Mesa Grill general manager’s dedication to success
By Kiko Miyasato
In 1995, Jean Pierre “J.P.” Francois walked into Mesa Grill in Manhattan and asked for a job … and the rest, as they say, is history. But, that history is Francois’ present, as he is currently the general manager and beverage director of Mesa Grill in Las Vegas. After working for 11 years in Manhattan, he “needed a break from the city; I wanted to take a breather,” he said. So he moved to Vegas.
And Francois has nothing but love for Mesa and its owner, chef Bobby Flay. “It’s a labor of love and I think that I have a really big pride of ownership working here,” he explained. “To work with your friends again is refreshing and invigorating and I look forward to it every day.”
When Francois isn’t working the door, tending to the staff or taking care of all of his customer’s needs, he’s tapping into his favorite part of his job—the beverages. “We’re very selective about our tequilas. We don’t want to be the place with the most tequila; we want to be considered as the place with the finest and best tequilas.” Favorites include Chinaco, El Tesoro and Partida.
And the food? “Our style of contemporary Southwestern cuisine is really unique. Bobby has never been one who is all about authenticity; he likes to mix a lot of different flavors together,” Francois said. And the vibe? “I think the premise of the restaurant is to be fun. Have a couple margaritas and some great food. The vibe is completely fun and festive, just like that margarita.”
Served straight up, the Partida Margarita is smooth and delicious. “It’s incredibly pleasant,” Francois said. Mixed with Partida Blanco tequila, fresh-squeezed lime juice and organic agave nectar, the cocktail is naturally sweetened through the nectar and doesn’t have the tart bite one might expect with a traditionally made margarita.