Louvino is about to get a sister restaurant.
Louvino is about to get a sister restaurant.

Chad and Lauren Coulter, owners of Louvino (1606 Bardstown Road), plan to build an 8,400-square-foot multi-tenant structure in Middletown that will house a second Louvino and potentially two other foodservice operations.

According to a conditional use permit filed with Metro Government on May 4, the Coulters will locate the building at 11400 Main St. on a 1 acre outparcel overlooking Shelbyville Road. The same lot, located between Blankenbaker Parkway and Watterson Trail, is home to a Beef O’Brady’s, a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, a Starbucks and several other businesses.

Several months after opening Louvino last July, the Coulters began searching for a second location in the East End. According to Chad Coulter, lease terms offered at a pair of sites on Shelbyville Road were unfavorable, so they kept looking.

And after numerous retrofitting problems at their original Louvino location delayed opening by several weeks last year, the Coulters decided to build a new property.

“The more we got into the details of some leases we looked at, the more we wanted to continue being our own landlord,” Chad Coulter said. “And with all the problems we had fixing things in the older building, we’re willing to spend a little extra this time to take some of that pressure off us. Hopefully with a new building, we won’t have to fix anything major for 10 to 15 years.”

Coulter said the new Louvino will occupy 4,000 square feet of the proposed building and include a private dining space for 35. Pharmacists by trade, he said their connections in that industry have encouraged them to include a space in which to host industry meetings. The building also will have a screened 750-square-foot patio for outdoor dining.

The wildly successful wine flight and tapas concept will not change in the new location, but the Coulters may experiment with a few larger, family-style sharable items such as steaks. The only potential tweaks to the wine, bourbon and beer lineup are wine cocktails.

“But we are experimenting some right now with those, so we’ll see how that goes,” Coulter said.

He’d like to rent the two remaining portions of the building to “an independent, local restaurant concept if possible, and maybe an ice cream or gelato shop. But we won’t run either of them. We’d like to deal with an established company.”

The Coulters have signed an agreement to purchase the property, though a closing date is pending as both parties are still in the due diligence phase. If all proceeds according to plan, a late fall groundbreaking will follow with a potential opening in January.

“Of course we don’t want to try and open during December,” Coulter said, referring to the busiest time of year for restaurants. “But we will be conducting some intense staff training for the new restaurant at that time if we’re close to opening.”

Side item: Coulter said the opening of Stout Burgers and Beer, the hamburger-centric operation under construction next to Louvino, likely won’t happen until mid-June. Though installation of equipment and finishing touches are expected to be done this month, permitting is moving slowly, he said.

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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.