Ceaira “Chef Jack” Jackson and Misha K. Sampson will open the restaurant Nexus Cultural Cuisine & Craft Cocktails at 2704 Locust Street in midtown. The duo, partners in both business and life, aim to debut Nexus late this fall or in early winter.
Jackson and Sampson were the inaugural chef and general manager, respectively, at the Central West End seafood restaurant Bait when it opened in 2019. Among its acclaim, Bait received a 3-star review from this restaurant critic. In January 2020, the couple departed Bait.
Prior to Bait, Sampson was the co-owner and Jackson the chef at the late Soulard restaurant Fleur de Lilies.
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Jackson tells Off the Menu she and Sampson chose the name Nexus for their new restaurant because it means a central location — a meeting or gathering place.
“Basically, what we'll be doing is staying true to our roots, and doing cultural cuisine,” she says.
By cultural cuisine, Jackson means food that draws inspiration from around the world. Influences include Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, the American South and the Creole fare that Sampson featured at Fleur de Lilies. Bait fans, take note: there will be seafood.
Since leaving Bait, Jackson and Sampson have hosted several small themed dinners under their Culture Food Group brand. Feedback from these events — both what customers were looking for and what they enjoyed eating — have helped shaped the development of Nexus.
As for the cocktail program at Nexus, Sampson promises both twists on classic drinks and some original creations.
“We pride ourselves on making familiar things, (but) kind of reinventing them," she says. "Or (making) things you're comfortable with and kind of upping it a level, or things that you may not have eaten before, but we try to give it to you in a way that you'll enjoy it."
Though Nexus is several months from opening, Jackson and Sampson have launched a preliminary website for the restaurant.