On the Menu

Artmosphere unveils fresh food and fresh look

by Christiaan Mader

Throwing the couch out with the bathwater, Artmosphere looks to seal its status as a dining destination.

With the new menu unveiling on June 27, owner Berry Moody hopes to finally turn the corner on a track to

A sampling of Artmosphere's new menu items rolling out at an unveiling on June 27
photo by Amy Landry

establishing Artmosphere Bistro as a restaurant in the genuine article, complete with beck and call service and fresh-to-order dishes. The event will host a buffet and pass-arounds of Artmosphere's new kitchen offerings for attendees, featuring dinner-oriented plates alongside the gastropub fare the bistro has introduced in recent months.

“Used to be you’d come out for the music, and that was intentional. But you didn’t seek out the place for the food. The hope is that, with the new menu, there will be something that will hook you,” Moody says.

Moody sounds excited about Artmosphere's future as a restaurant, as uncertain as it may be at this point. Taking a break from "sprucing" up her recently quagmired bistro and bandstand at the corner of Convent and Johnston streets, she confesses she reluctantly rid her dining room of the sofa facing the stage from the back wall of the building, replacing it with paper-topped dinner tables. That couch, tall and swallowing, was emblematic of Artmosphere's genre-straddling past, a funky little back corner where folks could take in the scene: music, food, drink or otherwise.

Cultivating that scene around music came naturally to the Downtown venue since it opened 12 years ago, but certifying its identity as a restaurant in patrons' minds has been slow going, according to Moody.

“The music is working. So we'll leave it alone, and let it roll. But the food is not quite working yet," Moody says. "I’m hoping if we keep at it we can create a menu and environment where people come for the food."

Creamy Shrimp and Andouille over Garlic Cheese Grits
Amy Landry

One new star stepping into limelight is a creamy, smokey andouille shrimp over cheese grits plate that had previously debuted as a special for Artmosphere's Saturday and Sunday brunch. Moody kept her other surprises close to the vest, but noted that recent rollouts have featured gluten free pizza crusts and stuffed burgers on a more nimble menu created by manager Chad Lemoine

The event will feature a live performance by Johanna Divine, door prizes, free beer, flowing champagne, and a tasting of new wines. RSVPs are required for invited attendees, but the general public can buy admission at the door for $20 or advanced tickets for $15.

Read more about Artmosphere's troubles and the worthwhile effort to keep the Downtown venue going here.