Welcome to the Oct. 26 Monday Business Briefing, your private business intelligence digest from Insider Louisville.
Repeat offenders: Which Louisville dining establishments have failed the most inspections?
For that reason, Insider Louisville didn’t think it was particularly worthwhile to point out every restaurant or establishment that has failed an inspection. So we decided to look at it in the context of how many inspections did they fail from Jan. 1, 2012, to Oct. 15, 2015, and apply the three-strikes rule.
And IL is happy to report that only 38 of the roughly 4,000 restaurants and other food providers failed three inspections or more since 2012.
“I feel comfortable going out to eat in the facilities we have,” said Kelly Monahan, an inspector with the Louisville Metro Health Department. “For the most part, establishments do a good job.”
The list below breaks down each place by address and shows the date of the inspection, the inspection score and the reasons inspectors gave for failing the establishment.
Unsurprisingly, a few Waffle House restaurants and Wei Wei Chinese Express on Fifth Street made the list. If you’ve ever been in either, you expect them to be somewhat dirty. It’s part of their charm, right?
The places with the most failed inspections, however, are Louisville Slugger Field and the Kentucky Exposition Center. Slugger Field received 11 separate failing scores from the health department since 2012, and the Exposition Center has received 28. As if fair food wasn’t unappealing enough.
Looking at actual restaurants, the most failed inspections any one restaurant location received was five, and coincidentally, it was a five-way tie between the Dairy Queen at 2208 Goldsmith Lane; the Denny’s at 4030 Dutchmans Lane; Steak & Shake at 4545 Outer Loop; La Torta Loca at 5213 Preston Highway; and El Rodeo at 9070 Dixie Highway.
However, the worst inspection score on the list was handed out to A Taste of China, 1167 Fourth St. It received a 64 back in February for violations including the presence of rodents, spoiled food, a lack of thermometers to monitor food temperature and no hair restraints.
Some of the more common violations, Monahan said, are not storing cleaning cloths in sanitized solution, build up of food or other grime on surfaces that come in contact with food, and unclean floors, walls and ceilings.
“Making sure facilities are cleaning throughout can sometimes be a challenge,” she said.
Violations that get a restaurant shut down immediately include insect or rodent infestations and sewage backing up into the building.
Restaurants have seven to 10 days to address critical violations, and those that are forced to close cannot reopen without a clean inspection from the health department.
Check below (or click this link) to see which places made the list and why. —Caitlin Bowling
Louisville drug services company to add 100 jobs
Greater demand for drugs and therapies to treat rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other chronic conditions is prompting a Louisville drug services company to add 100 jobs.
RXCrossroads Specialty Solutions, which employs about 800 at its East End facility, already has hired more than 500 employees this year.
The company, a division of Omnicare, which was bought by CVS Health in August, provides services that support patients with difficult-to-treat and/or chronic conditions. The services include reimbursement and benefit investigations, patient education assistance provided by nurses, and direct-to-patient dispensing of prescriptions.
Christina Beckerman, manager of corporate communications at CVS, said via email that the need for services for patients using so-called specialty drugs continues to increase.
Though there is no standard definition for specialty drugs, they typically treat rare, chronic or complex conditions, are costly and may require require special handling or administration or frequent dosing adjustments, according to a report created for PhRMA, which represents pharmaceutical companies.
“Many of these specialty therapies require extra patient care and support as well as specialized handling and storage,” Beckerman said, “so we’re expanding our operations to help meet this growing need of our vendors, distributors and patients.”
According to the report for PhRMA, four major companies in the specialty drug industry, including CVS, had seen growth between 15 and 28 percent in the last two years and were projecting growth between 17 percent and 25 percent this year and in 2016.
Beckerman said RXCrossroads is looking for job applicants for a range of positions — including pharmacists, nurses and a building maintenance technician — with varying skills, experience and qualifications. She said compensation and benefits “are competitive” but declined to provide details. Interested job seekers can get more information here.
Hillbilly Tea getting rebirth on West Main Street
Karter Louis pretty much disappeared from Louisville this summer, but he didn’t leave for good it turns out.
Louis plans to re-open his Hillbilly Tea concept at 106 W. Main St. between Impellizzeri’s Pizza and the new Aloft Hotel. The original Hillbilly Tea closed earlier this year, with Louis citing downtown construction hurting business.
Fred Durham, CEO of Louisville custom goods company CafePress, owns the West Main Street building and will lease it to Karter. Durham originally had his own plans for the space but those were tossed aside when he retook the helm of CafePress.
Gant Hill & Associates founder and principal broker Gant Hill was then tasked with finding a business to take over the space, which is how Hillbilly Tea ended up there.
“He asked us to look for a good working tenant. When (Durham and Louis) first met, they just hit it off very well,” said Robert Wang, vice president of the hospitality division at Gant Hill & Associates.
Hill represented Durham, while Wang represented Louis during the lease negotiations.
The West Main Street building is nearly 1,000 square feet smaller than Hillbilly Tea’s original location. However, the new building is only one floor, compared to two floors at the original restaurant, which Louis previously said was cumbersome for employees.
The new iteration of Hillbilly Tea will include a more elaborate menu, events, catering, a tea bar and “a much larger” liquor bar, Wang said. “It’s going to be really exciting.”
Louis, through others, declined to talk to IL about the new Hillbilly Tea, what he’s been doing for during the past four months, and what’s happening with his other concepts.
In June, Louis closed his Hillbilly Tea Shack on Baxter Avenue “for the summer,” after seven months in operation, according to a Facebook post. The Hillbilly Shack never reopened, and now the spot is occupied by Loui Loui’s, a Detroit-style pizza place.
Louis also was reportedly opening an Appalachian sushi restaurant called Billy Box at Fifth and Chestnut Street with chef David Scales, but Scales told IL that he is no longer involved with the project and was unsure if Louis was continuing without him.
On top of those two projects, Louis, for more than a year, has said he’s working on a Hillbilly Tea location in the Portland neighborhood as well as a distillery operation where he could make Hillbilly Hooch, a tea-infused alcohol.
Jefferson County unemployment rate at 14-year low
The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has announced that the unemployment rate in Jefferson County fell to 4.1 percent in September, the second consecutive month that this rate has hit a 14-year low.
These preliminary numbers are not seasonally adjusted, but this unemployment rate is a significant drop from 5.3 percent in September of 2014, and from 7.4 percent in that month in 2013. The last time the unemployment rate in Jefferson County was this low during the month of September was in 2000, when it was 3.4 percent.
Now for a little reality check: While the number of Louisvillians on unemployment has been cut nearly in half since September of 2013 – a decrease of 13,361 individuals – the number of those employed has actually decreased by 5,659.
Over the past two years, the monthly number of employed workers has remained relatively steady along with the decrease in unemployment, suggesting that a growing number of people that have stopped looking for work, which accounts for the plunging unemployment rate. —Joe Sonka
Travel+Leisure names Louisville one of ‘Nine Perfect Places for Your LGBT Destination Wedding’
Now that LGBT Kentuckians don’t have to elope to other states to tie the knot, many are choosing to stay in town and take advantage of Louisville’s gay-friendly amenities. And apparently, the rest of the country thinks we’re one of the top places to get hitched as well, as we’ve been named one of Travel+Leisure’s “Nine Perfect Places for Your LGBT Destination Wedding.”
Although they aren’t in any particular order, it’s worth noting that Louisville is the first city to be featured. The piece touts our beautiful four seasons, love of bourbon and 21c Museum Hotel as a great venue.
The others on the list include Montauk, N.Y.; Palm Beach County, Fla.; Vieques, Puerto Rico; Albuquerque, N.M.; Dunton, Colo.; Park City, Utah; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Maui.
The author of the piece, Andrew Villagomez, was in town recently for the Louisville Pride Festival and the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Say I Do in Lou campaign in September. —Sara Havens
Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs adds three new lawyers
The law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs has added three new attorneys to its Louisville office — two will focus on litigation and dispute resolution, while the third will specialize in health care.
Billy Hopkins is a member of Wyatt’s Health Care Service Team. He’s also a CPA and has his law degree from U of L.
Joining Wyatt’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Service Team are: Jordan White, who recently graduated magna cum laude from U of L law; and Sean Williamson, who earned his J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Cahoots won’t fight liquor license suspension
Cahoots doesn’t plan to fight a recently recommended 36-day liquor license suspension, according to attorney Thomas Clay.
Clay, of Clay Daniel Walton Adams PLC, said his client, Cahoots owner Marcia Cain, won’t file any response to the recommended suspension.
In recent years, Cahoots has gained a reputation for being a hotspot for disorderly conduct and crime, including fights and drugs. Several months ago, the owner ended up in trouble with Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Alcoholic Beverage Control Board after admitting she did not have off-duty uniformed officers posted outside her bar — a condition agreed upon by ABC officials and Cain after a previous infraction.
Because she did not comply completely with the condition, an ABC hearing officer earlier this month recommended that Louisville Metro Codes & Regulations director Robert Kirchdorfer suspend the bar’s liquor license.
Cahoots and the city have 15 days — or until this Friday — to submit exceptions to the recommendation. After that, Kirchdorfer will decide whether to take the hearing officer’s recommendation, issue a different penalty or not issue a penalty at all. —Caitlin Bowling
Oh hell no! Tennessee distillery one of the first to experiment with fake aging device to make rye whiskey
Sugarlands Distilling Co. out of Gatlinburg, Tenn., has taken the bait. They’ve partnered with California’s Lost Spirits Technologies to create a faux rye whiskey that is not aged using the traditional put-it-in-a-barrel-and-store-it-in-a-rick-house-for-years method, but rather one that mechanically accelerates the aging process by using a device called THEA One, what the company calls a “portable aging reactor.”
According to its website, the device “enables the creation of distilled spirits with the aroma, taste and texture of fully matured spirits along with a nearly identical chemical signature to products aged for 20 years or more.”
So, instead of aging in a barrel for 20 years, this machine creates a whiskey in six to eight days that tastes the same — or so it professes.
IL first wrote about the artificial aging concept in April, but this is the first we’ve heard of a regional distillery trying it out. Sugarlands produces a popular line of flavored moonshines and is embarking on a Whiskey Project, which will create traditional and “modern” whiskies.
This new release, which falls under the “modern” label, is appropriately called Time Machine Rye Whiskey. On its website, it quotes H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” as inspiration for the product: “Scientific people know very well that time is only a type of space.”
We’ll see about that.
More on SimCave, the World’s First Digital Gaming Arena (TM)
SimCave immerses groups in a multiplayer, 360-degree gaming environment equipped with console and PC-based games. There’s also a room set up like a night club, with lights and a fog machine, for dancing and other movement games. Eventually there will be a room for two-on-two gaming with couches and two flat-screens.
The space is located in a bland office complex on Plantside Drive, in a former warehouse.
The two SimCaves each feature 11 large flat-screen TVs arranged in a black 12-sided room. In the center of the room is a hendecagonal (11-sided) structure that features 11 chairs and 11 removable tables for PC games. Why 11? You have to put the door somewhere.
The “Game Master” stands in the middle and is there to fix broken controllers, coach novices, and make sure everything stays under control.
Each seat has a left and right speaker and a bass speaker under your seat to make it rumble.
Schy is hosting an employment fair on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. He’s looking to hire around 25 full- and part-time employee.
Here’s the cool part: Because Game Masters and other employees need to be well-versed on current games, part of your job is to learn to play new games — and you get paid to do it!
The facility also features a nice waiting room for parents with TVs, charging stations and WiFi, as well as a party space with tables and chairs. Party packages include pizza and drinks, with cake and other party favors available upon request.
When you reserve a party, you’re asked which game you want to play. The form leaves a place for “other” and Schy said that within reason, they’ll try to accommodate. He figures this is a good way to build up their library of games, by stocking them on demand (keep in mind, some games cost as much as $60 and they’d need 11 copies).
Grand opening is Nov. 20, and reservations are now being accepted. —Melissa Chipman
Correction: The original version of this post failed to mention that the site formerly occupied by Hillbilly Tea Shack on Baxter Avenue is now a Loui Loui’s pizza joint.