It looked bleak, to say the least. Jim Goodwin, who started Another Place Sandwich Shop downtown 44 years ago, died in the spring, and the fate of the final remaining location of the once-popular eatery appeared grim.
Not only had the old space at 119 S. Seventh St. gone many years without an update, changes in the wake of Goodwin’s passing saw longtime employees moving on to other jobs. Goodwin’s son Brian finally put a “For Sale” sign in the window of the restaurant.
But sentimentality for his dad’s pet project made him change his mind. Back in June, he brought in friend James Tyler, owner of Diamond Station and former owner of Joe Davola’s, as well as his aunt, Debbie Rose, to give Another Place a makeover.
The overhauled menu and some long overdue aesthetic improvements have cleared the path for a new beginning and a brighter future.
“We’re kind of bringing it back to life,” Goodwin said. “People are really liking it.”
It almost didn’t happen that way. Goodwin was on the fence about selling, but he doesn’t live in town and couldn’t manage it himself. But when he came to visit, he simply felt too close to the restaurant, which feels like you’ve just walked into a Manhattan deli.
But as the year slipped away, with the “For Sale” sign in the window and business falling off, people began to assume Another Place had closed.
“He had it for sale, and I think a lot of people moved on,” Rose said, referring to not just employees but former regulars. “We’ve had a rough year.”
But Goodwin didn’t want his father’s restaurant legacy to die.
The elder Goodwin was best known for his work in real estate, but at one point he owned three Another Place locations. In addition to the downtown spot (originally located at Third and Jefferson streets), there was a location at 1514 Bardstown Road (now Mark’s Feed Store) and one at 2319 Frankfort Ave. (now Irish Rover).
“Dad started it in his 20s, and he ran it forever,” Goodwin said, noting that for a time, live music was a staple at Another Place on Frankfort. “He was pretty heavily involved with it up until the day he died. It was kind of his baby.”
For his part, Tyler is trying to right the ship in terms of food quality. One of his first changes was to get rid of the deli meats and low-quality bread and begin using quality ingredients, cooking meat on site for improved flavor and freshness. He also added several signature salads to the menu, including a Santa Fe — his personal favorite — with mixed greens, corn, black beans, pepperjack cheese, honey lime vinaigrette, pulled chicken and tortilla strips. If you like Thai food, try the Phat Thai Jones, with mixed vegetables, cilantro, chicken, peanuts, and a delicious peanut dressing.
Sandwiches start at $6.75, ranging from a roast beef with horseradish mayo and caramelized onions on wheatberry bread to a California chicken sandwich featuring grilled chicken breast, bacon and avocado. The latter has been a best-seller so far, Tyler said, but don’t sleep on the Reuben, which comes piled with house-roasted, flavorful corned beef on toasted rye.
And Tyler isn’t finished. His plan is to start doing boxed lunches for local businesses, and a point-of-sale system will be installed in the near future.
“They’ve still got a cash register,” Tyler said.
Delivery service is being considered, and hours already have been expanded to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Late-night delivery and service is a possibility for the future, as well.
Meanwhile, the place has been given a complete new paint job, restoring it from a depressing dark green to the business’ signature red and yellow. New décor has been added, including a couple of relics, including a flyer announcing the grand opening of the Seventh Street location in 1983.
Removing blinds from the back of the restaurant has allowed natural light to fill the space, not only giving it a brightness to match its future, but also illuminating the once-dark downstairs dining area. Some people, Tyler said, didn’t even realize there was downstairs seating in the 115-seat business.
“It was a dungeon,” he said.
No more. Not only did Mayor Greg Fischer recently stop in with an official recognition of the restaurant’s many years serving Louisville — the certificate now hangs on the wall in the entryway — but word is beginning to spread online and around the neighborhood. Lunchtimes are now busier than they’ve been in quite a while, Tyler said.
Interestingly, Tyler was sitting on a beach taking a long vacation when Goodwin called him to ask for his help. He came home to get started on the project. Asked why he wanted to take on salvaging a restaurant that had long been in disrepair, he sighed.
“Just the fact he wanted to keep a family legacy going,” he said. “I think we can turn this around. I like a challenge, but I didn’t think it would be too much of a challenge.”
So far, so good.