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Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

Kasana’s All-Purpose Food Collective

Organic food finds a home in the Third Ward

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In recent years the belowground space at the busy corner of Broadway and Buffalo Street in the Third Ward has hosted a café, a bakery, a bistro and a taco restaurant, but its latest occupant must be its most ambitious yet. The Kasana Group, which has gradually rolled out operations at 241 N. Broadway over the last few months, is a grab-and-go café, a restaurant, an events space, a catering service and a shared commercial kitchen all in one.

The thread tying all of those businesses together is a focus on natural goods. Chef Ana Docta started Kasana as a catering company specializing in gourmet organic foods, before spinning off the company into a line of ready-made food products called Good-To-Go, which serviced vending machines, corporate cafeterias and other venues where fresh foods aren’t always readily available. From there the business continued branching new arms.

Kasana has already put to good use the 3,500-foot kitchen at its new Third Ward location, which serves as the base for its catering operation and its new food collective. The company rents commercial kitchen space to local food entrepreneurs, including current tenants Caroline’s Raw World, Truffle Love, Rawlicious World and Afro Fusion Cuisine. “These are food entrepreneurs who are likeminded, because they’re all healthy, organic food providers,” explains Lisa Mills, Kasana’s business development director.

The space also includes an events gallery that Kasana rents out for weddings, corporate gatherings and other events. That’s on top of the full calendar of events that Kasana has planned for itself, which include wine and chocolate tastings, cooking demonstrations and a weekly pizza tasting called Rodizio de Pizza. Every Wednesday evening, Chef Dale Fahrnow gives a pizza-dough demonstration and creates five organic pizzas, both savory and sweet, many of them inspired by the flavors of Brazil. For $19.50 per person, that spread comes with an organic salad and a desert mousse.

Kasana has further expansion plans. “In the spring we’ll be open for brunch on Sundays,” explains Mills. “We have a liquor license so we can sell wine and spirits with our meals, but we’re also under construction for an actual bar, so we hope to be open nightly and reach more of a nightlife crowd soon. And we’ll also have outdoor seating in the spring, so we’re really making the most of this space.”