Getting the Lowdown on the Rabbit Hole with Michael Motamedi

It’s another mouth-watering episode of the city’s only podcast devoted to Eatin’ and Drinkin’, and there’s a lot to say.

First we welcome Michael Motamedi to the studio from Rabbit Hole Distillery, where this week in NuLu the boutique bourbonists are preparing their first batch of product from the shiny new distillery, which just had its ribbon-cutting last month. Motamedi is a former chef who describes his trek to Louisville as a serendipitous journey.

Rick and Carolyn offer up a new segment – Eat of the Week. Carolyn describes her rendezvous with Asian-inspired chicken at Chick”n & Mi on Brownsboro Road. Rick ventured into Butchertown for a date with Naive, the new healthy food spot.

In the news, there’s a bar with a view making its debut at Copper & Kings, a happy result of the Kentucky legislature’s decision to allow distillery’s to serve their product on premises, a law that also affects our new friends at Rabbit Hole. We peaked at a list that showed 41 restaurants have opened since the beginning of the year, and 34 are on the way. That includes, we hope, the new Big Woods restaurant and brewery rumored to be in the works at Waterfront Park.
Our sponsor, Fourth Street Live, is bringing the Average White Band to town as it continues to bring quality concerts downtown.

There’s plenty more to do in our bustling city, and you can see details at in addition to listening to this great podcast. Please tell your friends and catch us on iTunes.

Michael Motadeti with Rick at the studio

It’s a Christmas Miracle. . . Bar, in NuLu

Tonight, if your idea of celebrating the start of the holiday season doesn’t include dreaded Black Friday shopping or marveling at the light show up the street at Light Up Louisville, mosey down Market for a Miracle — one with a big-city twist and a celebration of cocktail culture.

At Rye, a close copy of the concept of New York City’s pop-up bar Miracle is being launched. Miracle on Market is complete with over-the-top decorating, Christmas movies, songs and a specially crafted cocktail list. Louisville is one of 30 cities, including London, Athens, Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver and Oklahoma City, copying the famed New York pop-up. It starts tonight and continues through Christmas Eve.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-11-18-55-amRye beverage director Doug Petry said Rye’s barroom will be transformed with a sled full of new decorations, including some lifted from his mother’s basement. He said his crew spent much of the Thanksgiving holiday getting ready. Several special events are planned, including a tree trimming party, ugly sweater contest, and a Toys for Tots drive.

“We’re having fun with it,” Petry said. “Usually we are tame, I think we had an Advent calendar, but this year it’s out of the box.”

Petry said he was contacted by organizers of New York’s Miracle pop-up bar, which started two years ago, and who were organizing similar spots around the globe.

“When Miracle reached out and asked if we wanted to participate in the 2016 expansion of the program, we were thrilled at the opportunity. Louisville already has such a vibrant food and beverage culture that is continuously growing, and we knew that Miracle would be a great addition to that tradition,” Petry said.

And who wouldn’t want to stop in and try a holiday themed cocktail — like the Muletide (Aquavit, Oloroso sherry, ginger, lime, pumpkin) and the Christmopolitan (vodka, elderflower, fig, spiced cranberry sauce, lime) which will be served in festive, custom Miracle glassware.

Find out more at Facebook. And listen for my interview with Doug Petry next week.


Weekend Prep – Check Out the new Eagle, Doc Crow’s and NuLu Cocktails

Yes, we’re a country divided on many issues, but we can all agree on the quest for good food and drink. Here’s some of what’s going on right here in Louisville, KY.

Eagle Food and Beer Hall Open: The long-awaited Eagle, in the spot formerly occupied by El Camino, opened Thursday in the Highlands. The first Eagle opened three years ago in Cincinnati by the Thunderdome Restaurant Group, which owns five other concepts and 30 locations in all. Initially, it has hired 70 employees. If you are into craft beer and fried chicken, this is your place.

Nashville Night at the Levee: A couple of country music “stars” from around here will perform Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Levee. If you go see Mt. Washington’s Shane Dawson and Crestwood’s Chase Skinner, you can buy $5 glasses of house wine and a special menu including fried chicken biscuits. Sounds like a good excuse to wear those cowboy boots.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-48-05-amNo Drive-bys on Main Street: If you haven’t driven down Main between 1st and 2nd, you don’t know that the stretch of Whiskey Row is closed to traffic for construction. So Doc Crow’s is giving you some incentive to park and walk a block — a Perfect Old Fashioned with Old Forester Signature for $9 — with a promise that it’s the best in the city.  For the same price, Doc’s is serving a seasonal Lady Geisha – also with Old Forester Signature 100 Proof.

Bourbon Lovers Plan Ahead: The Kentucky Derby Museum announced the lineup for its 2017 Legend Series: Bourbon Masters, featuring Fred Booker Noe III, the Master Distiller of Jim Beam (Jan. 27), Tom Bulleit, founder of Bulleit Distilling Co. (March 23) and Campbell Brown, president of Old Forester (April 20). The events are hosted by bourbon expert Fred Minnick, who talks with each of the industry pioneers, while guests sample bourbon and appetizers. Sign up soon to get a package to attend all three for $150. It’s the fourth year of the series.

Bourbon in NuLu: Yes, we’re going to start talking about the holidays. Starting Saturday in NuLu, 10 hotspots will offer their own signature holiday cocktail — your challenge is to try all 10, then vote for your favorite by posting a photo of the cocktail on social media with the hashtag #NuLuDays. Don’t worry, you have three weeks to finish. Four Roses sponsors the 2nd annual contest, offering $500, a signed bottle, and a signed barrel head to the winning bartender.







Appetizers for the Week: Open Signs Popping Up

Yes, The Taj is open. The long-awaited NuLu bar opened for business Friday with a limited selection of drinking choices and by Saturday had already become more than a Market Street curiousity. I walked in and sat next to partner Dennie Humphrey on Saturday afternoon, joking that it seemed like, with PBR the most visible of beers there, that they had stocked the joint by raiding Mike Maloney’s fridge out back.

Humphrey, who appeared on the Rusty Satellite Show last September when the bar’s opening was imminent, said the partners still have some work to do, including making a decision on what to do with the building next door, which is likely to be some sort of restaurant. The Taj will not have a kitchen, but work on the back patio is ongoing.

Braxton Brewery tap takeover at Irish Rover: We like to call Braxton Brewery “a garage brand brewery,” since the brothers who founded this year-old, Covington, Ky., business began brewing in their father’s garage. Irish Rover co-owner Michael Reidy considers himself a bit of a beer wonk, and when he came across this brand, he deemed it, “Very high-quality stuff” and “really impressed with it.”

So impressed that he’s hosting Braxton for an 11-tap takeover on Tuesday, June 14. (The only tap not taken over on his line will be Guinness Stout, of course.) Come support these Bluegrass brewers and meet owner Jake Rouse when it all starts that night at 6 p.m.

Highland Morning coming to St. Matthews: The end of Tom & Chee in April opened a slot at 111 St. Matthews Ave., where Highland Morning will open its second breakfast spot. This is great news for the neighborhood since the closure of SuperChefs by a fire this winter left Meridian Café (another good’n) as the lone creative breakfast option in the heart of this bustling suburb. No word yet on when it’ll open.

Nola-FareNOLA Fare bringing vegan grub to closed Epic Sammich spot: Saw this while walking in my ‘hood the other day. NOLA Fare will take over the former Epic Sammich location at 2009 Highlands Ave., when it opens on June 23 (just ‘round the corner from Wick’s Pizza on Baxter Ave.)
According to Business First, NOLA is an acronym for non-GMO, organic, life-giving and allergen-aware.
My gut says, “Interesting, I’d like to try it.” But my head says, “Can they pull this off affordably?” Usually such micro-niche food concepts do find an audience, but they struggle to build a broad-enough one that sustains the concept.

1stwatchFirst Watch Number Two: A former bank branch on Breckenridge Lane is the site for the second First Watch in Louisville. The first is on Hurstbourne near Shelbyville Road. The Bradenton, Fla.-based chain calls itself a “Daytime Cafe,” but I’d consider it more of a full-service breakfast stop. In two visits to the Hurstbourne location, I thought the menu was creative and the food great. In Dupont, it should be a great alternative to the hospital traffic accustomed to waiting in line at Wild Eggs.