Lydia House was located at 1101 Lydia St. in Germantown. | Courtesy of Lydia House

Emily Ruff is cleaning out her former restaurant Lydia House and “putting dreams into action,” she told Insider Monday.

Less than a week after closing Lydia House, Ruff and musician J.C. Denison are turning the first floor of 1101 Lydia St. into a neighborhood bar called The MerryWeather, a wink-and-nod to the founder of Schnitzelburg, D.H. Meriwether.

“We still wanted to stay a neighborhood joint,” Ruff said, who noted that they’ve received positive feedback so far. “We have had some kind words thrown our way … I think people didn’t want to see the building go vacant.”

Emily Ruff and J.C. Denison | Courtesy of Lydia House’s Facebook

The MerryWeather will offer a daily happy hour and show some sports games, though more likely customers will be able to find a movie playing, Ruff said in a post on Facebook. “Jeopardy” will be broadcast with sound every day.

When she announced in late November that Lydia House would shut its doors, Ruff promised that something new would take its place.

On Monday, Ruff told Insider that the decision to close came down to a couple things: She couldn’t find employees and wasn’t doing well enough to hire a manager, so Ruff was not only running the business but also cooking food every day.

“It’s just too much,” she said.

The MerryWeather will allow Ruff to lighten her load. While she and Denison staff the bar, who is in the kitchen will rotate. They plan to have food truck operators, caterers and others take over the kitchen and serve their food to bar customers.

The bar will have daily snacks to give customers something to nosh on whether or not the kitchen is occupied, though Ruff said the snack and drink menus are still in development.

And “once in a while, I will hop back into the kitchen for a night or two and cook some old Lydia House favorites,” she said.

Ruff said she hopes to open The MerryWeather in mid-April after some light changes, including new coats of paint, installation of pinball machines and new artwork.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]