The Over the 9 dining room | Photo by Steve Coomes
The Over the 9 dining room | Photo by Steve Coomes

New hours at Over the 9: Apparently business is doing fine at Over the 9. This week, it’s expanding operating hours to Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight, and Saturday, noon to midnight.

The restaurant recently hosted its first After Midnight Dinner for night owls who want big grub late in the evening, but not at Waffle House (which I love). The next is scheduled for Sept. 5-6, as seating begins at 11:45 p.m., followed by a five-course meal starting at 12:30 a.m. Cost is $50 for dinner and $25 more for alcoholic beverage pairing.

Executive chef Griffin Paulin will be joined by Village Anchor Pub sous chef Ming Pu in the kitchen, and Meta mixologist Jeremy Johnson will provide cocktails.

Pre-order tickets by clicking here, or show up and see if there are any seats open.

Artesano opening delayed until October: Here’s proof that even the Martinez family isn’t immune to restaurant opening delays. The owners of Guaca Mole, Mussel & Burger Bar, El Taco Luchador and Cena will not, as hoped — by them and us — open Artesano Vino, Tapas y Mas this month in Westport Village. According to Fernando Martinez, the unveiling will happen the first week in October.

Artesano will open in October. | Courtesy of Design + Architects
Artesano will open in October. | Courtesy of Design + Architects

“I’m really fine with that, because it gives us more time to train and hire the right people,” he said. “Not everybody spends the amount of time training people like we do. It’s how we’ve done it for a long time.”

And just in case you want to be trained by them, the Ole Restaurant Group is hosting a job fair next week at Mussel & Burger Bar. One early in the day (Monday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.), one later for people who work days (Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2-7 p.m.). Artesano will need to hire 60 employees, Martinez said.

Martinez also said that plans to open a second MB&B on Whiskey Row have been scrapped due to the recent fire there.

“It would push our opening back to 2017, and that’s too long for us to wait,” he said. “We have another site downtown where we want to go, but we can’t talk about where due to (a non-disclosure agreement).”

Summer Pig PickingSummer Pig Pickin’ at Corbett’s: If you’ve not had your share of slow roasted heritage breed hog this summer, then make your reservation for a seat at Corbett’s this Thursday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. Guest chef Shawn Ward (Ward 426) will join house chefs Dean Corbett, Jeff Dailey and Michael Dunbar in roasting a 120-pound Tamworth pig in a la caja china. Last year, chef Fernando Martinez turned the men onto the tool, which essentially is a compact, metal-lined wooden crate that holds hot coals either above or below the food being slow roasted.

Check out the graphic to see the extensive menu and understand that the $50 price (tax and gratuity not included) is a bargain for what you get. Call 327-5058 to reserve your spot.

 

Maker’s Mark Delectable Distillery Tour: On Sept. 17, APRON will host its third annual Delectable Distillery Tour at Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Ky. I tagged along last year just to report on the event, and believe me, it was first rate, classy and tasty. If you need a splurge this quarter, this qualifies.

This year, chefs Anoosh Shariat (Anoosh Bistro), John Plymale (Porcini), Michael Crouch (Bistro 1860), Joshua Moore (Volare Italian Ristorante) and Dean Corbett (Corbett’s, Equus and Jack’s Lounge) will prepare Maker’s-inspired dishes, while bartenders Matthew Landan (Haymarket Whiskey Bar), Jason Cobler (Harvest), Felicia Corbett (Varanese) and Jason Stark (Martini Italian Bistro) will prepare cocktails made from Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Mark Cask Strength bourbons.

Maker'sMark
Dinner at the Maker’s Distillery | Courtesy of Maker’s Mark

If you’ve toured Maker’s Mark, you know it’s one of the most gorgeous stops on the Bourbon Trail. But if you’ve been only in the daytime, you now have an excuse to return and see its evening beauty all aglow and get a fantastic progressive dinner for a great cause.

Tickets cost $125 to $150. That extra $25 gets you a round-trip bus ride from Louisville, which is well worth it, but seats are limited. If you want to drive yourself, plug this address into your GPS (3350 Burks Spring Road, Loretto, KY 40037) and expect valet parking at the distillery.

Since the dinner is progressive and served at multiple points through the Maker’s Mark campus, there are eight staggered seatings beginning at 5:40 p.m. and following every 20 minutes after that until 8 p.m. (Bus riders will be seated during the 7:40 and 8 p.m. cycles.)

All proceeds from the event go to support APRON Inc., a nonprofit that helps employees of independent restaurants facing health or financial crises.

Dress for the event is cocktail wear. Click here to register.

Chef change at Wild Rita’s: Andrew Buntain has replaced Tony Efstratiadis as the executive chef at Wild Rita’s. Efstratiadis recently moved to Oregon to open his own restaurant.

Couldn’t see the beer for the brewing tanks: Sometimes you have to share a good story … During a recent bartending class I’ve been taking, Sam Cruz, one of four partners at Against the Grain Brewing, told the story of how the quartet wound up in their Slugger Field location. The men had visited multiple sites in Louisville, but none seemed like a good fit for renter or landlord. They had funding, but not the seven-figure wad they’d need to build a brewery from the ground up, and they were at their wits end about where to go next.

Against the Grain growlerDistraught, the men stopped for a beer and a bite at Browning’s, the restaurant and brewery that preceded ATG. Bemoaning their lack of success as they ate and drank, one of the men caught a glance at the gleaming copper and stainless steel brewing tanks on the wall opposite them and thought, “What about this place? It sure isn’t very busy here.”

As Cruz tells it, they called then-owner Anoosh Shariat to gauge his interest in selling the operation. He said he was, and named his price. It was lower than the men were going to offer, and so they countered with an even lower offer, which Shariat accepted.

“To have come to this place and set up a brewery and restaurant would have cost way over a million dollars,” Cruz said. “Funny how things work out.”

Copper & Kings to release Stray Cat Gin: Surely every entrepreneur wants to grow up to be Joe and Lesley Heron. The founders of Copper & Kings American Brandy prove nearly weekly that they get to make what they want, when they want and then throw a party to celebrate its release.

Next Friday, Aug. 28, the brandy, absinthe and soda house will release Stray Cat Gin, an apple brandy-based spirit made with classic gin botanicals and aged in a medium-char Serbian juniper barrel for 12 months.

Distilling geek alert: According to a news release, it “is non-chill filtered and unadulterated by any post distillation infusion of flavor or color.” You’ll know what that means when you see it.

Stray Cat Gin 375 Cutout“Gin is not really our thing, truthfully,” Joe Heron said in a news release. “But we have experimented occasionally, and this turned out really fantastically.”

Heron said the apple-brandy base gives a natural Old Tom-style flavor profile to the gin. (Old Tom is coming back, and most serious cocktail bars here carry at least one rendition, so try it sometime. They are sweeter and fuller-bodied gins first made in the 1700s.)

The tasting notes on this 94 proof beaut include “strong juniper backbone with bright citrus, lemongrass and baking soda. The bitter-sweet Old Tom style is racy and fresh. Finish is crisp, silky smooth, and viscous with a creamy mouthfeel. Appearance is unusually cloudy and creamy, and it bears aromas of fresh cut spruce with juniper and citrus, as if pine trees bore oranges as fruit.”

Cost is $40 per 375mL bottle. The most affordable way to taste it would be to come to the party and pony up the $10 admission. Expect some good snacks with your tastes, too.

Origin of the Stray Cat name, you ask? I assumed it had to do with the stray cats nearly every distillery seems to have on hand, but those are for chasing mice out of grain, which they don’t have at a brandy distillery. According to Heron, “stray” is how they regarded the lone barrel of gin aging in a cellar crammed full of brandy.

“(S)o we called it the Stray Cat,” Heron added. And as you might expect, he added the obvious rock ‘n’ roll connection for which the brand is known. “We also have a very strong affection for Brian Setzer.”

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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.