By Karen Welch — Senior Content Producer
The Gem will replace BL Bistro at 2203 S. Austin St. after the bistro closes on Saturday.
Partners in BL — which is ending an 18-year run — are finalizing plans for a new bar serving "small bites and shareable dishes," said Lizzie Mason, one of those partners behind BL Bistro Inc.
"It won't be as focused on the restaurant feel," she said. "It won't be the same dishes as BL Bistro. There might be a couple of them that resurface from time to time. But we'll be doing some differnet sliders and flatbreads and this kind of things.
"We would hope that a table of four would order four or five things to try. Everything will be priced between $7 and $12."
The offerings will be tasty but simpler fare because Chef Brian Mason, her business partner and former husband, will be opening Prime Chophouse & Lounge soon at Town Square Village, she said.
"We're trying not to overlap with Prime," Lizzie Mason said.
A parking lot renovation and interior space redesign will begin once BL closes.
"Curated sofas and couches and comfy chairs" will supplant the tables and chairs in the dining room, she said. "We want to cater to people who need to stop in for 30 minutes and people who want to come hang out for a couple of hours."
Planning also is in the works for trivia nights, specials and other activities to engage guests, Lizzie Mason said.
Operating hours still are being determined.
"We should be respectful in the neighborhood like we've been with BL," she said. "We'll close at midnight."
Mason said she believes the name The Gem could prompt a play on words.
"My hope is, 'I'd love to meet y'all, but I have to go to The Gem.'"
Support for Biz Here at Panhandle PBS is provided by Amarillo National Bank.
Karen Welch is a senior content producer for Panhandle PBS. She can be contacted at Karen.Welch@actx.edu, at @KWelch806 on Twitter and on Facebook. Subscribe to the Panhandle PBS BizHere podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud to hear more business news and interviews.