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Dishes included smoked gouda tots with blueberry kombucha sauce (pictured at back right) and Spring Toast with seasonal vegetables, a poached egg and ricotta cheese (pictured at back left). | Courtesy of Bluegrass Bebe

Naive, a new restaurant focused on all-natural foods, is ready to blossom following eight months of labor by co-owners Catherine MacDowell and Michael Kerrigan. It opens for dinner at 4 p.m. tomorrow, April 17.

The restaurant, located at 1001 E. Washington St., places a heavy focus on sustainability and food free of antibiotics, additives and anything generally unnatural.

Naive’s cooks “don’t add butter to things you wouldn’t expect them in,” Kerrigan said. “We focus on pulling the full flavor out of the (ingredients) you see.”

Any leftover food will be composted.

“We really take a root-to-stem approach,” MacDowell said.

Co-owners Catherine Mac Dowell and Michael Kerrigan | Courtesy of Bluegrass Bebe

Naive employs 15 people but is looking to double that, as the restaurant expands it hours of operation to include lunch and breakfast service in May. Its hours of operation to start are 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Its menu includes dishes such as the Hippy Circle, sprouted rice with beets, house-made ricotta cheese, carrots and lemon yogurt; mole poblano relleno, a poblano pepper with seasonal roasted vegetables, cheese grits and chimichurri sauce; and Kafta stew, a lamb skewer with chickpeas and chili sweet potatoes. Prices are mostly in the $8-to-$13 range.

“We’ve tweaked every single detail down to the amount of spice on a single item,” MacDowell said, adding that they hope people will come and eat, chat with friends in the lounge seating or work on their laptops at the bar. “We want it to feel really approachable.”

Naive also has a full bar serving coffee and alcoholic drinks. It also will have some prepared foods available for sale if customers are facing a time crunch.

The restaurant buys its produce and meat from a list of more than 50 regional farmers and micro-farmers.

“Microfarmers have the most impact to a city or a community, expanding how local food can be,” MacDowell said.

The owners said they researched other vendors such as beverage providers to make sure the vendors fit into Naive’s sustainability mission.

“What are they doing to help preserve the Earth?” MacDowell said.

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]


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