Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Butchertown bar owner lists business, building for sale
Emmanuel Dumigron, the owner of Louis’s The Ton, is getting out of the bar business.
“This is my second bar. It took me a year and a half to build it,” Dumigron told Insider Louisville. “I think it is time for me to slow down. I am almost 50, and I don’t want to be running bars my whole life.”
Dumigron has enlisted Zach Fry, a real estate agent with Keller Williams, and Scott Howe, an agent with Gant Hill & Associates, to sell the building and business, located at 1601 Story Ave. The listing price for the 4,400-square-foot building and the Louis’s The Ton brand is $499,900.
The building is in Butchertown, just down the street from Copper & Kings American Brandy Co., but is walking distance to other nighttime hotspots, Apocalypse Brew Works, The Silver Dollar and Hilltop Tavern in Clifton.
Dumigron opened Louis’s The Ton in late 2014 as a casual neighborhood hangout. His vision was always to offer food at the bar but plans to put in a full kitchen were delayed over the last couple of years. The bar offers snack food like duck fat popcorn and reasonably priced beers and cocktails.
The bar will remain open throughout the sale process, Dumigron said. “There’s no reason for me to close it.”
Dumigron and his fiancee, Mia Snell, are making plans to open an art collective and boutique. Snell currently operates a business called Dandelion, selling jewelry on Etsy, at Revelry Boutique Gallery in NuLu and at Acorn Apparel on Bardstown Road. Dumigron told IL that he also planned to go back to restoring vintage motorcycles.
This story has been updated.
Salon opening in Frankfort Avenue gallery
Kelly Cook, artist and owner of Cook Studio & Gallery, is folding a new aspect into the business.
Cook has worked as a licensed cosmetologist for more than a decade and will open an Aveda salon at the art studio, 1832 Frankfort Ave. The business’s grand opening kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Salon services will include haircuts, coloring, highlights, perms, styling, facials and makeup application, along with appetizers and refreshments.
Also joining the salon team is Janet Weeden, who is new to Louisville and brings with her more than 15 years of experience in cities including Montreal and San Francisco.
The salon’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome.
Cook and her husband, artist Andy Cook, opened Cook Studio & Gallery on Frankfort Avenue in June 2016. It hosts musical performances and showcases a variety of fine and functional artworks. —Caitlin Bowling
502 Restaurant Week starts next week, Taste of 502 tickets available
Taste of 502 offers attendees the chance to eat and drink as much as they can muster from restaurants including Mesh, LouVino, Brasserie Provence, Eddie Merlot’s, Over the 9, Copper and Kings American Brandy Co., Maker’s Mark and Brown-Forman, among others. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel. Tickets are $45 each.
The event serves as an appetizer for 502 Restaurant Week. This year it actually runs two weeks, from Feb. 22 to March 8.
During the week, participating restaurants a special three-course meal for $50.20 per couple or $50.20 per person, not including gratuity. A list of participating restaurants and menu previews can be viewed on 502foodie.com.
Louisville Grows moving into new headquarters in March
Healthy House, an office and community space, has been in the works for years and will be the first 21st Century Shotgun to come to fruition. Environmental nonprofit Louisville Grows will open Healthy House on March 24.
The 21st Century Shotgun project, an idea to reinvent the popular urban housing style, is part of developer and investor Gill Holland’s Portland revitalization plan. Christina Lee Brown and the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation funded Healthy House’s construction, and AJRC Architecture designed it.
The 2,050-square-foot shotgun will serve as Louisville Grows offices and as a space for community meetings and educational classes. The building features a green roof, car-charging station, rain garden and eco-friendly plumbing, heating and cooling.
“It is environmentally conscious and encourages a holistic healthy lifestyle, planting the seeds for future generations,” Louisville Grows said in a news release.
Events planned to honor life of longtime Louisville chef
At least two events are planned to remember Louisville chef Jack Tapp, who unexpectedly died earlier this month at the age of 48. Tapp attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in Louisville restaurants, including Zanzabar and Brasserie Deitrich.
Anthony Lamas, the owner of Seviche, A Latin Restaurant, is hosting a tribute dinner on Feb. 27 featuring some of Tapp’s recipes and dishes inspired by Tapp, “all lovingly prepared and served by those who had the honor of working by his side,” a release about the event states.
All proceeds from the dinner will benefit Tapp’s family. The cost is $100, which includes five courses and drink pairings, and the dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Call 502-473-8560 to purchase tickets.
Zanzabar also will host an event to mark Tapp’s life, starting at 8 p.m. Feb. 20.
“Come and celebrate the life that he gave to us all,” according to the event page. “Let us send him off the way he would want us to, via ROCK N ROLL!” —Caitlin Bowling
Homes sales numbers continue to rise in 2017
The residential real estate market in the Louisville had a strong year in 2016 and that trend seems to be continuing into 2017.
The number of home and condominiums sold in Jefferson County rose 3.9 percent, to 660 units, in January 2017 compared to January 2016, according to the Greater Louisville Association of Realtors. The average sale price also rose more than 3 percent, to $195,572, last month.
The number of active listings in Louisville remained low, with 20.4 percent fewer listings on Jan. 15, 2017 compared to the same date a year ago.
“The lack of inventory of starter and move-up homes continues to be the dominant story in the Louisville market. Many first-time buyers end up having to make offers on more than one home,” Allison Bartholomew, president of GLAR, said in a news release. “At the same time, the pace of sales in higher price ranges is more normal. Rates have ticked up slightly, but affordability in Louisville is still very good relative to larger cities.”
National Association of Realtors president William E. Brown in the release predicted that home listings would remain low nationwide and competition among homebuyers also would be lessened.
“The prospect of higher mortgage rates and more home shoppers in coming months should be enough of an incentive for those serious about buying to start their search now,” he said. “Buyers may find just the home they’re looking for at a good price and without the possibility of having to outbid others.”
Kentucky reported record home sales numbers in 2016: The number of houses and condominiums sold exceeded 52,000 and more than $9 billion. —Caitlin Bowling
Renovation of Highlands apartment building nearly complete
A remodeled Highlands apartment complex is now accepting rental applications.
Real estate developers Ashley Blacketer and Chad Middendorf bought the 33-unit apartment building at 1204 Bardstown Road last spring for $1.1 million, Insider Louisville reported at the time. The pair planned to renovate the rundown apartments to look similar to their Flats on Frankfort property.
“The Flats on Frankfort have been a great investment,” Middendorf told IL this week. “We feel this is going to be an even more in-demand location.”
The renovations are expected to wrap up in March on the complex, which they’ve renamed Highland Flats, he said. “It was a pretty extensive remodel. It was gutted — all new drywall, new flooring. It was down to the frame.”
Workers also tore down and replaced the balcony of the two-story building, installed a new HVAC system and rewired the property, Middendorf said.
Middendorf said he didn’t yet know what the rental rates for the one-bedroom, roughly 500-square-foot units would be. Blacketer was out of town and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Gant Hill & Associates is leasing the property for Blacketer and Middendorf. —Caitlin Bowling
New sandwich shop opening downtown
A new business is finally moving into the long-empty former J. Gumbo’s spot at South Fifth and Jefferson streets.
Canadian chain restaurant Pita Pit is expected to open soon in the 5,280-square-foot space at 434 W. Jefferson St. It will be the second Pita Pit location in Louisville; the first opened a few years ago on Linn Station Road.
Entrepreneur Sunny Dronawat owns the Pita Pit in the East End but told Insider Louisville that another franchisee, Danny Kidd, is opening the downtown store.
Kidd, a Louisville native, told IL that he moved back to town after living in Jacksonville, Fla. for a decade and had seen the success of Pita Pit locations down there.
“I was looking for something to bring back to the Louisville area that wasn’t saturated already,” he said.
Kidd hopes to open by March 13, he said, and is currently hiring 20 to 25 employees.
While it’s called Pita Pit, the name is a bit of a misnomer. As a former customer during my college years, I’d classify Pita Pit as a sandwich shop, but instead of a white or wheat hoagie, customers chose from white or wheat pita.
Seelbach’s secret tunnels featured on the Science Channel
Legend has it that there are numerous tunnels located beneath Louisville’s downtown, and gangsters like Al Capone took advantage of them on many occasions to escape when the police were near. In fact, the Seelbach Hilton has a private room inside The Oakroom that was reportedly where Capone used to gamble and sneak out a secret door that led into the tunnels.
This legend was the focus of a new Science Channel series called “Secrets of the Underground,” which brought scientist and host Rob Nelson to the Seelbach to investigate the tunnels. You can watch the full episode, which aired Feb. 14, on the Science Channel’s website.
Kentucky Derby Festival partners with Evan Williams for commemorative gold-pin bottles
Kentucky Derby Festival pin collectors can now start adding bourbon to their collections. For the first time ever, KDF has partnered with the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience for a commemorative single barrel bourbon that comes with a gold pin on top.
At a press conference on Thursday, KDF president Mike Berry and KDF chair Lisa Stevenson joined Evan Williams artisanal distiller Charlie Downs at the distillery to hand dip the very first bottles.
The limited-edition release will be available to purchase at the downtown distillery, where you also can now purchase festival pins. Each bottle comes with an additional pin that you can use to get into the many events leading up to the Derby, like Thunder Over Louisville and the Chow Wagon.
The gold pin on top is solely for collecting and can’t be turned in as a real gold pin — you shouldn’t even remove it from the wax, in fact.
The bourbon is proofed at 107, a number the KDF and Evan Williams came up with that signifies the 62 years KDF has been around, plus 45 years the pins have been made.
Berry said there are more than 12,000 gold pins in this year’s batch, so we all have about a one in 20 chance of finding that lucky pot of gold. The pins are now for sale at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, 528 W. Main St., and will be available all around the city in March. The commemorative bottle retails for $74.99. —Sara Havens