The Winter 2006 edition of our sibling print publication, Food & Dining Magazine Louisville Edition, is now available on news stands and local groceries and food specialty stores. (Click the cover image for more information and a great subscription offer!) Here, as a free preview, is our quarterly report on openings, closings and changes on the local restaurant scene:
Every three months, Food & Dining reviews restaurant openings, closings and other dining-industry changes in the metro area during the past quarter. This time around, like the quarter before it, saw considerable activity, with the good news that openings (including more than 30 new-business starts and about 10 additional locations for existing businesses) again significantly outnumbered the bad news of 20 restaurant closings.
As Food & Dining went to press, perhaps the loudest restaurant-news buzz of the season accompanied plans for several hot new spots that were set to launch during the early months of the new year.
Partners David Grace (once Jillian’s GM) and Anthony Noland plan to open Raw Sushi Lounge around the end of February in the old Marmaduke Building, near the Seelbach Hotel at 500 S. Fourth Street. Shooting for an audience perhaps a bit more upscale and mature than the young crowd drawn by nearby Fourth Street Live, they’ll offer exotic sushi in a sophisticated, glitzy lounge atmosphere.
Speaking of upscale, the posh 21C Hotel, going into nicely renovated older buildings at 702 W. Main Street this spring, will house Proof On Main, a stylish spot from New York’s well-regarded Myriad Restaurant Group, featuring “American cuisine with Tuscan influences” and a fancy Bourbon bar.
Two hot spots coming soon in Crescent Hill are Danielle’s in the old O’Donnell Building, 2206 Frankfort Avenue, where Chef Allan Rosenberg, formerly Chef Anoosh Shariat’s chef de cuisine at Park Place, will open his own signature restaurant; and Sweet Pea’s Southern Bistro, 2350 Frankfort Avenue, a second restaurant for Christopher Seckman of the popular North End Cafe.
Coming soon in the bustling East-of-Downtown arts district is Jenicca’s, 636 E. Market Street, a stylishly casual spot that metamorphoses from a coffee shop by day to a wine bar at night.
And, received too late for our print edition, we’re excited about the planned Feb. 6 arrival of a new fine-dining spot on the North Side, Bistro New Albany, 148 East Market St. (corner of Market and Bank) in the Southern Indiana city.
Returning lights and action to the restaurant space in Actors Theatre of Louisville’s historic building, welcome Intermezzo American Café & Cabaret, 316 W. Main Street.
Think history never repeats itself? Check out these five spots that recycle old favorites, to our delight: The next Kayrouz generation takes over where their parents left off with Kayrouz Café, in the tiny St. Matthews building that’s held a series of eateries at 127 Wiltshire Avenue. Jockamo’s Pizza Pub, a longtime Highlands landmark (later replaced by Za’s, gets a new start at 983 Goss Avenue in Germantown. Lentini’s, 1543 Bardstown Road, bounces back from bankruptcy with new owners; Longino’s turns up intact at 1506 Berry Boulevard after closing its old quarters on Preston; and Pita Delights gives it a third try in the little house vacated by Papillon at 1616 Grinstead Drive.
Intriguing new ethnic spots include La Rosita Taqueria, rated by aficionadoes as one of the metro’s top authentic Mexican taco stands, tucked into the corner of Shireman’s Farm produce market at 2535 Charlestown Road.
Out Oldham County way, Steve-O’s Italian Kitchen is drawing attention with outstanding pizzas and other Italian-style fare at 4205 W. Highway 146, in the former home of Backwoods BBQ where Buckner meets LaGrange. Taste Of Jamaica brings the color and spice of Jamaican fare back to town in the former Shemroun’s space at 2017 Brownsboro Road; and #1 Asian Buffet offers a big, glitzy room and an oversize if somewhat variable Asian-international buffet in the Mid-City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Road. (A similar concept takes an offbeat twist with a few Louisiana-style choices that prompt the name Cajun Kitchen on a mostly Chinese buffet at 4645 Outer Loop.)
Finally, although it’s never too late to correct the record, welcome Will and Laura Crawford’s year-old Westport General Store to our listings. It’s well worth the half-hour drive up the Ohio to this lovely bistro in the renovated old grocery store at 7008 Highway 524 in the riverside village of Westport, Ky.
More additions, listed alphabetically: Aver’s Gourmet Pizza, 4610 Taylorsville Road; Brownie’s Grill & Bar, 237 Whittington Parkway; Camille’s Sidewalk Café, 2060 S. Hurstbourne Parkway; China 1, 123 Breckinridge Lane; Frontier Diner, 7299 Dixie Highway; Golden Palace Buffet, 161 Outer Loop; Groove Café, 1882 Blackiston Mill Road, Clarksville; Islamorada Fish Co., 951 E. Lewis & Clark Parkway, Clarksville; Jake’s & Mr. G’s, 10432 Shelbyville Road; Macvittie’s, 106 Sears Avenue; Prado’s Pizza, 12935 Shelbyville Road, and Zap’s, 423 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
Topping the list of local spots expanding into additional locations, the deservedly popular Saffron’s establishes a second presence as the all-you-can-eat, lunch-only Saffron’s Buffet, in the former Manoosh’s at 558 S. Fifth Street.
In New Albany, the owners of La Rosita Taqueria are opening a second branch in the former California’s at 1515 E. Market Street.
Other additions include new iterations of Asian Buffet, 3646 Mall Road, and Beef O’Brady’s, 105 Lafollette, both in New Albany; Coffee Crossing, 13825 English Villa Drive and 4212 Charlestown Road; Panera Bread, 1040 Veterans Parkway, Clarksville; Rocky’s Italian Grill, 10206 Westport Road, and Royal Garden, 6801 Dixie Highway.
Also in New Albany, Bean Street Cafe moved about three blocks down the pike, from 3003 to 2736 Charlestown Road.
Three local spots changed their names: Windy City Pizzeria, 2622 S. Fourth Street, changed its name from Queenie’s to better reflect its emphasis on thick, hearty Chicago-style pizza; and two Chinese restaurants picked new monikers: Harvest Moon, 10476 Shelbyville Road, became Ling Ling, while Imperial Palace, 5316 Bardstown Road, became Royal Garden.
The abrupt closing of Furlongs, 2350 Frankfort Avenue, deprived Crescent Hill of a longtime Cajun-Creole favorite, although it had been reported slipping in recent months.
Other particularly regrettable closings involved Manoosh’s, 558 S. Fifth Street, where lunch business had been brisk but management reportedly found it profoundly difficult to lure hungry crowds the block over from busier Fourth Street. Perhaps discovering that Greek cuisine was simply too “ethnic” for the chain-eatery style of the far East End, Nik’s Riviera Café shut down at 1915 Blankenbaker Parkway; and Benny Impellizeri’s pizzeria at 808 Lyndon Lane was open for such a short time that passers-by who blinked too long may have missed it entirely.
Other eateries that we really wish we could have kept around: Shemroun’s Persian Grill, 2017 Brownsboro Road; Twiams Chicken & Waffles, 2517 Dixie Highway, Bakelicious, the charming if hard-to-find little Hong Kong/Vietnamese bakery at 6915 Southside Drive; La Petit Patisserie, the equally charming French-style pastry-and-coffee shop in Germantown at 1036 E. Burnett Avenue, and the excellent but perhaps too isolated Figaro’s Pizzeria, 16201 Eastwood Cut-Off Road.
Anchor Inn, which never seemed to quite find its niche in the former Abruzzi space, finally sputtered to a halt 1500 Evergreen Road in Anchorage; we hope another restaurant will eventually settle in its pretty, park-like setting.
A moment of silence for these other closed spots, listed alphabetically:
Big Ben’s Barbeque, 1331 E. Eighth Street, Jeffersonville; California’s Coffee House, 1515 E. Market Streeet, New Albany; Country Kitchen, 1506 Berry Boulevard; Dixie Cup Café, 4637 Dixie Highway; Gourmet Grazing, 9550 U.S. 42; Highlands Taproom, 1279 Bardstown Road; Holly’s Legal Street, 715 W. Jefferson Street; Jabber’s Family Sports Grill, 6121 Bardstown Road; Lindy’s, 5110 Preston Highway, and Roadway Wings, 708 Cecil Avenue.
Finally, Bazo’s Fresh Mexican Grill closed its Middletown eatery at 12401 Shelbyville Road, and the Beef O’Brady’s chain abandoned its St. Matthews property at 106 Sears Avenue.