Exactly how many restaurants are opening up in July in Louisville? That’s the question of the moment as Steve and Rick dive into the booming dining scene. Steve’s original story, posted Tuesday at EatDrinkTalk.net, listed seven, but we’ve come up with a few more. And we note that most of them are casual spots, reflecting a potential trend away from fine dining. Also we are noticing plenty of change around town – including at Whiskey Row, where those ugly stanchions have come down and a new banner proclaims businesses will open there in 2017, including a new Old Forester distillery.

Steve is happy to see that Beth Burrows, a great bartender at Down One, got a nice new job withJim Beam. And he’s looking forward to next week’s Harvest dinner featuring pairings with special beers from Sierra Nevada. Plus there’s news about New Albany’s restaurant scene and the Gospel bird, Ed Lee’s new place in D.C. and a menu change at Corbett’s.

Rick and Steve both happened to stop in at The Hub in Clifton to experience amazing drinks — the Hey Babe for Steve and Rick’s Summer Shandy with Bourbon. Steve talks about the scrumptious pimento chess stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates there. Rick’s favorite bite of the week was the Parmesan Garlic fries at Manny & Merle’s.

Both of us are looking forward to Sunday Taste of Independents, where we will sample dishes from 30 local chefs in a benefit for Apron, Inc., the non-profit that supports restaurant workers. Steve talked with Gary Fox, the leader of that organization, about the big party and what Apron does for the industry. In looking ahead a week to Forecastle, Rick got the inside scoop from the Liquor Barn’s Brad Williams, who is sponsoring and serving up spirits in the event’s air-conditioned Bourbon Lodge.

Liquor Barn’s Brad Williams
Apron’s Gary Fox
A look at Whiskey Row, this week