocer and Gourmet Business, and a professional cook on her own.


Masseria Kitchen + Bar is located at 67 Roberts Way in downtown Blue Ridge.  Telephone is 706-946-1511.


The vision behind the restaurant is embodied in its name:


masseria /masseˈria/

-The term masseria captures the idea of creating a domain from the earth:  MASSE, an area of land; ERIA as a place of production, spinning the word for the house from the word for the land.


Originally, these “farms,” were actually closer to what we might call a Southern Plantation.  They were a product of the Spanish colonization in the 14th and 15th centuries, when large swaths of uncultivated land in Southern Italy were given to local noblemen who ran agro-businesses, raising animals and growing wheat, while also living on the premises themselves.  Local villagers were able to use the space as well, bringing their olives in exchange for olive oil or grapes for wine.


Today, they stand as an illustration of the partnership man has with the land and sea.  The house and its surroundings – grape vines, olive and lemon trees, sheep and horses, presses and tools, urns and vessels – present a symbolic tableau.