No, the old Monkey Wrench is not being converted to a coin laundry. V-Grits and False Idol Independent Brewers will still convert it to a restaurant and brewery, but on Friday, there’s a “parking lot party” to kick things off early. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

The forthcoming V-Grits brick-and-mortar restaurant won’t be open until at least July, but the owners are getting a jump on things with a parking lot party on Friday, May 11.

There won’t be any sneak peeks into the space, says V-Grits co-owner Kristina Addington, because renovations are ongoing, but she reports the process is going well. The building had for many years been home to the popular bar and music venue The Monkey Wrench. The bar closed last spring.

“We wish it were going a lot faster, but we’re excited to show people the complete transformation,” Addington says of the construction. “It looks like a whole different space. The Monkey Wrench was kind of a dark space, but we’re making it feel bright and clean and open. We took some walls down. It feels like a whole new place.”

The restaurant will share the space with a brewery, False Idol Independent Brewers. The brewery also is in the process of being built out and may or may not be ready by the time the restaurant opens.

If not, local beer will be served while the brewery gets up and running.

The event on Friday will feature the food truck, along with local craft beer from Akasha Brewing Co. and snowballs from SnowWhat. The V-Grits food truck will serve a few items from the planned restaurant menu, including a brand-new dish: a vegan take on the Hot Brown.

Look for the popular V-Grits cheeseburger mac and cheese on Friday. | Courtesy of V-Grits

The Hot Brown will be an open-faced biscuit with pimento cheese grits, housemade vegan turkey, vegan Gouda cheese, coconut bacon and roasted cherry tomatoes.

“This is something we’ve been really excited to test out,” Addington says. Other items that will be available on Friday are a turkey Gouda melt, V-Grits’ popular cheeseburger mac and cheese, and a Greek salad.

Asked if the menu was complete, Addington says it is — and then some.

“We need to cut it by about half,” she says, chuckling. She then explained that the menu would undergo testing, and that a core final menu will likely be accented by rotating specials. Until the restaurant is open, she says, dishes will continue to be tested by way of the food truck.

Humorously, in the process of renovating the space, an unexpected development happened.

“We took the old awning down and — surprise — the coin laundry sign was there from so many years ago,” says Addington.

The sudden switch from The Monkey Wrench branding to a laundromat that has been closed for well over a decade confused a few people. Addington promises that the much-anticipated restaurant and brewery is not going to include laundry services.

She does say that even after the business opens, parking lot parties such as the one on Friday will still happen. But there won’t be a reveal for this first one — no peeks at the progress that has been made on the space.

“We want it to kind of be a surprise when it’s all finished,” she says.

The event is 5-8 p.m. and is kid- and dog-friendly. Tables and chairs well be set up for dining. The future V-Grits is located at 1025 Barret Ave.

Kevin Gibson covers everything from food to music to beer to bourbon. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he co-hosts a local radio show and plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Check out his blog, 502Brews.com, or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.


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