Bobby Benjamin’s Approach is Perfection; and more in Podcast #58

Of course it’s one of our favorite restaurants, precisely because of the time and attention Chef Bobby Benjamin takes to prepare the great food at Butchertown Grocery and Lola’s, the bar upstairs. Benjamin joined Rick and Carolyn in the studio for a lively conversation about his approach — which includes insisting on fresh ingredients and making sure his staff is properly trained.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on locally, including three restaurant openings – Couvillon in Germantown, the BBC in Theatre Square and a new Con Huevos in Holiday Manor. Carolyn recounts her Staycation at the Omni Hotel. We reminisce about our history with the Ehrler’s brand, which may make a comeback as part of an ice cream/drinks bar.

Carolyn has a positive movie review of the film A Quiet Place. At Ditto’s, Rick had the Heuser Special experience – an amazing Blackened Cod. And one of our favorite attractions, the Skystar Wheel, had a glitch which shut it down briefly. Plus we both spent Sunday watching the Masters.

Thanks for downloading the show. And please tell your friends – we’ll have all the scoop on Derby and springtime in the ‘Ville in the next few weeks.

The EDT Podcast – Hopcat Preview, DiFabulousness at DiFabio’s, Bourbon Voyage with Trey Zoeller

Steve and Rick were getting a little giddy in the studio this week after enjoying a walk-thru at the spectacular new HopCat. It’s a HUGE new enterprise that will surely add to the foot traffic in an already crowded section of Bardstown Road. The Michigan-based chain chose Louisville for its ninth location, and spent nearly $5 million on great decor that beer and music aficionados will love. We tried to imagine how long it would take to sample all 132 beers on tap and were amazed at the size of the keg room. And the food, at least based on the menu, has great promise as well, including Detroit-style pizza. Steve unearthed news of another potential opening in social media, with news that Ryan Rogers of Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken is researching pizza ideas. So when are we reaching the saturation point for new, independent restaurants? We’re hoping it’s not anytime soon, because we love attending their soft openings, but a Nation’s Restaurant News piece points to the possibility of a restaurant recession in 2017, signaling that the industry may have overbuilt.

One of Rick’s favorite tastes of the week was at DiFabio’s Casapella on Frankfort Ave., where Jon Riley and Caiti DiFabio treated him to a spectacular dish of ice cream made in-house, and paired with a Maker’s Mark and Ballotin Whiskey Manhattan. Hear about the couple’s unusual meeting story and how the family business traces its way to Madisonville, Ky.

Steve’s interview with Trey Zoeller is a real treat. The Jefferson’s Bourbon owner and master blender tells of a lengthy voyage two barrels of his product coasting down the Ohio and several rivers in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama the flavor effect of the rough ride and weather on the product. And Steve talks about the best pulled pork sandwich he’s ever tasted, from Muddy Piggs BBQ in Princeton, plus the sip he had of a $300 a bottle Booker’s Rye. All this and more on our 12th episode of the EatDrinkTalk podcast.

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Jon Riley and Caity DiFabio at their Frankfort Avenue restaurant

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Trey Zoeller

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First peak at the main bar at Hopcat