After months and months of extensive renovations, Barsa finally opened last week and proprietor Drazen Romic says it was just in time. "Finally money is coming in. After six months, I was totally maxed out on my credit cards, totally broke. It was perfect timing; one more day and I was in trouble."
Romic completely revamped the old Shine space on Line Street, stripping the metallic wallpapers, rebuilding the bar, and ripping out the uncomfortable banquettes. The swanky but awkward club vibe has been replaced with a cozy lounge feel.
"I didn't feel comfortable about the whole look," he says. "I had to do it because I want people to feel good."
The menu concept is classic Spanish tapas, and new chef Derek Falta, formerly of Chai's, had a mere four days to come up with some dishes in time for the opening last week. Romic hired Falta after Chai's closed down after their final New Year's Eve party.
"Four days for a chef to open and come up with a menu? That's really crazy," says Romic. "I have all the respect for Derek."
Originally, Romic was working with former Shine chef Shay MacDonald to craft a menu, but it just didn't work out. Romic says he's old school and MacDonald wanted to do more modern gastronomical cooking. "The concept of food he is interested in and what I wanted to do here just didn't match," he says, adding that the two parted on good terms.
Currently, the tapas menu at Barsa is limited to about 10-12 items, but over the next couple of weeks, as Falta has time to develop plates, that will expand to 25-30 items. Romic says they are also perfecting a paella recipe.
Barsa is open every day for happy hour from 5-7 p.m. and will stay open, serving food, until 1 a.m. (expect them to be open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). On Sundays, they'll be serving brunch and open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.