Red Barn Kitchen opening July 18: Or at least that’s the current date set by OLE Restaurant Group (owner of RBK, Artesano, Mercato, El Taco Luchador, Mussel & Burger Bar and Guaca Mole). Even for the super-star Martinez family, opening days can become moving targets. As Fernando Martinez mentioned in my recent podcast with him, in this brutally tough labor market, finding help isn’t easy, and if you can’t hire employees, you can’t train them. If you’re interested in working there, they’re actively seeking help.

Food pics on Red Barn Kitchen’s Facebook page are as enticing as you’d expect from ORG, and RBK chef Reed Johnson has told me he’s long overdue for getting the smoke rolling from the new Southern Pride units installed in the former Joe’s Older Than Dirt restaurant in Lyndon.

Stay tuned for more updates as we know ‘em.

How about a smoked pork chop with pimento grits? You can get this when Red Barn Kitchen opens July 18. | Photo courtesy of Red Barn Kitchen
How about a smoked pork chop with pimento grits? You can get this when Red Barn Kitchen opens July 18. | Photo courtesy of Red Barn Kitchen

Manhattan Project bar under construction in Clifton: Insider Louisville reported that a group of operators behind Baxter’s 942 Bar & Grill are working to open a modestly upscale restaurant and sports bar (meaning not as, well, relaxed as Baxter’s) at 2101 Frankfort Ave., in a 3,300-square-foot building directly behind Nancy’s Bagel Grounds. IL also reports that Kyle Schwan has been tapped to craft its menu. Since moving to Louisville from Colorado two years ago, the peripatetic Schwan has worked at Patrick O’Shea’s, Citizen 7 and Finn’s Southern Kitchen.

APRON annual Taste of Independents set for July 10: Here’s a worthy cause I support and, if you’re a restaurant fan with a heart for those who serve you, you can, too. On Sunday, July 10, APRON will host its annual Taste of Independents at The Olmsted (3701 Frankfort Ave.) from 1-4 p.m. The event raises funds to help local independent restaurant employees who face exceptional financial challenges due to personal crises such as medical emergencies. Trust me, there’s no such thing as too much cash for this need.

The afternoon features nibbles prepared by more than 30 top Louisville chefs, delicious adult beverages, a silent auction and live music by the Robbie Bartlett Duo. Tickets are a bargain at $40 (in advance, $45 at the door). Click here to learn more and get tickets.

Here’s just a partial list of who’ll be feeding you that afternoon:

  • Anoosh Bistro
  • Bistro 1860
  • Boombozz
  • Butchertown Grocery
  • Coal’s Artisan Pizza
  • Equus/Jack’s Lounge
  • Gary’s on Spring
  • Gospel Bird
  • Harvest
  • Joella’s Hot Chicken
  • LouVino
  • Martini Italian Bistro
  • Napa River Grill
  • Science Hill Inn
  • Ward 426

Get early bird pricing by July 1 for Bourbon Mixer: Tickets to the third-annual Bourbon Mixer are now on sale for $100 through July 1. Get them after that and it’ll cost you $125 to go to this great fundraiser put on by the Whisky Chicks and the Bourbon Brotherhood. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless, and it’s scheduled for August 13, 6 p.m. at The Gillespie (421 W. Market Street). The event will include tastings of unique bourbons, bourbon cocktails and even bourbon-infused treats like popsicles and root beer floats. More info to come as this event draws near.