All posts by Robin Garr

Down One Bourbon Bar, two thumbs up

Thoughts upon an evening of snacking and sipping rye whiskey in Down One Bourbon Bar: Bourbon has been around for well over 200 years, and its history has been tied to Kentucky for all that time.

What’s more, bourbon is booming, with the state’s distillery roster almost quadrupling from 18 to 78 properties in the past 10 years..

So riddle me this: Why do you suppose that Louisville, stuck with a shabby downtown that closed up at night since white flight, expressways and suburban malls shelled it out during the ‘60s, took until now to figure out that bourbon makes a great fuel for tourism and urban development? Continue reading Down One Bourbon Bar, two thumbs up

Intriguing, creative Ostra wins with sustainable fare

Let me tell you three important things about Ostra, the stylish restaurant that opened last summer in Clifton:

  • It is very loud, so loud that a sudden shout can – and often does – spike its noise level into the potentially hazardous zone above 90 dB.
  • It is very dark, so dark that it’s not always easy to make out what’s on your plate.
  • It is very, very good, so good that I really don’t mind that it’s loud and dark. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
  • It also serves, among other things, a chocolate brownie made of crickets. Continue reading Intriguing, creative Ostra wins with sustainable fare

    Chilakiles has delicious Mexican breakfast and more

    A couple of weeks ago, I started getting glowing reports from friends and readers who urged me to check out a new little South End Mexican breakfast spot called Chilakiles.

    But when I asked Google to search, Google fought back.

    “Did you mean: chilaquiles?”

    No! I said “Chilakiles,” and “Chilakiles” is what I meant.

    Google didn’t believe me! I say “Chilakiles,” Google says “Chilaquiles.” Let’s call the whole thing off? Nope, can’t do that. It sounded too good. Continue reading Chilakiles has delicious Mexican breakfast and more

    Martin’s lands in old Lynn’s with decent ‘cue, no ugly lamps

    Five and one-half years and about 500 rumors later, the long-vacant space that long had housed Louisville’s Lynn’s Paradise Cafe is occupied again. Martin’s Bar-B-Que, a small Nashville-based barbecue chain, re-opened the Barrett Avenue A-frame in late August as its eighth property.

    Lynn’s, which had enjoyed a 21-year run either beloved or mocked for its wacky decor and oversize Southern-style dishes, closed abruptly on a Friday night in January 2013. Continue reading Martin’s lands in old Lynn’s with decent ‘cue, no ugly lamps

    Tacos surpass pizza as Taco City and Taco Choza arrive

    Some time during recent months, pushed by the arrival of the excellent taquerias Taco City in the Highlands and Taco Choza in St. Matthews, the metro area quietly, without any publicity, achieved full taco.

    What’s that, you ask? Simple. The numbers are a little vague, but by my best count, hungry Louisvillians now have at least 65 locally owned, independent places to buy tacos, surpassing the roughly 60-plus local pizzerias.

    Given all the cranky jokes about this being a city with a pizzeria on every corner, this is no small achievement. Continue reading Tacos surpass pizza as Taco City and Taco Choza arrive

    Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room

    Spring was in the air on the morning of March 10, 1977, when the Harrods Creek Volunteer Fire Department rolled out to an alarm at the old Pine Room restaurant on Upper River Road. A fire that began in the beloved restaurant’s kitchen quickly involved the rest of the building.

    Before fire fighters could contain it, the building was gutted by fire, smoke and water. The restaurant, a local landmark since the 1940s, closed forever. In its heyday it had been a popular destination, known for its friendly saloon atmosphere, comfort food, and lounge pianist named Mable who kept a candle burning atop her grand piano.

    Now, 40-some years later, the Pine Room is back, or something a lot like it, anyway. Continue reading Meet the new Pine Room, something like the old Pine Room