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!

Stephen Bowles on Barbecue; Michael Crouch Captains the Titanic Dinner

It’s another tasty episode of the city’s best restaurant and bar podcast. As we close in on a full year of podcasting excellence, Rick and Steve are serving up the inside scoop on new developments around town. We start with news that Fork & Barrel will open Friday in the old Basa spot on Frankfort Ave. From there, you won’t have to go far for Chik’n & Mi, now open on lower Brownsboro with a little-known, but Bobby Benjamin-endorsed chef, Jason McCullen. Down the road a bit, there’s a new place to eat at the Disney World of Distilleries, Maker’s Mark. And finally, in the Old Louisville spot once occupied by Slice, a new Cajun-Creole restaurant is coming at the end of April.

Stephen Bowles has decades of accumulated expertise in all things barbecue, including operating three former Pepperwood stores. These days he spends much of his time cooking up BBQ for various charities, including the upcoming Jill’s Wish party at Bowman Field. Steve’s guest is renowned chef Michael Crouch of Bistro 1860, who is preparing for an all hands-on-deck celebration called the Titanic Dinner, a 10-course feast coming April 13.

In our Copper & Kings favorites segment, Steve couldn’t decide between two treats at the Cured & Crafted event Sunday — a savory pork corndog from Commonwealth Cured, or the Camp Marshmallow ice cream from Louisville Cream. At the same event, Rick loved his hand-made chicken hand pie from the Butchertown Pie Co. You can read about Steve’s favorite drink at, Gin from the Copper and Kings still and in a gin and tonic. Rick remembered the bourbon on tap, poured into a memorable Old Fashioned, from his visit to Parlour in Jeffersonville.

There’s all that and more in this 49th episode of the EatDrinkTalk podcast. Please share it with your friends, and thanks for listening.


Michael Crouch prepares the Titanic


Stephen Bowles is all about Barbecue

First-Time Derby Event Featuring Celebrity Chefs at Ali Center

It’s April, so maybe you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to go every night of Derby Week.

Here’s a suggestion for Thursday for those focused on all things culinary. It’s a chance to sample a four-course feast prepared by celebrity chefs Todd English, Beau MacMillan and Damaris Phillips.

The first-ever Culinary Kickoff at the Ali Center is backed by Lonnie Ali with proceeds benefiting the Ali Center. Individual tickets are $1,250, and table of 10 is $15,000. No, those aren’t typos, that’s the nickle for individuals or your posse.

In a news release, Ali’s said: “Each year, the Kentucky Derby is among Louisville’s most celebrated events, attracting people from around the world who come to town for a mix of sport, food, and fashion. So it made perfect sense to host the Inaugural Culinary Kickoff at the Ali Center to add another dimension of greatness to the city’s already attractive menu of events surrounding the Derby. We are excited about this culinary experience and are grateful to the organizers for their support of the Muhammad Ali Center.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 12.15.13 PM

Damaris Phillips

The chefs are certain to attract foodies. English, based in Boston, is a four-time James Beard Award winner, author of four books and host of a TV series on PBS. McMillian, executive chef at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, won an episode of Iron Chef America. Phillips, of course, is the Louisville native chef who has hosted shows on the Food Network.

The chef’s creations will be paired with wine provided by elite vintners AldenAlii, Tuck Beckstoffer, Charles Woodson, and The Withers.

Guests also receive gifts from Williams-Sonoma and a bottle of Woodford Reserve.

And of course, it’s a Thursday night party during Derby Week, so music and dancing will continue until 2 a.m.

Here’s a link for tickets. The group behind the event will hold its next party next February at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.

Parlour’s Presence at Big Four’s Foot a Boom to Jeff

It’s taken a while, but if you care to stroll from Louisville across the Big Four Bridge, there’s a real treat at the end. Walk down the long ramp and just across the street is the newly opened Parlour, a combination craft pizzeria, beer garden, and cocktail lounge.

Parlour’s creation has taken about a year, said operating partner Matthew Farley, one of the members of Jeffersonville Hospitality, LLC, which also operates the nearby Portage House. Turning the 1830’s era building into a modern restaurant required major renovations, including re-positioning of walls.  In order to install the kitchen’s main feature, an 8,000-pound oven from northern Italy, workers had to remove a wall.

The view of the bridge from Parlour's balcony

The view of the bridge from Parlour’s balcony

But Farley said the design of the property, with prominent and inviting green space and comfortable lawn furniture outside, complements its surroundings.

“It’s a real inviting green space, and it matches the setting of the bridge,” he said. “We want to be really inviting coming off the bridge.”

Farley said his group didn’t set out to open both the Portage House (which is in its fifth month of operation) and Parlour in a six-month window.

“It wasn’t by design, but these were two beautiful spaces,” he said. “To take advantage of this location, we were able to create a bar setting for adults and make it family friendly as well.”

Jeffersonville residents have choices in how to enjoy Parlour.  There’s the main dining room for a simple sit-down dining experience, while the upstairs bar area includes a half-dozen seats adjacent to a patio with a gorgeous view. There’s a more private dining area on the second floor as well. Outside, a covered patio bar with TVs offers pizzas by the slice, and you can enjoy the atmosphere on patio furniture placed on a few patches of grass.

2017-04-04 20.38.53At the bar, Parlour serves a selection of bourbons, whiskeys and vodka on tap.

“You don’t see it a lot in this market,” Farley said. “There are clear benefits, it features the product, service is extremely fast, and making cocktails adds dynamism — the bartender has more control of the character of the cocktail. You can make it creamier, depending on how you pull the tap lever.”

The imported wood-fired oven allows the preparation of pies unique to the region, Farley said. Crusts have a spotted char to them, in what he called “Italian” style. There are 10 unique pizza creations on the menu, including a Broccoli Cheddar, Artichoke Pesto and Caprese, and of course you can create your own.

The Big Four Bridge opened to walkers four years ago, and there’s no question that its presence has changed the character of Jeffersonville. By his own admission, Farley said Parlour wouldn’t have happened without it.

“Our inspiration was to take advantage of the location,” he said.“We’re really proud to play a part in the further revitalization of Jeffersonville’s historic district. I don’t think you’ll find a better hangout spot on either side of the Ohio River.”



No More Monkeying Around with Dennie Humphrey; Making the Doughnuts with The Ladies of the Morning

In this episode of the city’s best restaurant and bar podcast, Rick and Steve dive into a stew of news from our culinary community. First up, we’re getting plenty of reaction to the story about the Bourbon & Beyond Festival slated for late September, especially from distillers and restaurateurs eager for details. It seems the ambitious plans for the new festival will have to come together quickly. Out in J-town, we discuss the closing of the Johnny V’s pizza joint, and the expected takeover by the neighbors from RecBar. Their plan is to open, you guessed it, a pizza joint in its place. The pizza will be plentiful at Jeffersonville’s The Parlour, which just opened to positive reviews last week.

On the calendar, we think it’s worth checking out the 25th anniversary prix fixe dinner at Buck’s, and the Bistro 1860 Titanic Dinner, both coming up this month. Steve got more cocktail-making practice at the new Jeptha Creed distillery.

Dennie Humphrey got a little misty-eyed when talking to Steve about the final weekend at the Monkey Wrench, but we’re certain that Humphrey has some big plans ahead for his post-Wrench life. Rick went to Hi-Five Doughnuts in Butchertown, where he had an entertaining conversation with the duo who dubbed themselves the Ladies of the Morning — Annie Harlow and Leslie Wilson.

In the Copper & Kings Favorites segment, Rick raves about being treated to the Jewel, a special ribeye served at Jeff Ruby’s, along with a Barrel-aged Manhattan. Steve also enjoyed a delicious bourbon concoction at Martini’s Italian Bistro. His meal of the week — the fantastic papadzules at Mayan Cafe.

Thanks for tuning in to the EatDrinkTalk podcast, brought to you by the Eye Care Institute and Harvest Restaurant. Please tell your friends about us.


Dennie Humphrey


Annie Harlow and Leslie Wilson at Hi-Five Doughnuts

Great Flood’s New Shelby Park Brewery Key to Growth Strategy

With a new 11,000-square-foot facility, the guys from Great Flood Brewery are increasing annual production from 300 barrels to more than 4,000. Their new facility features a new 465-gallon brew system with six fermenters and a five-head canning line, which can fill and seal 40 cans per minute.

Outside of the cool brewing equipment, the Shelby Park office space is filled with hand-me-down couches and an old fridge. Which is about what you’d expect from a trio of entrepreneurs just a few years removed from the University of Louisville business school.


Matt Fuller and Zach Barnes

“We were friends in college, in business school,” said Zach Barnes, who started home brewing with Matt Fuller and Vince Cain in 2012, buying their first brew kit with a Groupon. They opened the business in 2014.

“We had the same interests,” said Fuller, during an EatDrinkTalk podcast interview. “Basically we started drinking some beer, and we were drinking whatever is at the party or on special. Then you try something that’s a seasonal, or special, and that light went on that this is kind of cool. I didn’t know beer could taste like this.”

Fuller said that after trying corporate jobs out of school, the trio came together and started Great Flood by opening a Tap Room in the Highlands, selling the small batches of beer they were making.

“A lot of our regular clientele lives within a mile of our Tap Room, and that’s something we only dreamt of,” he said. “That support has allowed us to get more customers from our production side through the rest of the city, and make our name for good beer known.”

2017-03-27 10.02.43Moving to the huge facility in Shelby Park marked a milestone, and Mayor Greg Fischer came to the March 24 ribbon cutting.

“Here in Louisville we have heritage beer brands and then we have beer brands built on heritage, and the future is bright for both. The success of Great Flood Brewing Co. is great news for the Shelby Park neighborhood and for our growing craft beer scene,” said Fischer. “We are thrilled to see that Louisville has embraced this hometown brand and hope to see continued growth in the future.”

Running a small business means, of course, that each member of the team has a specific role, but everyone pitches in on every task. Fuller runs the production, Barnes handles numbers and Cain does sales and marketing.

“The three of us are in production, sales and finance, and janitorial,” Barnes said. “We do a little bit of everything. Being from Louisville, we want to make sure and put a precedent on establishing relationships here.”

With the increased capacity, Fuller said Great Flood can focus on scaling upward.

“It takes the same amount of time and similar effort — and in a 12-13 hour day and you end up with a lot more beer.”

“We have a lot of new toys and that’s made life easier,” he said. “We put a lot of time and money into our lab. So we’ve got a commitment to quality and consistency. Keeping that in the forefront is something we get excited about,” he said.

Now that it has the production capability, Great Flood’s owners are taking the brand to bars and retailers throughout the state.






Johnny V’s in Jtown Closing, RecBar Partners Planning to Move in

Johnny V’s in Jeffersontown will close its doors for good March 31, but the building that housed the casual Italian restaurant on the downtown square won’t be empty for long.

That’s because the entrepreneurial duo behind the RecBar, located just out the back door of Johnny V’s, plans to open and operate Mac’s Dough House, a pizza restaurant, in that space beginning in June.

RecBar has plenty of pinball

RecBar has plenty of pinball

Johnny V’s occupied its spot on the square for eight years, and had become a popular place for watching TV sports.

In a Facebook post on the Johnny V’s page, owner Jimbo Schaffer explained it this way:

It has been an absolute pleasure serving the J-town community since 2009! We have loved every single minute of serving you, getting to know you and your families and being apart of so many wonderful memories of your lives! Each one of you have brought such joy to all of our hearts and we are more than grateful for your support through these years! Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Johnny V’s last full day will be Friday March 31st. So please….stop in and see us this week! We will miss you more than you could ever imagine, but please know new things are on our horizon to serve this amazing community! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything!!! Until we meet again…CHEERS!!

At the same time, owners Corey Sims and Tony Thomas, who opened RecBar last April, created the Mac’s Dough House Facebook page, and Thomas wrote this post:

I am excited to announce we will be opening our second venue. Mac’s Dough House will open in June. Grateful to team up with Corey Sims and Jimbo Schaffer for this adventure. I am thankful for the support from all of our friends and families. Big thanks to my wife Emilee Thomas for the endless support and encouragement, love you. The Schaffer’s, Sims, and Thomas families going to do big things.

RecBar, which took over a spot that had housed a series of bars and most recently Ann Marie’s Bacon Bar, has enjoyed success catering to people who enjoy a video game or two with their beer. Thomas and Sims, both of whom previously worked at Fourth Street Live! venues, made the break to open their own place last year. RecBar has more than 35 video games and 25 pinball machines. 

Sims and Thomas had conflicts today and couldn’t be interviewed, but Sims said in an email that the opening of Mac’s Dough House was 6-8 weeks away.

Sims appeared on the Jeffersontown Chamber podcast last April.

Great Flood’s New Spot with Zach Barnes and Matt Fuller; Brett Davis Talks Up the New Red Herring

It’s a delicious week for news on the city’s best restaurant and bar podcast, and we get right to it with the surprising story that Z’s Oyster Bar downtown is closing, at least temporarily, according to a sign on the door. Owners blamed the ongoing construction of the Convention Center and the Omni Hotel for a substantial sales slump. Certainly we hope to see Z’s again downtown. We’re looking forward to the late April opening of the Red Herring Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen, a new operation located next to the Silver Dollar on Frankfort. It’s backed by Doc Crow’s co-owner Brett Davis (more on him later) and a pair of managers who just left 8UP downtown.

The word on the first-ever local bourbon-themed festival here is something to get excited about. Bourbon and Beyond will take place at Champions Park on River Road in September, and we’re hearing there will be a stellar lineup of celebrities, chefs, distillers and musicians on hand—if the promoter is able to pull it off. Steve checked in on the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse Cocktail Program, sure to be a great tourist attraction on Fourth Street Live.

In our Copper & Kings Favorites segment, Rick picked a chocolate pecan doughnut from Hi-Five on East Main, where the two women proprietors are making a name for themselves. Steve visited Pat’s Place in Bardstown for some good ‘ole comfort food. Steve picked the winner in a cocktail contest called the Petal Pusher, while Rick enjoyed the Brooklyn from the cocktail menu at LouVino in Middletown.

Rick talked to our first guests, Zach Barnes and Matt Fuller, at the new brewery complex they’re operating in Shelby Park, while Steve got the scoop on the Red Herring from the man who is making it happen, Brett Davis. All that and more on the city’s finest dining and drinking podcast, sponsored by Harvest Restaurant and the Eye Care Institute.


Matt Fuller and Zach Barnes at Great Flood Brewing

Red Herring Cocktail & Lounge & Kitchen owner Brett Davis with chef Jacob Coronado. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Red Herring Cocktail & Lounge & Kitchen owner Brett Davis with chef Jacob Coronado. | Photo by Steve Coomes

The ‘Ville Gets Its Bourbon Festival, Thanks to L.A. Producer

About three years ago, Mayor Greg Fischer started a Bourbon and Work Food Group for the purpose of boosting bourbon-related tourism in Louisville. That group, composed of about 50 individuals representing distilleries, restaurants and tourism agencies, produced a report highlighting initiatives important to achieve if Louisville was to become “the world’s best culinary and spirits city.”

At the top of the list was to create an annual “world-class bourbon and food festival.” And while there have been meetings and discussion over how the city could produce such an ambitious event, that discussion ended recently when a private firm in the business of festival production stepped up and said — “We’ll do it.”

Thus was the creation of Bourbon and Beyond, made public this week by Danny Wimmer Productions, an L.A.-based festival promoter with events currently in 11 cities, including the Louder Than Life Festival that’s now planning its fourth rendition for Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

“it was going to be a partial city event, then Danny Wimmer Productions decided to take all the risk and produce it themselves,” said Chris Poynter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Fischer. “It shows how far we’ve come in the growth of our bourbon and food industry that a private company sees it and does it at its own risk.”

Bourbon and Beyond is set for Sept. 23-24, the weekend before Louder Than Life, in the same location. Champions Park is on River Road west of Zorn. The property will be rented to Wimmer Productions by Metro Parks for the entire period.

The decision by the L.A. firm to double its presence in Louisville is a coup for the city.

“The committee had a few meetings, but it was so much for us as a city to take on,” Poynter said. “Wimmer was always at the table. It’s good news for the city, because when it comes to bourbon, our philosophy is the more the merrier.”

In Wimmer Productions’ March 20 release announcing Bourbon & Beyond, it promised the festival will “blend the best elements of a bourbon festival, a food festival, and a music festival into an all-encompassing, unforgettable weekend.” It suggested that distilleries, restaurants, world-class musicians and craftsmen would participate.

Bourbon-and-Beyond-logowEatDrinkTalk obtained the company’s pitch to prospective sponsors, which included an impressive list of celebrity chefs (most from out of town), distilleries and performers. The latter included comedians Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari, along with musical acts The Black Keys, John Mayer and Hall & Oates. Highlighted are area distilleries and restaurants. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee those acts will come to Louisville. An announcement regarding the lineup of performers is expected in the next few weeks.

It’s quite an ambitious production, given there’s only a few months to prepare. However, Wimmer’s team had already planned to be here for Louder Than Life, and Poynter said the company has been involved in the Bourbon and Work Food Group for two years.

The Bourbon and Beyond web site, for now, consists of a single page, a letter from Wimmer to his “fellow bourbon-lovers.” In it, Wimmer pens a love letter to the city. It reads, in part:

I wanted to tell you that I have fallen in love with your city. I produce events all over the country, and what impressed and inspired me about Louisville is its chefs, restaurants, horses, outdoor life and, of course, bourbon.

It has become my personal mission to help others around the world discover what I discovered when I first came here: an authentic mix of Southern charm and cosmopolitan sophistication, wrapped in an unparalleled civic pride. It is Louisville’s uniqueness that leads me to today’s announcement.

Later, he compares the association of Louisville and bourbon to that of Napa and wine.

Poynter said the new event adds to the city’s efforts to be a year-round mecca for bourbon lovers, pointing to the Bourbon Classic in February, the Bourbon Affair in June and the opening of distilleries along Whiskey Row, including Angel’s Envy.

“We’re really building out a 365-day tourism experience with major festivals on top of that,” he said.

Wallace sells Café Lou Lou to Matthews, Diamonds ops partner

After 28 years in restaurants, Clay Wallace is headed for a new career. The owner of Café Lou Lou has sold the Cajun-Italian-Mediterranean eatery in St. Matthews to Jared Matthews, operating partner at Diamonds Pub & Billiards. Wallace, who earned a realtor’s license in 2016, is starting a new career buying, flipping and selling homes for Keller Williams.

“I’m sad, yet relieved about the whole thing,” said Wallace, who began his restaurant career at Café Metro, a longtime Highlands standard that closed a few years ago. He opened his first Café Lou Lou 13 years ago in Clifton at the Hilltop Tavern site. He added a second location in the Loop on Dundee Way, but closed it last year. “I’ve owned my own place a long time, and I’m ready for a change.”

Sale price for the restaurant will remain private, but Wallace said that after working to eliminate some debt tied to the restaurant, “selling it will make me whole, which is great. … That feeling is indescribable.”

A longtime Café Lou Lou regular, Matthews joked regularly with Wallace about wanting to buy the place, but Wallace never took him seriously until he got the urge to leave the business last year.

Wallace said the deal took 10 months to complete, and that the papers were signed March 20.

A Louisiana native, Matthews said Cajun food is in his blood, and that he’s long wanted to run a restaurant. He’ll also get to revive his passion for craft cocktail making, something he’s had to shelve while operating Diamonds.

“I’ve always liked Café Lou Lou, but as the owner, I want to tweak it a little and do things to get more people in there,” said Matthews, who also will continue as operating partner at both Diamonds locations. “Everything will remain the same at both Diamonds. This is just me stretching some to run a restaurant.”

To the menu, Matthews plans to add some Cajun dishes, some lighter food and gluten-free options. Oh, and those craft cocktails … you’ll see those, too.

“Drinks at Diamonds are more about volume, so I used to get into bartender competitions to have some fun,” he said. “But since we opened both (locations), I haven’t been able to do that stuff. I’ll get to do some of that” at Café Lou Lou.