About 18 years ago, Josh Patterson and Luis Flores were working together in an Owensboro Red Lobster. Flores was a teenager, working to pay for a car. Patterson was his boss.
Little did they dream during that their time working together in a chain seafood shop would one day lead to the opening of a fine dining restaurant in downtown Henderson.
But that’s what’s about to happen. They are opening Olea Fusión Bistró, which will be in the building formerly occupied by Henderson Juice Co. at 108 Second Street.
Now, the roles are reversed—Flores is Patterson’s boss. That’s just fine for Patterson, who has been a chef for 10 years with 27 years’ total experience in the restaurant business. He most recently worked at the Evansville Country Club.
Patterson said it’s been his dream to create his own menu with his name on it, which is what Flores has allowed him to do.
“It’s probably the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he said.
The menu will be a fusion of Greek, Spanish and American food, featuring high-end steaks, fresh fish—never frozen—and as much locally-sourced vegetables as possible, Patterson said.
“It’s a completely different twist on food than the area is used to,” said Patterson, who added that he’s eaten at all nearby restaurants recently to find the best ways to complement, not compete with, other local establishments. “This is definitely going to be something new to Henderson.”
The fine dining menu equates to a higher price than nearby restaurants, both Patterson and Flores said. Diners can expect a steak entrée to run $40; a fish entrée to be about $25; and a hamburger to go for $15, they said.
Flores said in addition to partnering with local vegetable farmers, he’s also going to look for ways to bring local meat, such as lamb and beef, to the restaurant. Patterson described his menu many times in an interview with the Hendersonian as “fresh.”
“We want to bring that ‘freshness’ and put that in all of our food,” Patterson said.
Flores said the restaurant will also include a wine list of French, Spanish and Italian selections, and they will provide best pairings to go with entrées. Additionally, the restaurant will hold a full-service bar headed by Kevin Monzon, who Flores described as a mixologist.
Restaurant staff were busy preparing the space for opening during the interview with the Hendersonian in late November. Flores said he plans to open Dec. 4. He said seating capacity will be about 50, with a mixture of 2-, 4-, and 6-person tables, as well as seating at the bar.
It will be open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. Both Patterson and Flores recommend getting a reservation.
Flores, who also owns Burrito Express on the 41-strip, another in Evansville and a third in Sebree, said he’s wanted to get into fine dining for a while.
“It was an idea for us to always have something different,” he said.
Flores said he and Mosqueda were also looking for spaces in Owensboro and Evansville, when the space on Second Street opened up.
“It works great for what we’re trying to do,” he said.
Flores seems enthusiastic about the opportunity to locate here. He said the recent investments made locally could cause a greater upswing in regional visitors. Both Flores and Patterson, Owensboro natives, said their hometown friends are talking about a visit.
“Henderson has the potential to be a small destination,” Flores said.