At first, the stories of Azur and Brasabana may seem incongruous and unlinked. Azur is known for fine dining “in the neighborhood” that draws on Chef/Owner Jeremy Ashby’s Southern upbringing (think fried chicken and biscuits) and brings that background to a higher level with customers who expect fresh and exquisite cuisine that is unique to Lexington.

Brasabana will feature Cuban cuisine that is naturally scented with the flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean (think plantains and slow braised pork). It will draw on the talents of Chef/Owner Miguel Rivas who hails from the Dominican Republic and trained as a culinary artist in New York City before locating to Lexington to be near family. It is a story of today’s global, mobile -- yet local reach -- that defines Azur and Brasabana.

Now look closely and learn more of the common thread that runs throughout the Azur Food Group properties. Get Chef Jeremy going and his story will excite and delight the listener. He speaks of his culinary education in Charleston, South Carolina (the capital of US Southern cooking) and how his apprenticeship in Miami, Florida moved his Southern thinking just south of the “border” in a way that our global thinking now allows. Hear him boast about the “feast and flavors of sunlight” and the inclusion of “unapologetically bold flavors” that are the reflection of Cuban and Caribbean color, spice and proximity to warm breezes and the endless sea. Add to that his commitment to the “farm to table” movement that seeks out and brings the freshest products to the table from producers we trust.

Miguel Rivas was born and raised on a farm in the Dominican Republic. He speaks lovingly of the dishes of his native island and his role in “procuring” the chicken that would serve as the centerpiece of the family dinner. He gravitated to New York City where he received culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America, apprenticed and worked in the kitchen at John Georges Restaurant, well known for excellence in the competitive environment of New York City. Couple that with a gig at Patria, a Cuban themed New York City restaurant, and you have a fusion of Cuban tastes and island influences that come together in Miguel.

Now, thrown into the mix of the chef/owners of Azur Food Group you have Bernie Lovely and Rob Mudd who round out the four guys -- not exactly five guys -- but of the same calibur!

Bernie is known for his social connections, business and legal acumen and Rob for his entrepreneurial spirit, accomplishments, his wide social network and a special touch for designing and building out the dreams of others. These four have been working together for nine years to make Azur Restaurant & Patio and a recent addition -- Azur Catering -- successes stories.

Now is the time to focus on Brasabana -- the newest member of the Azur Food Group family. So, my friends -- Think Azur? Think Cuban? Think the rumba -- defined as a Cuban dance that is complex in rhythm and steps. So, come rumba with us as we begin this exciting venture. Think the best of Southern cooking and delectable Cuban dishes with an island flair. As Chef Jeremy puts it, “It is all about the ingredients, layers, and the complexity of flavors that make for a unique experience.”

Join with Chef/owners Jeremy and Miguel, Bernie and Rob as they continue their quest to open not just another restaurant but an experience that will broaden not only our tastes but our horizons. Go ahead, don’t be shy -- LET’S RUMBA!