(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from the original story printed in the Spring 2019 issue. We incorrectly reported that 21st Amendment Tavern featured hemp food items. This is not accurate. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.)
Our Spring summary of changes in the local restaurant scene — with openings, closings, changes and more.
The ratio of new restaurants opening to existing restaurants closing is still healthily positive. This issue, F&D notes 28 openings against 20 closings. The latter number includes multi-location businesses that have shuttered one outlet but are still serving at others.
Notable among the newcomers are eight new restaurants in Southern Indiana. New Albany will see the bulk of the new businesses, and Jeffersonville the rest. Noteworthy on the other side of the ratio — and of the river — are seven rather abrupt closings along Bardstown Road, Louisville’s original Restaurant Row, which has seen relatively little turnover in recent years. Whether or not this is the beginning of a larger trend remains to be seen.
The following are among the newly opened or about to open restaurants: a thorough remodeling of Germantown’s popular but former Cure Lounge, giving us 21st Amendment Tavern; two ambitious entertainment options, Griff’s and Dave & Buster’s; and two interesting additions to the Frankfort Avenue dining corridor, Hooked on Frankfort and Burger Girl Diner.
U of L basketball’s Dr. Dunkenstein, Darrell Griffith, is the namesake behind Griff’s, located in the long-vacant O’Malley’s Corner building at 133 W. Liberty St. It’s a sports bar but also a restaurant with lots of choices for sports fans or nearby Omni guests.
Another new sports bar, Dave & Buster’s, 5000 Shelbyville Rd., skews toward family-friendly with lots of arcade games, billiards, bowling, and other fun and has taken over the second floor of Forever 21 at Mall St. Matthews. The surprisingly large menu ranges from shareable snacks and bar fare to full entrees like, salmon, ribs and pasta to an impressive healthy selection for alternative diets.
In Germantown, 21st Amendment Tavern at 1481 S. Shelby St. plans to open in April, offering scratch made dishes and a wide array of libations. Andrea Reigling has been working to reconfigure the former Cure Lounge building on the corner of E. Burnett.
Hooked on Frankfort, 3202 Frankfort Ave., is a new fish house from popular bar & BBQ joint Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot’s owners, who wanted seafood in their portfolio. Just two doors down from FABD, the new joint features an outdoor dining patio and claims they will soon be known for the “best fish sandwich on Frankfort Ave”.
Dan Borsch, owner of the classic Old Louisville eating spots Burger Boy, Toonerville Tavern and Old Louisville Tavern, is expanding into Crescent Hill. He’s acquired the former Bluegrass Burgers Building at 3334 Frankfort Ave. and plans to open Burger Girl there sometime in March. The vibe and never-closing hours will echo the venerable Burger Boy.
A lot has been happening across the river. One of six new businesses in New Albany is The Grain Haus at 41 W. First St., across the courtyard from its parent, Floyd County Brewing. The emphasis will be on pizza and other beer-friendly foods.
A different approach to a pizza restaurant, 8th St. Pizza, 800 E. Eighth St., describes itself as a “pay-it-forward pizza shop and ministry.” Customers can pay the listed price or whatever they can afford — or pay more than listed if they can “pay-it-forward,” making a slice available for another.
La Catrina Mexican Kitchen, a new approach from the owners of Señor Iguanas, is at 202 E. Elm St. in New Albany (formerly Dragon King’s Daughter), and another new Mexican restaurant in New Albany is El Sinaloa Mexican Restaurant, 111 W. Market St.
The Earl, a new bar and grill, sits in the space vacated by Comfy Cow at 109 E. Market St. Cox’s Hot Chicken replaced Big Four Burgers in both New Albany (110 E. Main St.) and Jeffersonville (134 Spring St.). The focus is on chicken and burgers in a family-friendly sports bar atmosphere with pool tables and other games. The Jeffersonville location boasts a Goodwood Brewing taproom on the second floor. Also new in Jeffersonville, Café 223 at 223 Pearl St. is set to open in April after several delays. The former Southern Indiana branch of the Come Back Inn has a new identity as Town, 415 Spring St. and a menu still focused on pasta, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and a revamped appetizer selection. Jeff’s Bakery at 5420 IN-62, J’ville, is also new to our listings.
Back in Louisville, the range of new restaurants is variegated. Full Stop Filling Station, 1132 E. St. Catherine St., transforms a one-time repair garage into a take-away coffee house/café focusing on locally-sourced foods.
JW Café and Bakery, 2301 Terra Crossing Blvd., serves cookies, scones and so on in the bakery but offers Korean dishes at the café at lunch. Babie Bac’z Good Grill serves barbecue at 8533 Terry Rd, and Soul Food Dining serves up soul at 4900 Poplar Level Rd.
Galan’s Meat Market has been providing Portland with fresh meats for a year or so. By April, Carlos Galan will open Galan’s Meat Market & Grille at 2300 W. Market St. also with a meat counter, and a focus on his native Cuban dishes as well as pizza.
J-Town Beach is a volleyball-centric sports center at 10315 Watterson Trl., offering Quills Coffee and Comfy Cow ice cream. The Spot has replaced Stadium Joe’s as the restaurant at Ramada Plaza, 9700 Bluegrass Pkwy.
Misawa Hibachi & Sushi Bar serves Japanese specialties at 7931 Bardstown Rd. Chilakiles serves up chilaquiles and other Mexican breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes at 5600 National Tpke.
Derby City Gaming at 4520 Poplar Level Rd. has two new eating spots on site. Lil’ Wagners is the sit-down restaurant, offering a break from betting with burgers and sandwiches (including fried bologna), starters like nachos and fried pickles, soups and salads. Railbirds Hot Chicken is Derby City Gaming’s casual eating choice, where betters can grab some wings or jumbo tenders and sides like fries or slaw.
Three established restaurants have added new venues. Griffin Paulin is opening another Mirin (Asian street food) in the bustling New Albany restaurant row at 145 E. Main St. Carali’s Rotisserie Chicken has a second store in the former Fire Fresh BBQ location at 211 S. Fifth St. in downtown Louisville; Topp’t Pizza & Salads has opened a second location at 323 W. Cardinal Blvd to satisfy U of L students’ cravings.
The string of closings along Bardstown Road surprised many, but various reasons have been given. Buffalo Wild Wings at 1055 Bardstown Rd. closed, because the national chain found it too costly to renovate the old theatre building to fit their updated corporate image.
A change in corporate direction was also given for closing the Highlands Yang Kee Noodle, 1004 Bardstown Rd. Up the street at the Douglass Loop, North End Café has closed its Highlands branch and adjoining pizza stand, Slice, at 2116 Bardstown Rd., but North End Cafè’s Frankfort Avenue location remains open. Word has it a Latin restaurant will take over the Highland building. Two DiOrio’s Pizza & Pubs remain after the closing of the Douglass Loop store at 2216 Dundee Rd.
The Bardstown Road closings continue with Anselmo’s Italian Bistro, 1511 Bardstown Rd. Also, both Bazo’s Fresh Mexican Grill locations, back side of Mid City Mall at 1250 Bardstown Rd. and 4014 Dutchmans Ln., have closed.
Downtown, Yaching’s East West Cuisine at 105 S. Fourth St. has ceased serving. In Germantown, Lydia House, 1101 Lydia St., has closed, but plans to reopen as a bar have been bruited about. F&D will keep you informed.
Restaurants across the river have seen some churn. Both locations of Big Four Burgers, 114 E. Main St. in New Albany and 134 Spring St. in Jeffersonville, are now Cox’s Hot Chicken spots. Sweet Frog at 302 Pearl St. in New Albany also closed. Two pizza places are baking no more: both Papa Murphy’s at 1305 Veterans Pkwy. in Clarksville and District 22 Pizza, 110 E. Main St. in New Albany, have closed.
In the suburbs, Bluegrass Exchange Marketplace & Deli at 9428 Norton Commons Blvd. has closed as has Peking City Bistro in Middletown at 12410 Shelbyville Rd.
Cocoberry Pops at 323 W. Woodlawn Ave. has packed up and moved to Florida. The Cure Lounge has closed at 1481 S. Shelby St. but will reopen as 21st Amendment Tavern.
And finally, Krispy Krunchy Chicken has closed at 1610 Dixie Hwy. So has Café at Main St., 10317 Watterson Trl.
A handful of other established restaurants have undergone some changes but are otherwise still in business. We mentioned that Jeffersonville Come Back Inn is now Town with slightly changed menu. Floridita, 9909 Taylorsville Rd., used to be Havana Salsa Cuban Cuisine, but the same owners are serving the same menus. The two locations of Mi Cocina at 2060 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. and 520 S. Fourth St. are now Mi Casita Parrilla Mexicana.
Good news comes to those who have waited in line at Con Huevos, 2339 Frankfort Ave. An extensive renovation tripled their space into the adjacent flower shop. The Manhattan Project, 2101 Frankfort Ave., has doubled their footprint into former Nancy’s Bagel Grounds.
In closing, Roadrunner Kitchen moved from 145 E. Main St. in New Albany to 37 Bank St. in the developing Underground Station complex. Alex&nder, the bar at Copper & Kings Distillery at 1121 E. Washington St., has stopped serving food, and River City Winery, 321 Pearl St. in New Albany, is on “temporary hiatus” with no definite re-opening date.F&D
Originally published in the Fall 2018 issue of Food & Dining Magazine