Jim McArthur’s Downtown Vision; Jason Smith’s Fight Against Parkinson’s

The best bar and restaurant podcast in the ‘Ville is back with more news and conversations sure to tingle your taste buds. We’ve got a report on the new Cuvee Wine Bar, a great new spot in the East End opened by one of the few Master Sommeliers in the region.

And remember that you heard it here first — Tony Palombino will convert the Boombozz Tap House in St. Matthews to a new concept called Waylon’s Feed and Firewater, a close cousin to his Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen downtown. We’re also seeing signs, including one that reads “Now Hiring” at the Mission Barbecue in St. Matthews, one of a projected 50 new restaurants scheduled to open in the city in 2017.

We’re looking forward to the Highlands Beer Fest behind the Mid-City Mall on Saturday. (Did you know it was the first modern-day brewfest in the city?) On Sunday, two of our favorite chefs — Harvest’s Patrick Roney and Jacob Coronado of the Red Herring — will face off in an Iron Chef-like competition at the Louisville Independent Business Association’s Buy Local Fair at the Water Tower.

Steve’s guest this week is Harvest Restaurant co-owner Jim McArthur, who has some unique insight into downtown’s changes, and how good it will be for business, when the Convention Center and other construction projects are complete in 2018. Rick sat down with veteran restaurant operator Jason Smith at Gordon Biersch to talk about one of Jason’s pet projects — the Denim & Diamonds fundraiser for Parkinson’s disease. Smith has early onset Parkinson’s, and talks about how he’s affected by the disease and why he’s so passionate about raising money for treatment.

In our Copper & Kings favorites segment, Steve chose to sample fried oysters at La Chasse, while Rick picked the eggplant Parmesan from the menu at Ciao, where he also enjoyed a memorable Old Fashioned. With many to choose from, Steve selected the Chateau de Puligny he tried during a press event at the new Cuvee Wine Table.


Jason Smith at Gordon Biersch




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


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

Bourbon and Chocolate with Kelly Ramsey; Zack Wolf Cooks up his Dream Job

The EatDrinkTalk crew has been diving especially deep in the local food and drink scene, and we have the stories to show for it. First up in the news is the exciting move being made by Brett Davis to open the Remedy Bar in the old Hilltop Theater in Clifton. We love a good birthday party, and the Nachbar in Germantown is celebrating its 10th, while in Middletown, there’s the new Tsubaki Sushi Bar that just opened. We sampled new menu items at Mercato Italiano in Norton Commons, and tried the new brunch at the Red Barn Kitchen in Lyndon. Meanwhile, Steve talks about his adventures at last week’s Bourbon Classic, which has grown into a major regional event.

Steve’s guest is Kelly Ramsey, who talks about the pairing of bourbon and chocolate for her business, Art Eatables. Zack Wolf, the young chef at Mercato Italiano, talks to Rick about the journey from his not-so-long ago days as a culinary student at Sullivan University to his dream job of working with Fernando Martinez as an executive chef.

We have a new sponsor for our Favorites segment, and it happens to be one of our absolute favorite spots in town — Copper & Kings. Steve’s choice was the spicy steak tartare with chopped peanuts prepared by Ryan Rogers for the Bourbon Classic, along with Mike Wajda’s pimento cheese macaroons at the same event. Rick opted for Mercato’s strachiatella insalata on the new spring menu, a delectable tomato and cheese concoction. At the Red Barn Kitchen, it was the $1 mimosa that topped Rick’s list. Steve opted for a Copper & Kings Brandy Old Fashioned.

Thanks for downloading the 44th episode of our show, and please tell your friends about it.


Drinking Fehr’s with Jeff Faith; The Ideal Journey of Jenn Desjardins

It’s been an exceptionally eventful week for the EatDrinkTalk crew, as we spent a delicious week scoping out the city’s restaurant and bar scene to bring you this excellent podcast. In the news, we start with word that a big change is coming to Corbett’s, the fine dining destination in the East End. Chef Dean Corbett is taking a page from his Jack’s Lounge location in St. Matthews and offering a new menu and concept called Jack’s Lounge at Corbett’s. In Clifton, we learned that the Hilltop Tavern is temporarily closed, thanks to faulty plumbing. We’ll tell you what you need to know about the Bourbon Classic and the American Brandy Dinner in town, and fill you in on an innovative program at Copper & Kings to develop and train bartenders.

In our popular favorites segment, Steve recommends the papadzules at the Mayan Cafe and a rare Knob Creek barrel pick he recommends keeping in the freezer. Rick’s experience at the Gravy Cup competition left him satisfied and full, but he chose the Con Huevos version of the Southern staple as his pick of the week, along with a cold Fehr’s Beer at Akasha Brewing in NuLu.

Speaking of Fehr’s, the first interview of the show is with Jeff Faith, who acquired rights to the brand three years ago and is now brewing Fehr’s in Louisville for the first time in four decades. He’s also an airplane mechanic and a local musician who plays several times a week at various venues. Jenn Desjardins’ story is an inspiring one — she worked her way through school in the hospitality industry, and now heads up the Ideal Bartender program at Copper & Kings.

We’ve got all that and plenty more at the EatDrinkTalk.net web site, so download the podcast and check us out online.


Jenn Desjardins


Jeff Faith


Tisha Gainey Flies Into Tailspin; Getting Eiderdown Right with James Gunnoe and Heather Burks

The city’s most delicious eating and drinking podcast is back, dishing up the latest in Louisville’s restaurant scene. We start with big news on Fourth Street Live, where chef Edward Lee announced he will open a whiskey and burger spot dubbed Whiskey Dry, later this year. Also, we mourn the loss of the BBC in St. Matthews, and wonder how the next concept will do in its favorable location for nightlife. We’re hearing owner Pat Hagan is considering duplicating the BBC location elsewhere in the city.

On the EatDrinkTalk.net web site, we update news about Louisville Vegan Jerky owner Stanley Chase III, who announced plans to open a Highlands storefront named Morel, this spring. The reviews on the Goss Avenue Pub are all favorable so far, boosting the creds of Schnitzelburg-Germantown as a foodie destination. Down the street at The Pearl, they’re selling private barrel picks of bourbon at an amazing rate. Looking ahead, Steve has written about Robert Simonson, the acclaimed author who will make an appearance Sunday at Copper & Kings.

Speaking of events, Tailspin Ale Fest is Feb. 18, so Rick went to Bowman Field to check on what’s new with the fourth-annual shindig with organizer Tisha Gainey. Steve’s guests are James Gunnoe and Heather Burks, owners of Eiderdown, who are revamping and reopening their six-year-old restaurant week.

Of course, EDT always has some great favorites to talk about. With plenty of courses to choose from, Steve chose the crab and corn Bisque as his favorite dish served at the Latin All-Stars dinner last week. Rick opted for spicy shrimp and roasted peanut stir-fry at August Moon. The last course at the Latin All-Stars dinner was paired with a 23-year-old Panama Pacific Rum that had Steve wishing for seconds, while Rick opted for August Moon’s ginger and honey mojito.


James Gunnoe and Heather Burks


Tisha Gainey


News roundup: Harvest ends lunch, Food Network at M&BB, Tea Station renovated, Eagle lands in Nov.

Harvest puts lunch on hold, extends brunch: Far as restaurants go, tis the season to be tweaking. Harvest is doing that this week by stopping its Monday to Friday lunch service, but extending brunch service from Friday to Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner remains the same, Tuesday through Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Continue reading

News Roundup: New Ed Lee spot, Bourbon Mixer, Pho Ba Luu menu, Copper & Kings release, food co-op on the horizon

Pho Ba Luu menu is online: Click here to check it out. One would think an opening is near, but no word on that yet.

I have a feeling Four Roses will be pouring this bourbon at the Mixer. | Photo courtesy of Four Roses

I have a feeling Four Roses will be pouring this bourbon at the Mixer. | Photo courtesy of Four Roses

Don’t miss next week’s Bourbon Mixer: Join me and Rick Redding on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 6:30 p.m., when Louisville’s Whisky Chicks and Bourbon Brotherhood co-host the third-annual Bourbon Mixer (at the Gillespie, 421 W. Market St.). This fundraiser will benefit the Coalition for the Homeless and combine great bourbon with upscale Southern cuisine. Fourteen distilleries will share samples chosen just for this evening, as well as cocktails and other bourbon treats. The event will also include music, an open bar with beer and wine, and auction items including one-of-a-kind bourbon experiences and rare bottles of whiskey.Tickets are $125. Click here for more information.

Where indeed is Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse? When I’ve been asked that lately, such queries smack of the annoying phrase, “Who is John Gault?” uttered far too often in the supremely maddening book, “Atlas Shrugged.” In other words, I sense people are really saying, “I really don’t care because I won’t go there, but it seems like it’s already a failure because Guy hasn’t been seen since the presser.” I get it, and I’m also not likely to go there. But I also find that a bit rude. It’ll be good for Fourth Street Live!, which brings jobs and tax dollars to the area.

Ed Lee planning new Louisville restaurant: Business First reported that the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia, MilkWood and Succotash (near Baltimore) will open a third Louisville spot by the end of the year. While that’s cool news, it sounds like an overly optimistic timeline since Lee is working on a second Succotash in Washington, D.C., plus he’s not identified the concept (at least to Business First) for the Louisville space. Since it’s already August, leaving a bit more than four months on the 2016 calendar to git ‘er done, that sounds like an ambitious and compressed timeline to produce a well-considered and highly specific concept like Lee has created in the past. Whenever it opens, I’m sure it’ll be good.

Copper & Kings‘ new release should be a stunner: The innovation never stops at this Butchertown distillery. On Friday, Sept. 9, it’ll host a release party for a 5-year-old apple brandy aged 24 months in tequila barrels (likely second-use bourbon barrels). It’s named 3 Marlenas, and I’m sure there’s a story behind that. Click here for more detC&K 3 Marlenas imageail on the event. I love tequila and my enjoyment of brandy increases daily. (My wife and I are hooked on the Butchertown Mule made with C&K’s immature brandy and its Butchertown Soda Ginger Beer.) So combining these two fruit influences sounds just spectacular.

Red Barn Kitchen adds lunch, Artesano deletes it: In case you didn’t know, Artesano Vino Tapas y Mas halted lunch service a few weeks back. Apparently tapas don’t work at lunch, or the location doesn’t lend itself well to that kind of traffic in that daypart. However, its sister restaurant, Red Barn Kitchen, located about a mile away, just added lunch. With its dinner service hitting on all cylinders less than a month after opening, the crew is making all that wonderful Southern-inspired grub available for midday meals.

Movement afoot to create a Louisville food co-op grocery: As Lexington’s Crave Food & Music Festival is expected grow beyond last year’s 50,000 attendee mark, I’m reminded of something else that Kentucky’s second-largest city has that its largest doesn’t: a food co-op grocery. If you’ve never visited Good Foods Co-Op there, do so on your next visit. You’ll love it and want to join.

The good news is, according to a Jere Downs piece in The C-J, there’s renewed hope of creating a public co-op here. (The Louisville Food Co-Op is private but always accepting members.) Her Aug. 2 story said about 50 people gathered recently to discuss creating a co-op that would “increase the availability of organic and sustainably produced food in neighborhoods where affordable goods are scarce.”

That’s a great idea, and it should happen where proposed, in the West End. But beyond that, food co-ops also are for people who want to support smaller farmers, local businesses and artisan producers. They’re for consumers who want to eat food that benefits their bodies and the planet. That’s a mission worth following, and Good Foods in Lexington executes it well. Here’s to hoping it happens here. I’d join it in a second.

Safari Grill African & Mediterranean Cuisine open in Beechmont: Saw this on HotBytes and thought it worth a link. Sounds great to me. Address is 328 W. Woodlawn Ave. No website or Facebook page to tie to, unfortunately.

More of the New, Plus Chats with Copper & Kings entrepreneur Joe Heron and Brown Hotel Chef Josh Bettis

Of course there are plenty of restaurants opening in town, again, and Steve and Rick take a look at  few more. We start with the new Louvino in Middletown, the 502 Bar & Bistro in Norton Commons, and then we run through a few more that illustrate the diversity of the ‘Ville’s dining scene, both geographically and by cuisine. For some, the big news in restaurants this week was the publication of health inspection grades, so we talk about how important they are and how the inspections are done.

Steve is still licking his lips after having a grilled Berkshire pork chop at the 502, and he talks about fitting in at the Nachbar, where he sipped an Obsidian Stout Beer, and you should listen closely for an explanation of what “nitro” is as it relates to beer. Rick was looking forward to a Chef’s Table event at the Brown Hotel Thursday night with Chef Josh Bettis.

Chef Josh Bettis

Chef Josh Bettis

Bettis has been in charge for the Brown’s food operations for three years now, and tells Rick in his interview about his excitement over a few new members of his team. Steve interviews Joe Heron, an entrepreneur extraordinaire who has done pharmaceutical sales in South Africa, Europe and the U.S. Of course, that’s not all, as Joe and his wife Lesley created and sold Nutrisoda, then created and sold Crispin Hard Cider, all before creating the fabulous Copper & Kings brandy distillery in Butchertown. As you may recall, we sampled the meat pies there for last week’s show.

There’s plenty more eatin’ and drinkin’ to talk about, so join us for a fun-filled episode of EatDrinkTalk, and check out the EatDrinkTalk.net web site.

EDT news bites: Whisky Live a success, Pettry’s engaged, Wiltshire dinner pics, new Life Bar

Whisky Live Louisville dubbed ‘Sweet’ success: And why wouldn’t it be when organizers planned to sell 800 tickets but sold an estimated 1,000? The three-hour sip-fest last Saturday was held at the Marriott East, and it was packed, loud and fun. Though I’m not complaining, I do wish there were more non-bourbon whiskeys there to try. Knowing it was going to be an international selection, I forced myself to sip nothing there I’d drunk before—which was tough given the array of well-known major and craft American distillers.

There were a handful of Scotches: not fond of the peatier ones, but I didn’t like bourbon five years ago either, and now it’s my favorite spirit. The Irish whiskeys there were terrific, though a little on the subtle side for my tastes. Even some pricey 25 to 30 year-olds in that category (bottles costing several hundred dollars each), while delicious, didn’t leave me dying for another. Perhaps such delicate, subtle whiskeys are better enjoyed on their own and not as part of a taste-a-thon.

Steve was too busy sipping to get a photo, but Rick captured this image of Mayor Greg Fischer toasting Whisky Live's Dave Sweet

Steve was too busy sipping to get a photo, but Rick captured this image of Mayor Greg Fischer toasting Whisky Live’s Dave Sweet

But cheers to Whisky Live owner Dave Sweet, who took a chance on Louisville with an event whose domestic history includes stops in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. According to Sweet, Whisky Live will return to Louisville.

“Why no pictures, Steve?” you ask? Honestly, it’s a challenge to hold onto a Glencarin tasting glass, a water glass and shake hands with lots of other guests at the same time. And, well, it’s easy to forget about “working” at such an event.

Wedding bells in order for Annie Pettry: If you don’t know that name, then you should.

Annie Pettry and Nathaniel Snyder. | Photo courtesy of Annie Pettry

Annie Pettry and Nathaniel Snyder. | Photo courtesy of Annie Pettry

Perhaps at least you’ve eaten her food. Annie Pettry is the executive chef and partner at Decca in NuLu, and despite coming to Louisville just four years ago, she’s become one of the town’s most respected chefs—and that’s the word among chefs, not just customers.

According to her Facebook page, she’s now engaged to Nathaniel Snyder, who conveniently, works with her at Decca, where he is general manager. Congrats to them both!

Dandy wine dinner at Wiltshire on Market: You didn’t think we’d go through this news roundup without some food photos, right? Check out these food images from last night’s Raventos i Blanc wine dinner.

If you’ve never been there, I recommend it highly. Open Thursday through Sunday evening only, you get chef Noble Holden’s excellent food, live jazz, a great bar selection, service, etc. It’s an under-heralded spot in NuLu.

Trade journal calls Copper & Kings a “breakout brand”: In the annual “Breakout Brands” issue of Beverage World, Butchertown’s Copper & Kings American Brandy was named one of 10 up-and-coming drinks breaking from the pack. See the issue by clicking here.

According to a news release, Beverage World editor Jeff Cioletti interviewed Copper & Kings owner Joe Heron for the piece, and lauded him for carving out a niche in a “virtually untapped category” and distilling “to the beat of (his) own drummer.”

Happening right here in the middle of Bourbon Country. You gotta love the drinkin’ diversity.

Second Life Bar opens at Rainbow Blossom Gardiner Lane: Ever been to Life Bar? I hadn’t until about four months ago when I got a nutrient-rich smoothie that was outrageously good. Not cheap at $9 mind you, but for a business that dubs itself “Louisville’s premier organic plant based super food and juice bar,” you’d expect no less, right? Seriously, though, it’s good stuff and really good for you.

A second one just opened at 3046 Bardstown Road, a.k.a. Rainbow Blossom’s Gardiner Lane Shopping Center store. Interested, check out the menu by clicking here. Really good stuff, all organic, too.