Local beer coming soon from O’Shea’s: Tom O’Shea, president and partner of the O’Shea’s Family of Pubs (O’Shea’s, Flanagan’s Ale House, Brendan O’Shea’s and Patrick O’Shea’s), tells me his company will begin brewing its own beer within the next several months. Given that O’Shea’s was among the city’s first bars to assemble a serious beer program when it opened in 1995, it’s fitting it’ll begin making its own.
“We thought it was about time we got into that part of the business, too,” O’Shea said during an interview I had with him at Patrick’s this afternoon. (I never get tired of looking at that gorgeous tavern at 123 W. Main St. You must see it if you haven’t.) “We haven’t picked a name for it yet, but we do know where we’ll brew it.”
If you’re a fan of Flanagan’s Red Room, you know the space. O’Shea said that behind the wall at its far end is an empty space that will be approximately doubled in size by annexing a nearly equal-sized portion of the Red Room.
O’Shea has designs on at least one brewer whom he didn’t name, nor did he say what brews we can expect under the company’s name. Definitely something to look forward to, though.
Happy 1st birthday, Havana Rumba II!: Havana Rumba in Middletown—sister restaurant to Havana Rumba in St. Matthews and Mojito Tapas Restaurant—will celebrate its first year in operation on Saturday, May 28, with an outdoor party.
Owner Marcos Lorenzo recently told me the restaurant never had a proper grand opening celebration, “So maybe it’s time to have a grand-reopening party.” Lorenzo said the festivities will include a group from Bacardi making fresh mojitos, a live band and “the girls (his employees) will dress up nice.”
For those who’ve not been there, Havana Rumba in Middletown is in the old Pig City BBQ space at 12003 Shelbyville Rd. Several good restaurant concepts have died in that same strip center, which made even some of Lorenzo’s best customers at his now-legendary St. Matthews spot doubt he could succeed there.
After a year of long waits on weekends and always steady business throughout the week, those same doubters are happily convinced they were wrong.
“It’s been nice to hear them apologize for betting against us,” Lorenzo said, laughing.
If you’d like to attend, call the restaurant for details at 244-5375.
Coals’ fires cool Monday as dough is replenished: It’s common for a restaurant to be slammed the day of a restaurant review, but Coals Artisan Pizza was simply crushed last weekend after a pair of glowing restaurant reviews from two publications sent customers scrambling to its doors.
The rush was so overwhelming the operation did not have enough dough properly fermented for service on Monday and had to close its doors for lunch that day.
Insider note: Good pizza dough is fermented at least 24 hours under refrigeration or in a cold room, and sometimes as long as 72 hours. That relaxes the dough to make it pliable and allows for flavor development. So it’s a tad confusing to some when a pizzeria brags about “dough made fresh daily.” If the shop is truly serving same-day dough, it’s probably not that great.
“When we were training at Wood Stone (the maker of its coal-fired oven) in Washington, the chef constantly stressed to always have enough dough made ahead,” said Mark Peters, co-owner of Coals. Despite Monday night’s storms, they had a line out the door.
“We took that seriously and always swore we’d never let that happen, but we were just slammed after those reviews. We hated closing for lunch, but we had no choice.”
Needless to say, Peters’ team has upped its dough pars and has a back-up plan for added refrigeration space in case it’s needed. He insists his team will not get caught without supplies in the future.
I’m happy to report that as of Tuesday lunch, all was well, plus the pizza is even better than what I enjoyed four weeks ago. According to my palate, it’s the best pizza in Louisville.