Couple Opening Restaurant in Mainstrasse Using Crowdsourcing to Complete Venture

Editor's note: Chris & Tess Burns are members of the Awesome Collective of Covington, a group to which Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News, also belongs.

Commonwealth Bistro is close to opening on Main Street in Covington's Mainstrasse Village.

Chris Burns, a local chef who trained under Cincinnati food celebrity Jean Robert de Cavel, and his wife, Tess Burns, a designer, are turning to the community to help complete the restaurant's construction.

Using the online crowdsourcing site, Indiegogo, the Burnses and their investors are seeking $25,000 in additional funds that will allow the community to take ownership of Mainstrasse's newest dining option. Exclusive incentives and updates leading up to Commonwealth's opening will be included.

Pledge levels start at $5, with perks such as Commonwealth tee shirts, digital recipes, magnets, aprons, and cutting boards. Contributions of $250 and above will grant patrons 50 per-cent back on their gift through in-house credit (for example, $250 will allow for $375 in in-house credit, $500 will allow $750, etc.). 

A project two and a half years in the making, Commonwealth aims to deliver down-home country dishes with an imaginative flair, such as venison tartar served up with Boone Creek bleu cheese tater tots. Regionally inspired and locally sourced, the seasonally changing menu will prominently feature meats from area farms and herbs and vegetables grown in Commonwealth’s own community gardens.

In April, Commonweath Bistro was the first recipient of a new loan program through the City of Covington. Last December, Chris & Tess and The Awesome Collective debuted a free 'zine, the Covington Index of Awesome, that highlights "awesome" businesses, places, and people in the city.

The Burnses and their team have retained the original structure of the 1850s building at 621 Main Street and imparted the space with rich aesthetic details from re-purposed floorboard to a cutom-built bar wrapped in zinc. 

“My wife and I have lived here for years. I fell in love with the old-town charm of Mainstrasse, and setting up shop here seemed like the perfect way to integrate with the fabric of the community,” Chef Burns said. “Making food is how I communicate, and the idea behind Commonwealth is as much about spreading love for this region as it is about feeding people."

Patrons are in for a treat, with unique takes on Southern dishes like “Kentucky fried rabbit” and inventive touches like whiskey cocktails featuring bacon ice cubes and maple flakes. “I like food to be fun,” Chef Burns said. “Making it fun is what keeps me interested.”

Like a magician protective of his secrets, Burns is wildly enthusiastic about his craft but is careful not to let on too much about his wizardry in the kitchen.  Chef Burns specializes in unconventional cooking methods, dreaming up appliances as ingenuity strikes. For example, a former Coke freezer has been re-imagined as a cold-smoker, allowing for in-house preparation of Charcuterie and other specialty meats.

Visit Commonwealth Bistro's Indiegogo campaign for more details on these special offers:

About Commonwealth

Commonwealth, a Kentucky bistro, is a restaurant concept that embodies the region's heritage by connecting Covington’s urban core to its rural roots. Commonwealth will provide homespun contemporary farmstead cuisine featuring the best produce, dairy, meat, poultry, and handcrafted artisanal products the region has to offer. Commonwealth will offer the quality of fine dining cuisine at affordable price points. Commonwealth is located at 621 Main Street in historic Mainstrasse, Covington, Kentucky.

About Chef Chris Burns

Chris Burns grew up in Anderson Township and graduated from Scarlet Oaks and Sullivan University in Culinary Arts. Burns was the Executive Chef at Jean Ro Bistro for 6 years. Chris has been working in the restaurant business for 14 years, six of which were spent at Jean Ro Bistro. Burns serves as a leader of the Awesome Collective of Covington, co-founder of Covington Futurecraft and volunteers for multiple initiatives in the city.  He recently helped open the 7th Street Community Garden in Mainstrasse and has plans to expand community garden opportunities in relation to local restaurants, including Commonwealth Bistro.

Pledge Levels

$5 – Commonwealth Wallpaper

Our designers will send you a delicious wallpaper graphic for your computer.

 

$10 – Digital Recipes + Wallpaper

Get our designer’s delicious wallpaper graphic for your computer and five of Chef Chris Burns’ favorite recipes.

 

$25 – Quirky Magnet

One of the things we love at Commonwealth is a good sense of humor. Receive a high quality custom Commonwealth fridge magnet to impress all of your guests. In addition, we will send you our designer’s delicious digital wallpaper for your computer screen and five digital recipes from Chef Chris Burns.

 

$50 – Commonwealth Tee

Snag a Commonwealth Tee for fifty and we will throw in a quirky fridge magnet. Makes a perfect holiday gift! Love for the Cov!

 

$75 – Commonwealth Apron

Give your favorite chef a Commonwealth embroidered black apron and a magnet.

 

$125 – Commonwealth Cutting Board

Cook with style – Own a coveted cutting board custom designed with the Commonwealth rabbit logo.

 

$150 – Commonwealth Swag Pack

A custom apron, tee, magnet, and recipes!

 

$250 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $250.00 and get $375.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$500 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $500.00 and get $750.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$750 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $650.00 and get $1,125.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$1,000 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $1000.00 and get $1,500.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$1,500 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $1500.00 and get $2,250.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$2,000 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $2,000.00 and get $3,000.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)

 

$2,500 – Commonwealth Card Member

Receive 50 cents on every dollar toward food and drink (for example back CW for $2,500.00 and get $3,750.00 in food and drink in a return membership card.)