Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Louisville Best Restaurants 2012 via LocalEats

  • Best American Traditional Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Argentinean Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Asian Fusion Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Bakery in Louisville
  • Best Barbecue Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Bistro in Louisville
  • Best Breakfast Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Brewpub in Louisville
  • Best Burgers in Louisville
  • Best Cafe in Louisville
  • Best Cajun Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Chinese Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Contemporary Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Cuban Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Deli in Louisville
  • Best Filipino Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best French Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Gastropub in Louisville
  • Best German Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Global/Eclectic Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Home-style Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Hot Dogs in Louisville
  • Best Hotel Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Ice Cream/Confections in Louisville
  • Best Indian Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Irish Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Italian Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Izakaya Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Korean Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Latin/South American Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Locavore Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Mexican Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Noodle House Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Pizza Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Seafood Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Southern Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Spanish Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Steak House in Louisville
  • Best Thai Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant in Louisville
  • Best Wine Bar in Louisville

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Critics Review Queen of Sheba, Varanese

    IN THE NEWS: The Courier-Journal's Sarah Fritschner visits Ethiopian restaurant Queen of Sheeba (3315 Bardstown Road, 502-459-6301). ... Leo and's Robin Garr reviews Varanese (2106 Frankfort Ave., 899-9904, ...

    Food Network's new show "The Next Iron Chef" kicks off at 9 pm EST/PDT Sunday, Oct. 7 as eight chefs compete from across the country compete to join the ranks of legendary Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali. The eight competitors: Aaron Sanchez, chef-owner, Paladar and Centrico, New York; Mourou Outtara, chef/owner, FarrahOlivia by Morou, Alexandria, Va.; John Besh, chef/owner Restaurant August, Luke, The Besh Steakhouse at Harrahs, New Orleans; and La Provence, Lacombe, La.), Traci Des Jardins, chef and co-owner Jardiniere; chef/owner, Mijita; managing chef, ACME Chophouse, San Francisco); Chris Cosentino, chef, Incanto and co-owner, Bocccalone Artisanal Meats, San Francisco); Jill Davie, chef de cuisine, Josie Restaurant, Los Angeles; Michael Symon, chef-owner, Lola and Lolita, Cleveland; and Gavin Kaysen, chef de cuisine, El Bizcocho, San Diego.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Park Place on Main Closes for Renovation

    IN THE NEWS: The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives two and a half stars to Shah's Mongolian Grill & Korean Cuisine (9148 Taylorsville Road, Louisville, 502-493-0234). ... Ron Mikulak reports that Park Place on Main, 401 E. Main St. at Louisville Slugger Field, will be closed for dining from Sept. 22 to Oct. 9 for extensive renovations. Chef Jay Denham will continue to oversee the kitchen at Browning's Restaurant and Brewery next door while the work goes on. ... Leo rounds up local hot wings spots, including Baxter Station (1201 Payne St., 584-1635, ... Velocity review iChing (4600 Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews). ... visits The Feed Bag Deli and Catering.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Barbecue Joint Dee's To Open in Newburg

    IN THE NEWS:'s Robin Garr reports on the upcoming opening of barbecue joint Dee’s Food Service on Poplar Level Road near Indian Trail in Newburg. ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives two and a half stars to Speakeasy (225 State St., New Albany, IN, 812-981-0981).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    Seviche Plans to Open Second Location

    IN THE NEWS: Chef Anthony Lamas, owner of Seviche: A Latin Restaurant on Bardstown Road, plans to open a second location of his popular restaurant on the East End at 2929 Goose Creek Road, Business First of Louisville reports, with an opening set for the end of October. The location originally housed The Hungry Pelican seafood restaurant and then The Cutting Board, which closed earlier this summer. louisville.bizjournals.comSouthern Living magazine's September 2007 edition spotlights inexpensive Louisville restaurants, including Zen Garden (2240 Frankfort Ave.,, 502-89509114), J. Gumbo's (2109 Frankfort Ave.,, 502-896-4046), Sari Sari (2339 Frankfort Ave.,, 502-894-0585), Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub (751 Vine St.,, 502-583-9165), and Jack Fry's Restaurant (1007 Bardstown Road,, 502-452-9244). ... Leo weekly and columnist Robin Garr considers Treet’s Bakery Café (133 E. Market St., New Albany, Ind., 812-945-5440,, Speakeasy (225 State St., New Albany, Ind., 812-981-0981,, and Connor’s Place (207 E. Main St., New Albany, Ind., 812-944-0207, ... Velocity reviews Mojito (2231 Holiday Manor Center, in the East End). ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen awards four stars in reviewing Primo (445 E. Market St., Louisville, 502-583-1808), while Ron Mikulak reports that chef Mike Ross has begin serving breakfast at Meridian Cafe (112 Meridian Ave. in St. Matthews).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Azalea Shutters Doors After 13 Years

    IN THE NEWS: The Courier Journal's Sarah Fritschner notes the opening of Varanese from John Varanese, former chef at Azalea and at the Cardinal Club, a "new contemporary Mediterranean" restaurant (2106 Frankfort Ave., 502-899-9904, and the closing of Azalea restaurant (3612 Brownsboro Road) after 13 years in the St Matthews location. ... Marty Rosen gives three stars to Del Frisco's (4107 Oechsli Ave., Louisville, 502-897-7077). ... Business First of Louisville features Adrienne & Co. Bakery and Cafe (129 W. Court Ave. in Jeffersonville). ... Velocity's Lisa Hornung reviews Tengo Sed Cantina (432-B S. Fourth St., ... Leo weekly and critic Robin Garr reviews Caffé Classico (2144 Frankfort Ave., 894-9689, www.caffé, Mojito (2231 Holiday Manor Center, 425-0949), and Original Impellizzeri’s (1381 Bardstown Road, 454-2711).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    J. Gumbo's Cajun Chain Opens 8th Locally

    IN THE NEWS: J. Gumbo's Down-Home Cajun Cookin' recently signed a lease agreement to open its eighth location, which will be at The Summit retail center at Brownsboro Road and the Gene Snyder Freeway in northeast Jefferson County, Business First of Louisville reports. The restaurant chain was founded in 2005 as Gumbo-A-Go-Go by former jockey Billy J. Fox. The name was changed this year to J. Gumbo's. The chain has three company-owned and four franchised stores, including a shop that opened this spring at Fourth Street Live in downtown Louisville. ... Leo and columnist Robin Garr reviews Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina (285 N. Hubbards Lane,, Moe’s Southwest Grill (12001 Shelbyville Road, and Qdoba Mexican Grill (970 Breckenridge Lane, while noting the closing of Highland Coffee’s downtown Fourth Street location. ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen awards three stars in reviewing Cumberland Brews (1576 Bardstown Road, Louisville), while Sarah Fritschner considers City Cafe. ... Ron Mikulak reports that Jay Denham, chef de cuisine for the past two years at Park Place on Main, 401 E. Main St. at Louisville Slugger Field, has been named the restaurant's executive chef.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Critic Raves About Revamped Cafe Lou Lou

    IN THE NEWS: Leo weekly and's Robin Garr awards 86 points to the revamped Café Lou Lou (106 Sears Ave., ... Velocity reviews Basa (2244 Frankfort Ave. in Clifton). ... The Jazz Factory has overhauled its food operation. After four years of outsourcing food from Jarfi's Bistro in the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the club at 815 W. Market now is bringing in food from Browning's and Park Place on Main -- two restaurants at Slugger Field, Business First of Louisville reports. ... The paper also spotlights Shiraz Mediterranean Grill and owner Ramin Akrami, who has a long-term expansion plan. By Oct. 13 -- one year after opening his current Crescent Hill location -- Akrami plans to have a second, dramatically larger Shiraz open in Holiday Manor Walk at 2600 Brownsboro Road, the first step in his expansion plan. ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives three and a half stars to Palermo Viejo (1359 Bardstown Road, Louisville), while Sarah Fritschner visits The Mayan Cafe (813 E. Market St.,

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    610 Magnolia To Debut Nearby Wine Studio

    IN THE NEWS: The posh 610 Magnolia restaurant is preparing to debut The Wine Studio at 610, a new building meant to host a broader range of events that will make wine a larger part of the business, Business First of Louisville reports. Across the street at 619 and 621 Magnolia, two new buildings and a courtyard have been constructed by Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia chef and co-owner, and partner Brook Smith. The structure at 621 Magnolia will be The Wine Studio, and the other will house the business's catering operations. ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives two stars to CarlyRae's (103 W. Oak St., Louisville). ... The paper reports that Irish pub Molly Malone's will open a second location Aug. 14 in Covington at 112 E. Fourth St., the site of the former Jack Quinn's Restaurant and Irish Pub. ... The Dish considers the chocolate dessert Concord at Cafe Metro (1700 Bardstown Road, ... Leo's Robin Garr recommends the special Palindrome Dinner at 610 Magnolia.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Bagel Chain Einstein Bros. Eyes Louisville

    IN THE NEWS: The nation's largest chain of bagel shops is planning to enter the Louisville market as part of a national expansion plan, Business First of Louisville reports. Einstein Bros. Bagels, part of the publicly traded Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc., based in Golden, Colo., is a "fast-casual bakery" chain that's growing fast. ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives two and a half stars to Karem's Grill & Pub (9424 Norton Commons Blvd., Prospect, Ky.). ... Sarah Fritschner notes the offering of half-portions at Cafe Lou Lou (106 Sears Ave. in St. Matthews., and pastry chef pastry chef Robbin Hill is leaving Jack Fry's after 18 years. Succeeding her is Louisvillian Krista B. Williams, a Jefferson Community and Technical College graduuate who has been baking for 10 years. Hill's last day is Aug. 17. ... Leo Weekly blogs about visits to Onion Restaurant and Tea House (4211 Charlestown Road, New Albany) and Tran Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi (4317 Charlestown Road, New Albany). ... visits Yang Kee Noodle (Oxmoor Center, 7900 Shelbyville Road, and I Ching Asian Cafe (Shelbyville Road Plaza, 4600 Shelbyville Road, Suite 10, ... Velocity drops by Melillo's (829 E. Market St.).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Toast on Market Named Best New Eatery

    IN THE NEWS: Velocity's Dining 2007 Guide names Toast on Market best new restaurant, and 610 Magnolia best expensive but worth it, and includes a chat with three of Louisville's top chefs -- Jay Denham of Park Place, Michael Crouch of Bourbons Bistro and Chip Lawrence of Avalon -- about the reality of restaurant life. ... Timothy's Cafe & Restaurant closed July 1, with its owner planning to renovate and refocus the 11-year-old restaurant on the way to a planned reopening in mid-August, Business First of Louisville reports. ... Leo's Robin Garr visits Taco Tico (5925 Terry Road), Taco Bell (4643 Dixie Hwy.) and El Zarape (4637 Dixie Hwy.). ... The Courier Journal's Sarah Fritschner notes a biodynamic wine and vegetarian dinner set for 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Lilly's (1147 Bardstown Road, Cost is $50, including wine. ... Marty Rosen gives three and a half stars to Rivue (140 N. Fourth St., Louisville). ... The paper notes that Gasthaus, the German restaurant at 4812 Brownsboro Center, will close for two weeks from July 28-Aug. 13.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    I Ching Asian Cafe Eyes Expansion

    IN THE NEWS: I Ching Asian Cafe has opened a Louisville restaurant in Shelbyville Road Plaza, the first step in its plans to establish a chain of contemporary Asian cuisine restaurants, Business First of Louisville reports. Chef Bruce Yim designed the menu. Probably best known for his work at Sweet Basil in Vail, Colo., Yim also has been the chef for the Polo Lounge in Manhattan and Wolfgang Puck's Postrio restaurant in San Francisco. The company has one other restaurant, the original store in Lexington, Ky., but it plans to expand nationally. ... The paper also reports, "The name might no longer be "Gumbo A Go-Go," but the rechristened restaurant company is ready to go-go across the nation with what a new group of franchising executives believe will be the next hot Louisville-based franchise concept. The owners of the J. Gumbo's Down-Home Cajun Cookin' chain plan to add stores during the next few months in such markets as Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, said Don Larose, president of the parent company, Gumbo Development LLC." ... Leo's Robin Garr reviews Culver’s of Louisville (4630 Hurstbourne Pkwy) and Park Place on Main (Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St.). ... Velocity reviews Puccini's Smiling Teeth (4600 Shelbyville Plaza in St. Matthews). ... The Courier-Journal's Sarah Fritschner reports the move of Cindy Rubino's The Cafe at the Louisville Antique Mall (900 Goss Ave.) to the corner of Brent and Vine streets (near Louisville Stoneware) in September or October. ... Marty Rosen gives three stars to Basa Modern Vietnamese (2244 Frankfort Ave.).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Napa River Grill Relocating to Westport

    IN THE NEWS: Business First of Louisville reports, "First and foremost, J.D. Rothberg said, Napa River Grill is not closing at Dupont Circle in St. Matthews -- not until next year, anyway. "We've scratched and clawed for eight years to build one of the most successful independent restaurants in Louisville," said Rothberg, the restaurant's managing partner. But after eight years at Dupont, "We've topped out there," he said "There's no reason for anyone to be there other than coming to Napa River." So, Napa River Grill will move next March to Westport Village from 3938 Dupont Circle." ... R.J. Gator's Florida Sea Grill and Bar and Indigo Joe's Sports Pub and Restaurant also are coming to Westport Village. ... Leo Weekly's Robin Garr reviews Jarfi’s @ Mellwood (1860 Mellwood Ave.) and Wings To Go (4324 Charlestown Road, New Albany, Ind.). ... The Courier-Journal's Howie Rosen gives two and a half stars to Windy City Pizzeria (2622 S. Fourth St., Louisville), while Sarah Fritschner reviews L&N Wine Bar and Bistro (1765 Mellwood Ave.). ... The CJ also reports that the Nally family has resumed ownership and management of D. Nally's, the local landmark diner at 970 S. Third St., after a series of interim owners. ... Velocity notes the openings of Puccini's Smiling Teeth (4600 Shelbyville Road,, Smoketown USA (1153 Logan St.), Gelato Gilberto (9434 Norton Commons Blvd.,, and Café Lou Lou (106 Sears Ave.,

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Smoke Free Law Challenges Restaurants

    IN THE NEWS: Velocity visits Blue Mountain Coffee House (400 E. Main St.), Bluegrass Brewing Co. (3929 Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews), and interviews bar and restaurant owners on the challenges of enforcing Metro Louisville's Comprehensive Smoke Free Law, which took effect on July 1. ... Business First of Louisville profiles Cuban natives Fernando Martinez and brother-in-law Marcos Lorenzo, owners of Havana Rumba restaurant and Mojito Tapas restaurant, which opened June 1 in Holiday Manor Shopping Center on U.S. 42. It's located at the site of the former La Peche restaurant. Kathy Cary closed La Peche last November to focus on her Lilly's restaurant. ... Leo weekly and's Robin Garr gives a 90 grade to Mayan Café (813 E. Market St.; ... The Courier-Journal's Sarah Fritschner reports, "Anoosh Shariat hasn't left Park Place on Main, but he's stepped away from the plate, as it were, and he'll probably be gone by fall. Shariat calls himself a "consultant" and says he will remain as an outside influence on the restaurant until it changes its menu and it secures a more relaxed and approachable atmosphere, which he estimates will be the end of July or August. Jay Denham took over cooking responsibilities in March and remains as chef. ... Marty Rosen gives two stars in his review of Bluegrass Brewing Company.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Rising Cheese Prices Bump Cost of Pizzas

    The Associated Press reports that block cheddar cheese - the benchmark for mozzarella and other cheeses -- reached $2.08 a pound recently on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up 78 percent from $1.17 a pound a year ago. Industry observers attribute the price surge to strong demand and higher production prices -- from the cost of milk to the cost for dairy farmers to feed their herds. Some big pizza chains, which use mountains of cheese, already have responded. Both Pizza Hut and Papa John's International Inc. have raised the price of their cheese-only pizzas to the same amount as one-topping pizzas at company-owned stores. The higher cheese prices have exacerbated pressure companies already face from higher wages and fuel costs, said Chris Sternberg, spokesman for Louisville-based Papa John's. Papa John's uses about 100 million pounds of cheese each year, and the cheese typically makes up 35 percent to 40 percent of the food cost in making a pizza, he said.

    IN THE NEWS: Velocity looks at hot dog stands, including Don's at Sixth and Liberty ... Leo's leoweekly and critic Robin Garr gives 78 points to Frank’s Steakhouse (9601 Shelbyville Road). ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives three and a half stars to Mojito (2231 Holiday Manor Center, Louisville) and two and a half stars to the Chinese restaurant Liang's Cafe (3571 Springhurst Blvd., Louisville), while the paper also reports that Justin and Kristin Gilbert have reopened Gelato Gilberto at 9434 Norton Commons Blvd. in Prospect.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Takeout Services on the Rise

    Time-pressed Americans' push for more food to go is reshaping the way restaurants do business, USA Today's Bruce Horovitz reports. Well over half of the meals purchased at the nation's estimated 935,000 restaurants are eaten at home, back at the office or in the car. Twenty five years ago, far more people ate restaurant food in eatries than took it out. By 2006, the typical American ate 81 meals inside restaurants but ordered 127 to go, reports researcher NPD group. The paper cites increased takeout services at a number of national chains, including Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse and P.F. Chang's, as well as Washington, D.C.'s historic Old Ebbitt Grill.

    IN THE NEWS: Velocity reviews Dundee Tavern (2224 Dundee Road; ... Leo's Paige Moore-Heavin reviews Rivue (The Galt House, 140 N. Fourth St.,, while Robin Garr notes the addition of pizza at Caffe Classico (2144 Frankfort Ave., ... The Courier-Journal looks at the growing trend of farmers markets.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Diners Say: We Want Less

    A survey of more than 4,000 diners finds that a substantial majority believes restaurant portions are too big. Fifty-seven percent said portions were too large; 20 percent said they were too small; and the 23 percent who had no opinion apparently thought they were just right. The results, reported in Nation's Restaurant News, an industry trade journal, were heavily skewed by gender and income. Sixty-seven percent of women believed portions were too large, while only forty-seven percent of men reached the same conclusion. Meanwhile, sixty percent of respondents making between $100,000 and $150,000 said portions were oversized. And that figure rose to seventy percent among those making more than $150,000. In contrast, and perhaps not surprisingly, only twenty-seven percent of those with incomes under $25,000 thought portions were too large.

    IN THE NEWS: Leo weekly and's Robin Garr celebrates authentic Neapolitan pies at area pizza joints, including Primo (445 E. Market St.), Tony Boombozz Pizzeria (3334 Frankfort Ave.), and Luigi’s Pizzeria (712 W. Main St.). ... Business First of Louisville profiles Paul Masterson, president and CEO of Masterson's Food & Drink. Masterson and three of his siblings -- Brian, Andrew and Sueanna Masterson -- co-own Masterson's, which does business as Masterson's Catering. What started as a 25-seat drive-in restaurant founded in 1939 by their Greek-immigrant grandfather, Nicholas Mastoras, has grown into one of Louisville's largest catering and restaurant companies, with annual sales of $14 million and 220 employees. ... The Courier-Journal considers soft shell crabs at Union Grill in the Brown hotel at Fourth and Broadway in downtown Louisville. ... Critic Marty Rosen awards three and a half stars to Sakura Blue (4600 Shelbyville Rd, Louisville).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    City Pushes For McCormick & Schmick's

    IN THE NEWS: The Louisville Arena Authority Inc. hopes to reel in McCormick & Schmick's, an upscale seafood restaurant chain based in Portland, Ore., as the anchor dining tenant for the planned riverfront venue, Business First of Louisville reports. Talks are ongoing with the chain, according to authority officials, and Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson met with representatives of the company during a recent visit to Las Vegas for the spring convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers. ... Leo and critic Robin Garr details three great places for ribs: Rite Way Bar-B-Cue House (1548 W. St. Catherine St.), Smoketown USA Pit Bar-B-Que and Tex-Mex (1153 Logan St.) and Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot & Smokehouse (3204 Frankfort Ave.). ... Velocity reviews Baxter Station Bar and Grill (1201 Payne St in Irish Hill) and downtown's Bistro 301 (301 W. Market St.). ... Brinker International Inc. says its franchisee ERJ Dining has agreed to buy 76 of Brinker's company-owned Chili's Grill & Bar restaurants, and develop 49 new Chili's in the Midwest, the Dallas Business Journal reports. Louisville-based ERJ will become one of the largest Chili's franchisees in the country once the deal closes by the end of 2007, Brinker said in a statement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Brinker, a Dallas-based restaurant operator, said the deal is part of a plan to grow its franchise ownership. The company expects franchise ownership to surpass its goal of 30 percent by the end of 2007 and grow to 35 percent by the end of fiscal 2008. Brinker's other restaurant concepts are Romano's Macaroni Grill, Maggiano's Little Italy and On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina. .. The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen gives three stars to Bourbons Bistro (2255 Frankfort Ave.). ... Ron Mikulak reports, "Owner and executive chef Dean Corbett has named two new chefs at Equus, 122 Sears Ave., and they have worked up a new summer menu. Josh Hillyard, formerly executive chef at Danielle's, is the new chef de cuisine, and John Hudson, who has been with Equus and Jack's Lounge for two years, has been promoted to executive sous chef.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Galt House's Rivue Sets June 5 Debut

    IN THE NEWS: The Courier-Journal's Sarah Fritschner reports, "The Galt House closed the Flagship restaurant at the top of its west tower at the first of the year. Gone are the $30 chicken breast dinners. Gone is the cheesy décor. ... In its place (with a scheduled June 5 opening) comes Rivue, a dining room in black, white and gray with art deco details and updated furniture, sleek square white dinnerware and loads of Italian crystal. And, of course, a view of the river from 25 stories up. Brian Riddle, executive chef of the hotel, will preside over the restaurant kitchen"... Critic Marty Rosen gives three and a half stars to Captain's Quarters Riverside Grille (5700 Captains Quarters Road). ... Business First of Louisville details the recent return of longtime restaurateur and entertainer Bobby Johnson after a several-year hiatus to joining some of the La Rouge partners (Jeremy Murphy, Mark Hunter and Rick Longino) in converting the restaurant (252 E. Market St.) into Bobby J's on May 11. ... Leo and critic Robin Garr looks at three vegetarian-friendly restaurants: City Café (1250 Bardstown Road), Zen Garden (2240 Frankfort Ave.) and Shiraz Mediterranean Grill (2011 Frankfort Ave.). ... Velocity reviews Culver's (4630 S. Hurstbourne Parkway) and offers a roundup of area farmers markets.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Old Seelbach Makes Esquire Best Bars List

    Esquire magazine's second annual Best Bars of America list is out in the June 2007 issue. They include:

    Lou's Pub & Package, Birmingham, Ala.; J Lounge, Golden Gopher, The Edison, The Broadway Bar, La Cita, Bordello, Redwood, and Bar 107, Los Angeles; Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, Calif.; The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills; Beach Ball, Newport Beach, Calif.; Brennan's Pub, Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Bourbon & Branch, The Owl Tree, Vesuvio, and Zeitgeist, San Francisco; The Sportsman, Sonora, Calif.; Cruise Room, and El Chapultepec, Denver; Jimbo's, and Churchill's Pub, Miami; The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta; Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel, and La Mariana Sailing Club, Honolulu; The California Clipper, The Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, The Matchbox, Hideout, and Chipp Inn, Chicago; The Red Key, and Nicky Blaine's, Indianapolis; The Old Seelbach Bar, Louisville; The Chart Room, The Bar at Tujague's, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, and Napoleon House, New Orleans; The Brewer's Art, and Shamrock Inn, Baltimore; B-Side Lounge, Cambridge, Mass.; No. 9 Park, Boston; Doyle's Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; The Bar at Seldom Blues, Detroit; Miller's Bar, Dearborn, Mich.; Bulldog NE, and Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis; Half Time Rec, St. Paul; John D. McGurk's, St. Louis; Any bar on the Strip, Double Down Saloon, and Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas; Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, Little Branch, The Bar at Keens Steakhouse, Minetta Tavern, Jimmy's Corner, The Angel's Share, The Brooklyn Inn, The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Flatiron Lounge, The Saloon, San Domenico Restaurant, Spuyten Duyvil, 21 Club, Grassroots Tavern, Bill's Gay 90s, Julius', and Pegu Club, New York City; Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Queens; Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte, NC; Andyman's Treehouse, Columbus, Ohio; The Library Bar & Grill, Norman, Okla.; Friendly Lounge, The Grey Lodge, and Southwark, Philadelphia; Dee's Cafe, Pittsburgh; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and Robert's Western World, Nashville; La Tuna, San Antonio; Donn's Depot, Austin; The Inwood Lounge, Dallas; Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah; Sambar, Zig Zag Cafe, and Fu Kun Wu, Seattle; Hawk 'n' Dove, and The Tune Inn, Washington, DC; Holler House, Milwaukee.

    IN THE NEWS: Business First of Louisville reports that Louisville-based Papa John's International Inc. earned the highest customer satisfaction rating among pizza chains in the this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index. Produced by the Stephen M. Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, in partnership with the American Society for Quality, the ACSI surveys consumers about the quality of products and services available in the United States. Papa John's was followed by Detroit-based Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's Pizza Inc. and Pizza Hut, a unit of Louisville-based Yum Brands Inc. ... Speaking of Yum Brands, Business First also reports that the company's board of directors has approved a two-for-one stock split. In a news release, Yum said it expects to return $1.3 billion to shareholders this year by reducing its share count by at least 3 percent through buybacks and dividends. Yum operates the KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Foods restaurant brands. ... Marty Rosen awards three stars in his Courier-Journal review of Yaching's East West Cuisine (105 S. Fourth St.). ... and Leo's Robin Garr takes a look at vegetarian dining options, including City Café (1250 Bardstown Road), Zen Garden (2240 Frankfort Ave.), and Shiraz Mediterranean Grill (2011 Frankfort Ave.) ... Velocity takes a bite out of five different pies from five different pizza joints: Za's Pizza Pub (1573 Bardstown Road), Jockamo's (983 Goss Ave.), Wick's Pizza (several locations), Spinelli's Pizzeria (614 Baxter Ave.) and Tony BoomBozz (various locations).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    America's Best Restaurant Cities

    "Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

    Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
    1. New York City
    2. Chicago
    3. San Francisco
    4. Los Angeles
    5. New Orleans
    6. Houston
    7. Washington, D.C.
    8. Atlanta
    9. Boston
    10. Las Vegas

    Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

    IN THE NEWS: Business First of Louisville reports on Shane's Rib Shack restaurant, scheduled to open June 7 in Glenview Pointe Shopping Center on Brownsboro Road. Cutler is a franchisee of Atlanta-based Raving Brands, which owns the Shane's brand and seven other brands. The Glenview Pointe store will be the first of two Shane's stores planned for Louisville, with a second store scheduled to open in 2008 at Chamberlain Point Shopping Center, 9702 Brownsboro Road at Chamberlain Lane. There are 57 Shane's open now, with a total of 100 scheduled to be open by the end of the year. Each is adapted from the original tin-roofed Shane's Rib Shack, which opened in 2002 in rural McDonough, Ga. ... From "Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby was at his restaurant in Louisville for Kentucky Derby weekend, when an employee approached him, apparently excited that O.J. Simpson was sitting down to dinner. Ruby said he took another puff of his cigar and another sip of his drink and decided, "I don't want him here." Ruby said he found Simpson in the Churchhill room of his Jeff Ruby's Louisville steakhouse and told Simpson, "I'm not serving you." Ruby said he did it for the Goldman and Brown families, referring, of course, to the families of the people O.J. was accused of killing. Simpson was found not guilty in the criminal trial, but liable in a civil trial. After telling Simpson to leave, he said the former NFL football star was "classy" about it, rounded up his party and left. Then, Ruby said, he went into the Churchill Room to be sure they were gone and people at other tables started standing. "They all got up and gave me a standing ovation, started applauding." Ruby said it happened throughout the restaurant. He added that the next day in the restaurant, "Nobody in Louisville was talking about who won the Derby, who lost, what happened to the favorite, or the Queen. They were just talking about 'O.J. got thrown out of the place.'" ... The Courier-Journal's Marty Rosen looks at ethnic sandwiches, including The Victorian at The Cafe at the Antique Mall, and also gives two and a half stars in his review of Pig City BBQ, 12003 Shelbyville Road. ... Velocity reviews Ballyhoo's Baja Grill is at 1702 Bardstown Road. ... The invaluable reviews Hero’s New York Pizza Pub, 10509 Watterson Trail, and L&N Wine Bar and Bistro, 1765 Mellwood Ave.
    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    James Beard Awards Announced

    Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit

    Beard Award highlights are:

    AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

    Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

    BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

    BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

    BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

    BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

    BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

    BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

    BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

    BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

    BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

    BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

    BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

    OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

    OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

    OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

    OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

    OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

    OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

    OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

    RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

    IN THE NEWS: Business First of Louisville reports on the closings of the only Kentucky locations of the chains Harper's Restaurant (May 4) and Bahama Breeze (May 6) Harper's, located at 871 S. Hurstbourne Parkway, the latter soon to be replaced by Amerigo Italian Restaurant, a Nashville-based chain. ... Courier-Journal critic Marty Rosen gives three and a half stars (excellent) to The English Grill, 335 West Broadway. The paper also looks at Mother's Day dining options. ... Leo looks at five area breweries from the perspective of Roger Baylor, co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany: Bluegrass Brewing Co. (BBC) 3929 Shelbyville Road; BBC Taproom, 636 E. Main St.; Browning’s Brewery, 401 E. Main St.; Cumberland Brews, 1576 Bardstown Road; and New Albanian Brewing Company, 3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany. ... Leo contributor Robin Garr of examines the food choices at Slugger Field . ... Velocity looks at five new restaurants: Derby City Espresso, 331 E. Market St.; Tengo Sed Cantina, 410 S. Fourth St. ; Smoketown Bar-B-Que, 2044 S. Preston St.; Coco's Chocolate Café, 1759 Bardstown Road. ; and NV Tavern, 1202 Bardstown Road.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    James Beard Awards Await

    Roughly the dining out equivalent of The Academy Awards, The James Beard Foundation annual awards ceremony takes place Monday, May 7, at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Go to for the complete list, but here's a partial list of national nominees:

    -- Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard, San Francisco; Frontera Grill, Chicago; Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C., Picholine, New York; Spiaggia, Chicago.
    -- Best New Restaurant: A Voce, New York City; Chochon, New Orleans; Cut, Beverly Hill, Calif; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York City; Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York City; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas.
    -- Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif; Keith McNally, Balthazar, New York City; Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (R.J. Grunts, Wildfire, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!), Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Rubicon), New York City; Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges restaurant, New York City.
    -- Outstanding Chef: Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City; Lee Hefter, Spago, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Jean Joho, Everest, Chicago; Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago; Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.
    -- Rising Star Chef: Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco; Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel, Philadelphia; David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York; Patrick Connelly, Radius, Boston; Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York City.

    Restaurant magazine just released its list of the world's top 100 restaurants. ( Here are the U.S. entries:

    The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca. (No. 4)
    Per Se, New York City (No. 9)
    Jean Georges, New York City (No. 18)
    Le Bernardin, New York City (No. 26)
    Charlie Trotter's, Chicago (No. 30)
    Daniel, New York City (No. 32)
    Alinea, Chicago (No. 36)
    Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Ca. (No. 40)
    Masa, New York City (No. 56)
    L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons, New York City (No. 64)
    Peter Lugar, Brooklyn, NY (No. 69)
    Nobu New York, New York City (No. 89)
    Gramercy Tavern, New York city (No. 90)
    WD-50, New York City (No. 91)
    Zuni Café, San Francisco (No. 98)
    Alex at Wynn, Las Vegas (No. 100)

    IN THE NEWS: Susan Hershberg's growing Wiltshire Pantry catering operation has moved to a roomier site at 1310 E. Breckinridge St. with plans to reach $1 million in annual revenue in 2007, Business First of Louisville reports. The paper also has reported the April 1 closing of pioneering downtown African restaurant Cafe Kilimanjaro after 14 years in business. ... The Courier-Journal's Sarah Fritschner reviews the new Mojito, 2231 Holiday Manor Center. The paper also has a rundown of dining events during Derby Week. The C-J's sibling publication Velocity's 2 for $30 column features Mike Linnig's, 9308 Cane Run Road. ... Leo weekly takes a look at the influx of imported beers in area restaurants and pubs, specifically citing Jim and Toki Huie's Maido Essential Japanese Cuisine and Sake Bar on Frankfort Avenue. ... Leo contributor Robin Garr's outstanding site reviews both the new Mojito and Basa Modern Vietnamese restaurant, 2244 Frankfort Ave. ( ... Southern Living magazine ( 's May 2007 issue features: Napa River Grill, 3838 Dupont Circle; Proof on Main, 702 W. Main St.; Seviche, A Latin Restaurant, 1538 Bardstown Road; and Third Avenue Cafe, 1164 S. Third St.