As we prepare to celebrate New Year’s Eve, Rick and Steve take a look back at an exciting 2016 in the local restaurant and spirits scene.

First up, we discuss some openings, closings and issues that mattered in the first half of the year, leading up to the exciting launch of our EatDrinkTalk web site and podcast in May. Highlights include the openings of Royal’s Hot Chicken, The Hub, Citizen 7 and River House, plus an ongoing discussion of whether or not restaurants should serve cheap drinks to attract brunch crowds.

The ‘Ville’s diverse and interesting collection of entrepreneurs, chefs and spirit masters highlighted our weekly podcasts, and we reminisce about some of the most memorable interviews on the show — from our launch with Castle & Key’s Marianne Barnes and to an eye-opening talk with Fernando and Yaniel Martinez about their journey to Louisville from Cuba.

Of course, we spent plenty of time in the second half of the year telling you about our travels to various local events, from soft openings to chefs’ tables to festivals celebrating beer and bourbon. We were first on the scene at Pho Ba Luu, Red Hog, Red Barn Kitchen, Total Wine & More, Scene, Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, Slice and Lola, just to mention a few. Plus, we showed up for a flurry of distillery and brewery openings, from Angel’s Envy and Mile Wide Brewery downtown to the new Maker’s Mark cave in Loretto.

It’s been a ball for us, and we hope you’ll enjoy this look in the rear view mirror as we gear up for an even better 2017.