starters | comings & goings
comings & goings
BY RON MIKULAK
The lively local restaurant scene continues to percolate as this dreary winter draws to a close. Throughout the last three months there was some upheaval in the restaurant world here, as a few longrunning businesses ended, others changed hands and still others tried to reinvent themselves. Newcomers have joined the fray, 21 by our count. At least eight of those serve ethnic foods, owned by newcomers to America trying to gain a foothold by feeding us, always a welcoming way to join in the national ambition to make good by doing what you know how to do. Four additional outlets of existing restaurants have opened as well. There were only 13 restaurant closings in that time, plus four multilocation restaurants that have closed one outlet but still have others open.
NEW TABLES Familiar faces who have made good at other local restaurants offer several new options, joined by one experienced out-of-towner who was so impressed by Louisville that he decided to try his hand here. That guy would be Rocco Cadolini, who has two New York City restaurants, ROC in Tribeca in Manhattan, and Baci & Abbracci in Brooklyn. He also has a father-in-law who is a native Louisvillian, and family visits here persuaded him that this was a good place to do restaurant business. Cadolini has been making extensive alterations to the first floor and front garden space of the house at 1327 Bardstown Rd. that for about a decade was Butterfly Garden. The first floor of ROC Restaurant will be a bar and casual dining area, the upstairs a more formal room. The menu will be “traditional Italian with a touch of American.” Nostalgia buffs will be happy to know that Rick Longino has taken over D. Nalley’s, 970 S. Third St., which got a much-needed mechanicals upgrade and thorough cleaning while keeping the 1950s-era diner interior unchanged. The menu is just what you would want from a diner, including breakfast items served all day. In Clifton, two veterans of the local food scene who have been in at the start of several ventures have opened restaurants of their own. Geoffrey Heyde, who was executive chef at The Village Anchor for several years, and who then got SET off to a strong start, is opening Fork & Barrel at 2244 Frankfort Ave., the building that until recently had housed Basa Modern Vietnamese for 10 years. Heyde’s interests in his new venture will be classic, unpretentious American cuisine. Griffin Paulin is serving Asian street food – bahn mi, ramen, dumplings, bao – at Mirin, 2011 Frankfort Ave. Those who prefer more familiar Asian foods can find them at Dragon Café, 13206 Hwy. 42, and at Yoki Buffet, 1700 Alliant Ave.; both are Chinese restaurants that won’t unduly challenge American tastes. Three new Mexican restaurants have opened hither and yon. El Rio Grande has opened in the classy space at 10001 Forest Green Blvd. that used to be Limestone. Gilberto’s is at 1600 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. and Cancún, at 808 Lyndon Ln., adds some Mayan dishes to its otherwise standard Mexican choices. Rounding out the roster of new ethnic restaurants opened recently are Naila’s Caribbean Cuisine, 1370 Veterans Pkwy. in Clarksville, where curries on the menu show the influence of Indian emigration in
the Caribbean islands; and Nahyla’s Restaurant, 12220 Shelbyville Rd., which is giving Middletown a sampling of Venezuelan cuisine (arepas, pableon criollo, asado negro). And Little Jerusalem Café has moved from Iroquois Manor to 4413 Saint Rita Dr., and renamed itself Jerusalem Kitchen, where it’s still serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. There are three new bakeries in the area, each carving out an idiosyncratic niche. Flora Kitchenette, 1004 Barret Ave., offers gluten- and nut-free pastries; Hi-Five Doughnuts has settled into a storefront in the Butcher Block at 1011 E. Main St., and 410 Bakery is a full retail bakery, offering breads, pastries and coffee at 140 E. Main St., New Albany. Also in New Albany, at 147 E. Market St., “the old Little Chef ” is now Lady Tron’s, serving soup and sandwiches “with a retro outer space vibe.” Another new place likely to appeal to families is Double Dogs, 13307 Shelbyville Rd., a small, growing chain out of Bowling Green serving wings, salads, sandwiches, pizza and, of course, a variety of hot dogs. Chef’s Cut Pizzeria, 9901 LaGrange Rd., also serves a variety of other stuff in addition to pizza: sandwiches, wings, bread sticks, salads and pasta. Scene is the new bar and fast-casual dining offering in the lobby of the Kentucky Center for the Arts, serving small plates, salads and burgers to patrons before shows, and drinks afterwards. Across the river, the former Old Bridge Inn at 131 W. Chestnut St. in Jeffersonville is becoming Parlour, a casual restaurant and bar, with a beer garden and extensive game lawn for playing horseshoes, cornhole and other outdoor bar games. Out at the airport, Coals Artisan Pizza has installed one of its hightemp ovens to provision travelers, and Book & Bourbon Southern Kitchen has taken over the large lobby space before the security checkpoint.The menu will focus on modern twists on Southern comfort food. A few expansions of, or changes to, existing restaurants are worth noting. El Taco Luchador will soon open a second store at 112 Meridian Ave. in St. Matthews, the former Meridian Café location. Other moves include Red Hot Roasters, which is relocating its signature drivethru across the street to a larger, more easily accessible spot at 1399 Lexington Rd., and The Seafood Lady, which has moved to a larger space at 105 E. Oak St., where there is now room for dining in. Continued on page 11
FEB - MAR - APR 2017