The-Blind-Pig-front
The now-defunct Blind Pig

We’re talkin’ sue, not soooey! Owners of the shuttered Blind Pig restaurant are suing their former business partner Peyton Ray, who operated Meat, the clever cocktail lounge located above the restaurant.

According to WDRB.com, the laundry list of offenses of which Ray is accused includes breach of contract, interference with business relationships and not meeting his fiduciary duties as the restaurant’s business partner. Relative to Meat, Ray is accused of writing checks to himself, using Meat’s business debit card, and taking cash for personal use.

Long-simmering bitterness between the two parties boiled over in the Butchertown restaurant after the Alcoholic Beverage Commission questioned Meat’s use of The Blind Pig’s liquor license to operate last year.

In the months that followed, Ray cleverly bought the Blind Pig’s space and, as accused in the lawsuit, refused to accept rent checks from Blind Pig co-owner Joe Frase. The complicated matter resulted in the Pig’s financial slaughter and ultimate closure.

610 Magnolia in Old Louisville
610 Magnolia in Old Louisville

Out of the spotlight, into the kitchen: Edward Lee, chef and co-owner of 610 Magnolia, recently told Eater Louisville he’s working to revamp not only the menu at the famed restaurant, but tweak the dining experience, too.

Arguably the city’s most widely recognized celebrity chef says he not only wants to shake things up for his own excitement, but that he owes it to the restaurant’s eccentric founder, Ed Garber, to innovate. The nod to the restaurant’s founder is both cool and a signal some serious creativity is on the way.

Garber sold the restaurant to Lee in 2003 when Lee took a vacation from his New York City restaurant to visit the Kentucky Derby. When he couldn’t get a reservation at 610—and who could back then if you didn’t know Garber’s often secretive operating hours?—he called Garber to see if he could join him in the kitchen. (Yep, that’s often how chefs have fun. Cooking at other’s kitchens isn’t the same as working in theirs.)

The men became friends, and Garber offered Lee the chance to buy him out. Lee resisted at first, but eventually Garber won him over. And the rest, as they say, is culinary history.

VIP tix gone, but G-A passes for Bourbon Classic still available: General admission tickets for the Bourbon Classic are still available if you’d like to join this great gathering of distillers, whiskey wonks, spirits writers and fans of our state’s native drink. Held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the event begins Friday at 7:30 p.m. and runs until 10. Activities resume Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.

One can safely imagine that attendees will, perhaps unsafely, spill onto the streets of downtown in search of bars where even more tippling will follow.

Click here to get tickets or call 800-775-7777. You can buy separate tickets for Friday or Saturday or buy a package at a modest discount.

ficlogo Parked for good: No more ban mi and poutine from the French Indo-Canada Food Truck. Melissa Chipman, my colleague at IL, shared the bad news with me a few days ago that the truck will cease rolling this week. That means the end of the best poutine she’s ever had, which makes her mouth sad.

According to the FICFT Facebook page, its last day in operation will be this Sunday at Seidenfaden’s Cafe (1134 East Breckinridge St.) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The au revoir menu will be posted later this week.

The chicken gets plucked again: KFC corporate reluctantly admitted that it’s in the middle of another employee pare-down that’s rumored to claim hundreds of jobs.

Why? The company claims it’s doing all it can to improve its performance and business efficiencies, which reflects what, sadly, everyone knows about the historic chain: It’s not performing well and can’t seem to improve it. Click here for the story.

They get StarChefs in their eyes: Louisville restaurant watchers will, that is.

As we reported this week, StarChefs.com, a New York City-based online magazine for culinary insiders, has announced its 2014 Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Stars Awards nominees, which honors up-and-coming chefs, culinary professionals (including front-of-the-house folks, such as bartenders and sommeliers), and food and beverage artisans who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene.

Several locals in the culinary community were nominated, and for the first time since I began covering this scene 23 years ago, no one appears to be disputing a contest’s nominations. Not only have a few chefs I’ve spoken with said StarChefs’ choices were dead on, one even said, “I had no misgivings that mine were going to be nominated. I know who’s the best in this area. I’m proud of those who were nominated.”

That’s the spirit!

Long story short is StarChefs is a bigger deal than most locals know. While not as large scale or widely known as the James Beard Awards, StarChefs focuses its Rising Star Awards on either a single large market, such as New York or San Francisco, or a cluster of smaller markets (in this case, Louisville, Nashville and Memphis) to highlight the work of young masters of the culinary and beverage trades.

Unlike the Beard Awards, which relies heavily on food and beverage media to nominate local faves, StarChefs visits markets it reports on and does the tasting for itself. It’s a labor-intensive, palate-deadening and gut-busting task, but it largely eliminates accusations that anyone played favorites. That gives it high regard in the restaurant community.

Seviche was chosen to host all nominees for a private party on Feb. 24, when peers can have time together rather than with the public.

The Muhammad Ali Center will host a public gathering and award ceremony on Feb. 25, where attendees can taste an extensive array of the foods and drinks for which the nominees have become locally famous. It’ll be a dandy do!

General admission is $85 per person. VIP tickets are $115 and include a private VIP reception with champagne and Petrossian caviar, beginning at 5:45 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.starchefs.com/risingstars.

1457673_605218769538444_1068385241_nA ‘Flood’ of new beer: Great Flood Brewing is drawing closer to its hoped-for late February or early March opening at 2120 Bardstown Road, next to the Douglass Loop.

As we reported last year, owners Matt Fuller, Vince Cain and Zach Barnes were serious home brewers before deciding to turn pro and build a taproom to serve what they believe is the far-from-sated craft brew demand in Louisville.

According to a message I received from Cain, “Construction is 90 percent complete and … we will be brewing our first batches this week, so we are expecting to have eight original brews on tap the day we open.”

Ideally, Cain said, GFB hopes to give beer fans a preview of its goods at the Tailspin Ale Fest at Bowman Field on Feb. 22.

And up from the dead comes some old beer: Sterling Beer is coming back to retailers’ shelves. Seriously, Baby Boomers, I’m not kidding. It really is.

The once truly dreadful but irresistibly affordable Sterling began appearing locally on tap about a year ago, and now “The King of Hangovers,” as it was known in the ’70s, is beginning to populate local liquor store shelves.

But here’s the good news: As happened with the formerly awful Falls City Beer, which we only drank during quarter bounce games ‘cause it was free, Sterling’s new owners gave the beer an all-new recipe that actually tastes good and capitalizes on the brand’s heritage. According to a Business First piece, Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington, Ind. (I loves me some Upland brews!) is making the beer and canning it in one-pint cans. In a nod to the old Sterling Big Mouth bottles, the new cans have unusually large openings.

01-burgerMore burger chains on the menu: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, a fast-casual, “better burger” chain, announced it’s eyeing Louisville as a franchise market. The Dallas-based chain has 56 units nationally and wants to grill its MOOYAH meat patties in Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Fort Collins, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; and Lexington, Kentucky.

I’ve written about MOOYAH a few times for trade publications, and the concept appears sound and its food good. Whether we need another burger chain here is a matter of debate that’ll be settled at the cash register.

Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

Leave a Reply