Underground sounds: Jimmy Can’t Dance to bring the Jazz Age tunes to downtown

Longtime Monkey Wrench owner Dennie Humphrey is teaming up with Another Place Sandwich Shop operator Brian Goodwin to open an underground jazz club that’s truly underground—as in the basement of the aforementioned restaurant at 119 S. 7th St. The location is a prime spot: directly across from the 21 C Museum Hotel and a couple doors down from Mussel & Burger Bar.

The club will be called Jimmy Can’t Dance, and it will host live music four nights a week, starting mid-summer. According to a news release, the goal is to create a speakeasy vibe first by having guests enter through the dimly lit sandwich shop. Down below, they’ll find what resembles a traditional Manhattan jazz hall with New Orleans touches. The space will be classy and comfortable, owners say.

Programming will include weekly residencies by professional musicians, while serving as a place where young talent, including students from University of Louisville School of Music, can hone their skills.

Humphrey, who also is a partner in The Taj bar in NuLu, will lead the club’s beverage program. Expect a reasonably priced menu of jazz age-inspired cocktails, bourbon and craft beers.

“We want the bar program to be simple enough that you can get a drink quickly and get back to enjoying yourself,” Humphrey said in the release. “The menu will have variety, but will be price conscious. We don’t want anyone priced out of the experience.”

Another Place Sandwich Shop is creating a limited menu for Jimmy Can’t Dance, but don’t expect deli foods. Rotating menus will include pop-up collaborations with Louisville restaurants and chefs, and a weekend jazz brunch will be added to the lineup later this summer.

The name pays homage to Goodwin’s father, Jim Goodwin, who, before venturing into real estate, was a promoter in the Louisville music scene. He opened Friend in Hand and Beggar’s Banquet in Downtown Louisville. Goodwin also owned Another Place Sandwich Shop, now in its 45th year. Under the leadership of his son Brian, the operation has undergone a rebirth, including new culinary direction.

“Jim loved music, but he most certainly couldn’t dance,” said Goodwin. “Louisville has a great music scene, and we’re looking forward to adding to it while honoring my dad in the process.”

Expect more stories about your favorite haunts and ‘joints’

In the past, I traveled a lot with clients whose means far exceeded mine, lifestyles that included chauffeurs, four- and five-star hotels and restaurants matching that level. Because I was there to chronicle their activities, I got a taste of their lifestyle by proxy, so I joked that I lived like a king while earning a pauper’s wages.

But it could become too much of a good thing, and after several days eating every meal out and living in hotel rooms nicer than my apartment, I longed for the comforts of a PB&J on the couch in front of the TV. I was ready for, as my boss would say, “a little slumming,” which meant food and drink we could afford, meals consumed hunched over a bar and served from a plastic basket lined with wax paper. I’ve never lost my love for such relaxed repasts.

Perhaps my and my wife's favorite "dive" in the city, Cumberland Brews. Beer, food and service ... a complete package.

Perhaps my and my wife’s favorite “dive” in the city, Cumberland Brews. Beer, food and service … a complete package. The Jamaican jerk wings here are fantastic.

I made a few stops in such places recently and found myself surprisingly refreshed when it came to my writing. I found new stories to tell, things I’d overlooked by focusing mostly on “the newest restaurant in town.” With so many places opening, the best way to keep up pace is to produce blow-by-blow recitations of what I ate or drank—a task that can become tedious to write and, I gather, read. But it’s news, so we do it.

Yet, perhaps most interesting is the reaction I’ve noticed to tweets and posts about those relaxed stops, compared to reactions received about higher-end places. Going to places like Kern’s Korner yielded a story of a first date that led to a marriage, others praised the burger or the club sandwich, while some included suggestions for similar spots. A post about The Back Door yielded similar results, especially about the big, affordable pours of spirits.

Now that is a Back Door Pour: generous and inexpensive.

Now that is a Back Door pour: generous and inexpensive. This one is the bar’s Old Forester private barrel pick, my favorite of that series I’ve ever tasted.

By comparison, posts about amazing meals (Bistro 1860’s recent Titanic dinner, St. Paddy’s Day feast at Harvest), openings of Chik’n & Mi and Fork & Barrel get far less response, and likely because 1. only a small number of readers get to attend such special dinners, and 2. few people have anything to say about brand-new restaurants because they haven’t visited yet.

But let’s face facts: Many of us are drawn to those lower-end spots because they’re affordable. When we settle in, take in the surroundings, food and drink, we realize how soul satisfying they can be. It soon becomes practically impossible not to return, especially when you start making friends with bartenders, servers and regulars. An extended family forms unexpectedly, and you’ve got a new draw.

Perhaps most surprising of all is how many restaurant industry folk frequent these less-heralded spots, the “joints” where good burgers, wings, beers and sturdy whiskey pours are found. Given their days spent cooking and serving finer-dining fare, perhaps they also are burned out on it and longing for the basics done well.

Last Sunday at The Back Door, I chatted with a bartender who’s been there since it opened 31 years ago. Monday, while at the Bob Evans on Hurstbourne Lane with a former client, I hardly got a word in before our meal because he was surrounded by staffers who’d worked there between 31 and 39 years. He, a man who’ll turn 95 next week, has frequented the restaurant since it opened, but he hasn’t been there as much since he relinquished the keys to his car. It was touching to see them have an impromptu extended family reunion.

She ain't pretty, but she's tasty: the basic cheeseburger at Kern's Korner.

She ain’t pretty, but she’s tasty, right down to the grilled bun: the basic cheeseburger at Kern’s Korner.

Of course, such exchanges happen at upper-crust eateries, too. I participated in it when I worked in such restaurants, and I see it now on those infrequent occasions that I dine at local legends. I’ve seen owners beam when hosting special dinners for brides who they held as babies when their parents began dining there 25 years before. I’ve seen owners give backrubs to the ailing and the aged, and then say, “I’ll bring you some dinner by the house tomorrow, OK?” In short, there’s love at every level in this business. It’s how great restaurant folk are wired.

But as far as slumming—if you can even call it that since none of these places could be considered rundown (at Kern’s Korner, even the bottles on shelves appeared spotlessly dusted)—that’s where I think I want to be for a while, where I want some of my reporting to take me. There are new stories to tell, tales about people we all relate to, and anecdotes easily shared over burgers and beers.

Perhaps best of all is they won’t empty my wallet, and they’re free to you!

  • And please send any suggestions for your favorite haunts (or restaurants of any kind for that matter) to steve@stevecoomes.com!

Local Takes with Damaris Phillips; Talking Hogs with Barry Yates

We’re in the home stretch headed toward the beginning of Derby Week, so as the city’s best restaurant and bar podcasters, we’re here to fill you in on how restaurateurs here are preparing to host thousands of out-of-town guests. We start with Steve’s explanation of why so many operators are offering prix fixe menus, and as you might guess, part of the answer is staffing.

What new places are planning to open before the big day? Roc in the Highlands has made it, and it appears that the new Red Herring on Frankfort might welcome guests as early as this week. Across the street, we’re glad to see the Hilltop Tavern is back after some plumbing issues forced a weeks-long shutdown. Among Derby events to look forward to, the Jill’s Wish bash at Bowman Field is a deal at $65. But we’re not all about the fancy — we tell you about some excellent food at great prices in neighborhood spots the Back Door and Kern’s Korner. We also fill you in with more details on the big Bourbon & Beyond event, which has started a billboard campaign around town.

In the Copper & Kings Favorites segment, Steve picked a Kentucky Cuban sandwich at Monnik Brewing in Germantown, while Rick opted for the Hung Jury, a tasty burger at Sidebar during the post-Neil Diamond concert rush. At the Back Door, Steve selected an Old Forrester barrel pick, a bargain at $5.50 a pour. While at the Pints and Parkinson’s event at Fourth Street Live!, Rick sampled a Birra Sour at Birracibo, featuring Bulleit Bourbon, a Shock Top brew, lemon juice and orange bitters.

Our first guest, Damaris Phillips, has a bunch of TV projects in the works with the Food Network, but loves the restaurants and coffee shops in her hometown. Steve’s guest is Franklin County hog farmer Barry Yates, who will be providing the pig at this week’s Chef’s Table at Harvest.


Barry Yates


Damaris Phillips. Photo by Bill Brymer

Should be funny: Rob Lowe will be next KFC celeb Col. Sanders

We don’t do too much chain restaurant discussion on Eat Drink Talk, but I’m a sucker for this ongoing celebrity Col. Sanders campaign run by KFC. Few restaurant commercials have been quite as entertaining, and now they’re threatening to be sexy.

Well, at least for the ladies. The Louisville-based fried chicken chain announced today that Hollywood lust object Rob Lowe will be the next celebrity Col. Sanders.

As the photo above shows, even with the Colonel’s legendary goatee, Lowe’s chiseled chin is still recognizable, and his serious expression is doubly funny given his Sandersesque astronaut suit.

If Lowe is half as funny in the commercials as he could be on the sitcom, “Parks & Recreation,” I look forward to this commercial.

Will I buy the Zinger sandwich he’ll be promoting? My wife believes he’s the most handsome man on the planet, so if I have any brains between my ears, it’s a sure bet I will.

Keep reading to see what KFC has to say about the Zinger spicy chicken sandwich he’ll be pimping.

Excerpts from today’s news release:

KFC has enlisted actor, writer and producer Rob Lowe as the newest celebrity Colonel to play the brand’s iconic founder, Colonel Harland Sanders and to launch the KFC Zinger sandwich in the U.S. (and space).

Beginning April 23, Lowe will be featured in a campaign centered on launching the delicious Zinger chicken sandwich into space this summer (details of which will be revealed later this spring).

“My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was a kid. It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather,” said Lowe. “Plus, we’re sending the Zinger chicken sandwich to space. You kind of can’t beat that.”

(Th)e Zinger is made The Hard Way with a 100 percent white meat breast filet, hand-breaded and fried to a golden brown by trained cooks in every KFC kitchen, and served with lettuce and Colonel’s mayonnaise on a toasted sesame seed bun.

Said Kevin Hochman, KFC U.S. president and chief concept officer … “the Zinger is the bestselling KFC chicken sandwich in 120 countries and it’s now available in America.” (Another news source reported that 22 million Zingers are sold annually in Australia. That’s one for every Aussie every year.)

(T)he Zinger travels to the U.S. on April 24, available at participating restaurants as an individual sandwich ($3.99) or as a $5 Fill Up meal.

Collaborative Kitchen Concept MESA Coming to New Albany in June

Bobby Bass says that in his new MESA collaborative kitchen in New Albany, he’s trying to eliminate the gap between the kitchen and the dining room.

“Customers don’t often connect a face to their food, and we’re creating an experience in which chefs engage and customers can ask questions,” said Bass, who plans to open the space at 216 Pearl Street in mid-June.

Ysha and Bobby Bass of MESA

Ysha and Bobby Bass of MESA

He said the venue will play host to up to five events per week, featuring chefs he’s personally recruited, plus three to five in-house chefs. That way he can enjoy some of the positives about running a restaurant without the pressures involved in being tied to full-time hours. Bass is a real estate professional, and is opening the business with his wife, Ysha.

Talking about his first venture into the industry, he said he had never been so busy ironing out details and taking care of business issues.

While the space will have room to seat 20, it will also feature space for educational sessions, so that customers can connect with the chefs who prepare their food and see the action as it takes place. Among the chefs already on board for guest appearances at MESA are Scott Dickinson of The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Darnell Ferguson of SuperChefs, Josh Moore of Volare and Eric Morris of the Gospel Bird.

Bass said the experience will rival that of Chef’s Tables, the popular private affairs that sometimes take place in a small section of the kitchen at high-end restaurants.

In addition, there’s a retail boutique pantry, so that customers can select some of the accessories and ingredients used by the chefs to prepare their meals. He said the space will be equipped with high-end equipment, thanks to special arrangements he’s made with suppliers like Dine Company, Chefs Supply and Bonnycastle Appliances.

For now, MESA’s web site lacks details on scheduling, but that will change soon. For now, those interested can sign up there for a mailing list.

The success of Goss Ave. Pub proves significant concept change is good

You might disagree, but I say the most impressive thing that’s happened in Louisville restaurants this year was the gutsy and rapid shutdown, strip down and remake of Germantown Craft House into Goss Avenue Pub.

Craft House opened last August, but found itself way off the rails by the late fall. But instead making short-term tweaks and denying reality, its partners saw they were cannibalizing sales at its sister concept, Crescent Hill Craft House, and admitted they’d misaligned the concept to the blue collar cum hipster vibe of the Germantown-Schnitzelburg ‘hood.

They retrofitted it to its surroundings by hiring a consultant chef to create a completely new menu, reducing its craft beer lineup by pouring in some predictable and lower-cost domestics, adding tabletop games and trivia nights—all without changing the look of what is one of the more attractive new restaurants in the city.

Steve Coomes | Photo by Nancy LaRocca

Steve Coomes | Photo by Nancy LaRocca

And it’s working. Many love it and they’re returning frequently.

Sadly, the will to admit a concept has run its course, close the doors, retool and reopen as something else is lacking in the hearts of many restaurateurs. Just like every human, every business has a lifespan, and those businesses that outlast their founders are, for the most part, unusual.

In the same way humans utilize living wills, some restaurant concepts could also. Were such a thing created—and I can see the lawyers trying to figure this out as they read along—one line might read, “If for a pre-determined, extended period of time, customer counts decline 40 percent below comparisons for this restaurant’s best years, it’s time to end financial life support.”

I’ve seen this lifecycle begun and completed many times. A concept is launched, it’s a hit, sales pour in, guests are wooed and become fans for a generation. And yet despite those concepts sticking to exactly the formulae that worked so well for so long, customer traffic starts a steady decline somewhere around year 20. Sure, old diehard loyalists return because it’s their favorite place, or a place where they courted future spouses and celebrated anniversaries—or they were just complacent in their dining out routines.

But new guests don’t come because they see those aged concepts as unexciting, uninspiring and not connected to their modern lifestyles. Or, worse, they see it as the place where their parents courted and celebrated their anniversaries.

For a veteran operator, letting go of a concept must be unbelievably hard. I hear restaurateurs refer to their businesses as “my babies” all the time. Given that they created, nurtured and led those concepts to maturity and self-sufficiency, one can see exactly why they consider it as their own child.

But even the best-reared child must leave the nest—whether by natural desire for freedom or force of his parents—to create his own life. Parenting ends and a new life begins for Mom, Dad and the kiddo. All of that can be heartbreaking, but it’s healthy. Just like it can be in restaurant concepts.

Here’s a fact that never fails to amaze me: When chain restaurants do expensive makeovers to their exteriors and interiors, sales jump an average of 10 to 15 percent—even though there’s nothing new on offer to eat or drink. Just the mere appearance of change is stimulus enough to get customers through the door!

Some might claim that only proves P.T. Barnum’s saying, that “a sucker is born every minute.” But it proves beyond doubt that changes boost sales.

Want to see that reality in action? Just visit Goss Avenue Pub. Not just on weekends, when most places are busy already, but on any evening of the week. You’ll be impressed.

Mixing it Up at Copper & Kings with Brandon O’Daniel; Pam Stallings Makes a Wish

The city’s best restaurant and bar podcast welcomes spring with some exciting news at several local hotspots. Let’s start with Steve’s visit to Fork & Barrel in the former Basa spot on Frankfort Ave. Steve says regular visitors to the former establishment won’t recognize the new one, and the elevated Southern cuisine is fantastic. We learned that the former Tom + Chee spot on Bardstown Road will become the home of Pho Café in June and we’re also reporting positive vibes at Chik’ N Me on Frankfort, where the bonito fries are a visual stunner.

Finally, we react to the initial lineup for September’s Bourbon & Beyond Festival, a music, bourbon and food festival featuring numerous big name bands, local chefs Edward Lee and Dean Corbett among others, as well as Tom Colicchio and other celeb chefs. We discuss concerns over the fact that distilleries have yet to sign on to the new show.

In our Favorites segment, Rick’s Quesorito at Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina drew praise for the volume of queso, while Steve selected the charred octopus at Fork & Barrel. Not only love the Depretador cocktail at Copper & Kings’s Mala Idea event, he indulged in a gin-based Emily’s Garden at Fork & Barrel as well.

Brandon O’Daniel, head distiller at Copper & Kings, discusses two new gins coming from the distillery. Pam Stallings, a franchisee of two local Salsarita’s, talks about the time and food she provides to local charities, including a very special event in late April.

Thanks to our sponsors — the Eye Care Institute, Harvest Restaurant and Copper & Kings for helping us make it to this, our 50th show.


Brandon O’Daniel at Copper & Kings


Pam Stallings at Salsarita’s


Bourbon and Beyond Announces Big-Name Chefs, Musicians for September Festival

Louisville’s Champions Park on River Road will be the epicenter of the worlds of bourbon, food and music Sept. 23-24, if all goes according to the plans being made by Danny Wimmer Presents, the company that has produced the Louder Than Life Festival in the same location for the last three years.

An initial announcement about the event came out March 21, but was notably light on details. Today the company released the names of musicians, chefs and more who will be attractions at the two-day event. It also announced it has started selling tickets at www.BourbonandBeyond.com, though that information was not available at 10:30 a.m.

The lineup of musician includes Stevie Nicks, Eddie VedderSteve Miller Band, Band of Horses, Joe BonamassaGary Clark Jr.Paul RodgersAmos LeeBuddy Guy, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Kenny Wayne ShepherdJonny Lang, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ZZ Ward, Nikki LaneShawn James & The Shapeshifters, Fantastic Negrito, Kiefer Sutherland and Dave Cavalier. 

According to the release, DWP selected local bourbon authority Fred Minnick, along with acclaimed chef Edward Lee, to fashion “an enriching weekend featuring the best bourbons, master distillers, national and local chefs, bartenders, musicians, and many other artisans.”

50 bourbons will be showcased in several bourbon-themed experiences, from the 20,000-square-foot “Big Bourbon Bar” to the Hunter’s Club, Bourbon Barrel Cooperage and The Distillery. Also planned is a series of bourbon workshops.

The Festival has reached out to the local restaurant community, and announced the participation of seven on its initial list, which it says will grow to 20. They are Baxter’s 942 Bar & Grill, Boss Hog’s BBQ, Doc Crow’s, Gospel Bird, Seviche, The Manhattan Exchange, and the soon-to-open Whiskey Dry, Lee’s new restaurant at Fourth Street Live!

Food events are a primary feature, with this list of chefs also signed on for aspects of the party: Tom ColicchioCarla HallEdward LeeChris CosentinoAmanda FreitagJose SalazarCosmo Goss & Erling Wu-BowerKevin AshworthAnthony Lamas and Anthony Falco.

The release promises “an incredible all-in-one bourbon, food, and entertainment destination that honors the rich history of bourbon that is so deeply rooted in the heart of Kentucky.


Bourbon and beyond image

Fork & Barrel brings elevated Southern food, sophisticated cocktails to Clifton

I thoroughly enjoyed Basa Modern Vietnamese, and

Not your Basa anymore. New eye-catching colors coat the wood-sided exterior of Fork & Barrel.

Not your Basa anymore. New eye-catching colors coat the wood-sided exterior of Fork & Barrel.

though I never visited it frequently enough, when I learned it was ending its 10-year run at 2244 Frankfort Ave., I and many others were saddened.

But all good things must come to an end sometime, right? And nothing makes that so abundantly clear as a dramatic makeover like the one given that space for the opening of Fork & Barrel last week. No former fan of Basa will look at the quaint, wood-sided Clifton building and recall its former tenant. The battleship gray exterior now bears a scheme of muted orange, tan and black, colors carried over to the mix of rustic and modern tones and textures inside. You’ll find yourself asking, “This was Basa? Really?” and then struggling to find elements connected to that concept.

“We wanted it to have its own look in every way possible,” said Geoffrey Heyde, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Emily. “That took more work than we expected, I’ll have to say, but I think it’s worth it.”

Emily's Garden, a delish gin cocktail to start.

Emily’s Garden, a delish gin cocktail to start.

In conversations I’ve had with Heyde over the past two months since the opening was announced, he’s described his cuisine as elevated Southern and classic American. The dinner-only menu reflects a blend of both notions with multiple beef, lamb, chicken, pork and regional fish dishes, though it veers toward the East Coast with mussels, crab cakes—before taking far eastward to the Mediterranean, with charred octopus. With the backing of Nick Sullivan, longtime chef de cuisine at 610 Magnolia and, most recently, chef de cuisine at The Oakroom, such off-theme excursions are both welcome and expected.

That carries over to the bar menu as well, where just two of seven house cocktails listed use bourbon as their base spirits. Head mixologist Karla Jean clearly likes clear spirits, leaning on gin, tequila and vodka to create several clever offerings including my choice, Emily’s Garden (gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice and rose water). (Worry not, brown spirits fans, there’s lots of that to draw from.)

Charcuterie board with foie gras bonus.

Charcuterie board with foie gras bonus.

Food prices range from $8 (parsnip soup) to $39 for Border Springs lamb chops, but the majority of the plates are priced at the middle of that spread. A couple could easily get out for $50 or ratchet up the spend to triple that with a bottle of wine, so the experience is easily tailored to your mood and appetite.

Invited by Heyde for a soft opening (meaning food guests’ food is free, but tax, drinks and gratuity are on them), a friend and I shared a pair of appetizers including the super lump crab cakes ($12 with sauce gribiche, avocado mousse, red vein sorrel and chili oil), and charred octopus ($16, white beans, country ham, rutabaga, flash-fried greens and haricot verts). Both were great, but I was taken with—as I always am—the eight-legged creature. Such a treat to find tender versions like this one. The assorted charcuterie ($14) was delicious as well, especially the bonus foie gras.

The cornbread and buttermilk salad ($9) could double as a savory dessert should Heyde want to scoot it around the menu. The buttermilk was actually a strip of delicate buttermilk panna cotta served atop sweet corn puree and blistered corn kernels along with tufts of mache, strawberry slices and crumbled cornbread.

Our entrees were straightforward Southern: mine a pair of cornmeal-encrusted Lake Barkley carp ($24) fried and served atop a Rappahannock clam chowder and roasted vegetables; my friend’s, roasted veal loin ($26) with celery root, mashed potatoes and veal jus. Hearty and substantial, but well prepared. Great cooking technique is always appreciated, but occasionally lacking sometimes in kitchens.

Barkley Lake carp over Rappahannock chowder.

Barkley Lake carp over Rappahannock chowder.

Not only were we too stuffed to even look at the dessert menu, we both had separate engagements afterward, so we bid our solid server adieu and headed out.

Long story short: There’s nothing in Clifton like Fork & Barrel. It’s its own breed in a neighborhood collection of upscale Italian, relaxed American, rustic Irish, dive bar chow and full-on trendy spots. Maybe the closest comparison I could make is it’s a bit similar to Harvest, where ingredient selection and classic technique are hallmarks. It’ll be fun to see what personality Fork & Barrel develops over the coming year. Heaven knows adequate talent is under roof to make it a solid spot on the local scene.

Fork & Barrel, 2244 Frankfort Ave. Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 5-11 p.m. Call 502-907-3675 for more information.

Pints for Parkinson’s Set to Take Over Fourth Street Live April 19

If you’re a regular at Fourth Street Live!, you know that a band playing on a stage in the street is a regular occurrence. But the party coming up April 19 marks a milestone event, as the third-annual Pints for Parkinson’s party spreads out over the entire complex.

Jason Smith, the general manager at Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant, started Pints for Parkinson’s at the 4SL spot shortly after he was diagnosed with an early onset form of the debilitating and potentially deadly disease. (If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the affliction borne by Muhammad Ali for many years.) Smith got involved in the fight against the disease by donating proceeds from one of the restaurant’s Pint Nights to the Parkinson’s Support Center of Kentuckiana. The larger party evolved from there.

Last year, at the second event, Smith’s work to promote the party resulted in one of the largest crowds in the restaurant’s history, so much that he said he couldn’t have squeezed another person inside or out onto its patio space.

“We were busting the restaurant at the seams,” said Smith, who is able to manage his disease with medication, though he suffers from occasional tremors. “We took the fence down and went out into the street.”

The party attracted the attention of Cordish executive Ed Hartless, who engordonbierschgaged in meetings with Smith to plan this year’s event, which will now encompass all of the entertainment complex. Ten percent of proceeds from sales at Fourth Street Live! restaurants, and all beer sales from a tent at the south end of the complex, will go to the cause.

Smith said he raised $3,500 the first year, $10,000 in the second and hopes to break $20,000 this year.

“Jason’s story is a great one, and when we heard about it, I said we would jump in in any way we could,” said Hartless.

Smith is especially excited about the band at the top of the bill — national chart-topping Country-Americana band Jericho Woods. The trio of Breckenridge County natives was selected by the readers of Kentucky Living Magazine as the Commonwealth’s Favorite Performing Band last year.

If you’ve been before, you can expect the return of the traditional tapping of the Maibok keg from Gordon Biersch as well.
Ed Hartless

Ed Hartless

“What Jason has been able to do in promoting Pints for Parkinson’s is amazing,” said Hartless. “Instead of having the crowd squeeze into one restaurant, we will be able call attention to a great cause in a much larger space.”

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, but Smith’s passion for the cause isn’t limited to four weeks. He’s organized pint nights in Bowling Green and Evansville, and partners with other local breweries to raise awareness. He’s even formed a 501-C-3 foundation to help distribute the funds raised.

While Gordon Biersch is a national chain with 32 locations, Smith said the success of the Louisville store can be traced to its involvement in local events and causes. Every month, the restaurant hosts a Pint Night when all beer proceeds go to a local non-profit organization. He said the restaurant raised $80,000 for a dozen charities last year,  and members of his team volunteered 200 service hours to community service projects.

“Fourth Street Live has become more family friendly and community oriented, and being a part of the community has really helped our business,” said Smith.

The Pints for Parkinson’s Charity Fundraiser is Wednesday, April 19, starting at 6 p.m.  at Fourth Street Live!