Q & A with Zachery Mundt of Costa Mesa’s event “Jewel Box” known as The Shindy

We are excited to introduce Zack Mundt whose talent + love for design to breathe new life into a storied WWII bungalow in West Side Costa Mesa. You cannot walk into the space without feeling a bolt of celebratory energy & happiness. Everything from the textured wallpaper to the colorful floor tiles is a delight. We love what you have done with the place–and we have so many questions for you! 

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Spearfish, South Dakota and spent most of my time outside in the Black Hills. 

Did you have a love of design as a child? As a child I didn’t really know that design was even a thing. Most everything around me was generally based on function rather than fashion. I definitely had a deep love of building things – tree houses, skateboard ramps, random things made of wood, and always loved the old wood structures – barns, root cellars, etc – that were in the fields behind my house and were left by the homesteaders and other early inhabitants of the area. 

You are close with designers in the commercial/hospitality world, what are some of your favorite projects? Oh my – there are so many… My favorite place to go and stay and eat is the Chiltern Firehouse in London. The hotel itself is absolutely gorgeous. They have this amazing balance of true, rich, luxury in their finishes and fixtures, and there are a ton of plants and flowers that really balance it out and make it feel welcoming and calming. The service is absolutely top notch, which is vital for a complete experience.  I’m working on the Magnolia Hotel in Waco TX right now and am so excited!! This one is more about bragging rights with my family 🙂  Everyone loves Chip and Joanna and this one gives me a little street cred since a lot of what we do in my world is unknown to the average person. 

What is it that catches your eye (or heart) about a product/design element? When something is absolutely beautiful, or unique, or completely strange and eye catching, but still functions perfectly for a particular purpose – I love that. I also love multi-colored stripes… I cant wear them, and they don’t usually fit in our home etc, but I just love it visually – definitely brings me joy. 

What led you to create The Shindy? During the pandemic, our wonderful neighbor restaurant, Trenta, expanded into the parking lot in front of our office space. People kept looking in and then some started asking if they could rent it out for a party. At first we said no, but then, Leilah, my wife and partner in The Shindy, pitched the idea that we hire a designer and create a small, beautifully curated, event space. We then sourced as much as we could from manufacturers that I represent so I can use the space for design meetings, presentations, etc as well. 

We know some of your favorite restaurants are Bavel and Bestia? Do you feel they may have informed the look/feel of The Shindy—in what way? The look of Bavel and Bestia are entirely their own and The Shindy is in quite a different direction. Something that is certainly reminiscent of those amazing establishments is the care and detail in how they present their product to the world. When you’re there you can feel that it is absolutely necessary that each bite is just right, and we strive to provide that with the experience we provide at The Shindy. 

Are you the chef at home? We’re actually a home full of home chefs!! Leilah, Willa (our 12 year old) and I all love to cook and create and eat delicious things. That said, I do quite a bit of the cooking. It is a time for me to decompress and unwind at the end of the day, or a great cathartic project to create something larger on a weekend.  I truly love the detail of cutting each ingredient to a specific size or shape so that each cooks to a specific texture or flavor or doneness – and when those pieces come together as a whole – it is truly magical. 

What is your most memorable meal–one you made or one you’ve had? Leilah and I went to Alinea in Chicago for our anniversary one year and it was absolutely incredible. Each dish is generally one bite, sometimes a couple, and truly mind blowing. The flavors and textures they create is unbelievable and the beauty of each is stunning. Each plate, eating utensil, etc is made specifically for that dish. It is like a gorgeous, miniature food circus, with the most amazing service. 

What is your most prized design element? I don’t know that I’ve got one yet….I more value my kitchen tools – my cast iron pans, my knives and kitchen shears, the tortilla press, things I use daily. 

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness for me would be a small farm with enough land to grow most of the food and livestock we eat, a beautiful farm house with two amazing kitchens – one indoor and one outdoor – and enough money to hire great people to help make sure it all runs smoothly. 

What is your greatest extravagance? Food – definitely. We love to go out to a great restaurant and truly enjoy it. 

If you could change one thing about how people enjoy food or design spaces, what would it be? I do think people could respect the places they’re in and the people who are working hard to provide them with a good experience. 

What do you most value about The Shindy and how to see its future? I love that The Shindy is used for people to get together – be it for a dinner, a baby or wedding shower, a graduation, a birthday – I love being around my friends and family and get recharged by doing so. I love it that we are able to provide a place for people to to just that. 

Who/What inspires you? Leilah and Willa inspire me daily. I’m inspired by almost anyone who decides they want something and then goes after it. Life is tough and sometimes it’s a challenge to get up and go but you’ve got to do it and you feel better once you get going. There’s beauty everywhere – I definitely take tiny moments and use them to inspire me, a hummingbird in the back yard in the morning, flowers in yard when we get in the car, laughing with my daughter on the way to school, a smile from another parent as we pull out of the parking lot… I tend to look for little moments of joy and keep them within to help through the day. 

What is your motto? “Keep swimming!”  Once again, it truly is all about the people you meet along the way!

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Friday, June 16, 2023 6:30pm-9:30pm
$178. per person, all-inclusive
four course meal + wine pairing by
the talented Chef Kyle Powers + Sous Chef Bryan Barnes⚡️.

The Shindy
1663 Superior Avenue, Suite A
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(17th x Superior)

Purchase Tickets:

Let’s Go On A Lark!

Open invite. Limited seats.