All posts by Ron Mikulak

Comings & Goings

As we sit down to assess the state of the local restaurant world this issue, we see that we have passed a milestone — our total listings at the back of the magazine top 1,400 Louisville area restaurants for the first time. We have tallied more openings than closings in each issue for four straight years. (The last negative tally was Spring of 2014, when two more businesses closed than new restaurants opened.) As we look back on the entire year in 2017, we noted 103 openings opposed to 52 closings – almost 2 to 1. And the torrid pace of new dining options continues into 2018. In this issue, we note more total openings (new stand-alone businesses and additional locations of existing restaurants) than we listed in any single issue in 2017 – a total of 34 new places to eat. Continue reading Comings & Goings

Ramiro’s Express opens today in J’ville

Ramiro Gandara, a long-time restaurateur who has been involved with Mexican restaurants on both sides of the Ohio, is opening his second restaurant today, in Jeffersonville, at 253 Spring St. Ramiro’s Cantina Express will feature dishes such as burritos, chicken bowls, nachos, tortas and tacos. The new restaurant will have a  full bar too.

His full-service restaurant, Ramiro’s Cantina, at 2330 Frankfort Ave. has been a popular dining destination in Clifton for several years. His new restaurant on the Sunny Side of the river is an order-at-the-counter quick casual spot serving Gandara’s favorite dishes from his larger full-service restaurant.

Celebrate  Repeal Day at Varanese tonight

Marking the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition has become an annual event around town, with many bars offering specials to commemorate the United States returning to its senses after a disastrous experiment of social engineering. Tonight, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m., Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave., goes all-out with a grand Repeal Day dinner, partnering with Old Forester and  featuring guest speaker Todd Vice of Kentucky Spirits to talk about the history of the national experiment in dry living, and his choices for Bourbon pairings with the 4-course dinner.

The Reception Cocktail will be a Smoked Pineapple Bourbon Cocktail, followed by the first course of lump crab cake with lettuce salad served with a mustard dijonnaise, The first course will be accompanied by tastings of Old Forester 86, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester Statesman and Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbons.

The second course will be a frisée salad with confit butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds and goat cheese, with a maple-bourbon vinaigrette.

The third course, fried quail served over buttermilk waffles with a sunnyside-up egg and braised greens, will be paired with a Bourbon Rouge cocktail.

The dessert cocktail with be Old Forester Pear Cocktail, and the dessert will be spiced apple crumb cake with Bourbon caramel frosting and cinnamon marshmallow ice cream.

The dinner and Bourbon pairings will be $60. Calling (502) 899-9904 or email letsdine@varanese.com.

Holiday Champagne dinner at Brasserie Provence

Brasserie Provence, 150 N.Hurstbourne Pkwy., will host its fourth annual 5-course Holiday Champagne Dinner on Thursday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. Advanced Level Sommelier Julie DeFriend from Vintner Select will be on hand to discuss her selections of a reserve sparkling wine, three unusual Champagnes and a Champagne liqueur served with dessert. Continue reading Holiday Champagne dinner at Brasserie Provence

Local boy hits it big in NYC restaurant world

Louisville native Akhtar Nawab is one of the featured chefs in the November online feature of Food and Wine magazine in which immigrant chefs celebrate Thanksgiving with their families,  with their own mixture of ethnic and American foods and rituals. The article, found here online, includes a video of Nawab and his mother talking about his life-long interest in making food, and his family’s at first grudging acceptance of his decision to cook for a living. Continue reading Local boy hits it big in NYC restaurant world

Buy Christmas cookies; help educate a chef

Saturday, Dec. 2, from 1-5 p.m.,  Les Dames d’Escoffier Kentucky will host the organization’s third annual holiday bake sale at Ramsi’s Café, 1293 Bardstown Rd. All proceeds from the sale, which will offer both sweet and savory holiday treats, will benefit LDEIKY’s scholarship fund.

Items available, baked by local celebrated chefs, skilled bakers, and LDEIKY members, include homemade cookies, breads, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, scones, pies, and much more. Shoppers can start their holiday shopping at the bake sale, and then join in the season’s festivities at Bardstown Road Aglow. Continue reading Buy Christmas cookies; help educate a chef

Science Hill opens again – and adds a pub

We reported earlier that Science Hill Inn had closed due to an illness in the McCarty family that had run the restaurant. We are now happy to report that the renowned Shelbyville restaurant is opened again, under new ownership, with a new name and new kitchen crew. In addition, a small pub at the rear of the restaurant has been resurrected, and is serving food and drinks in the evenings. Continue reading Science Hill opens again – and adds a pub

Varanese re-creates Beard House dinner

Monday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., chef/restaurateur John Varanese will recreate the dishes he and his staff prepared for James Beard House dinners in 2012 and 2017. The dinner, served with top wines from Grgich Hills Estates, will be at Varanese’s River House Restaurant and Raw Bar, 3015 River Rd. Continue reading Varanese re-creates Beard House dinner