Non-profit to open kitchen incubator in former Jay’s Cafeteria space, good food to follow

Photo courtesy RunSwitch PR.
Photo courtesy RunSwitch PR.

It’s fitting that a non-profit would open a kitchen incubator in the space that once held Jay’s Cafeteria. Jay’s, which was located in the Russell neighborhood of the West End, was a Louisville institution for decades, and the restaurant was a prime example of how small business can thrive and help bring attention to an often overlooked part of our city.

The non-profit organization Community Ventures will bring resources to new food-related businesses with Chef Space, a kitchen incubator that the group plans to build in the space that once belonged to Jay’s at 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The group announced the project this week. Let’s take a peek at the media release:

Chef Space … will provide commercial kitchen space and business support services for up to 50 food-related early stage businesses. The facility will also house a retail outlet and meeting spaces open to the community. Community Ventures is renovating the 13,000-square-foot site with a late October opening planned as the first phase of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization project.

I’d never heard of a “kitchen incubator” before this announcement. According to the Chef Space website, the incubator will provide a shared, licensed commercial kitchen that early-stage catering, retail and wholesale food entrepreneurs can rent at affordable rates. Chef Space also plans to provide support services, advice and programs to help grow these businesses so they can ultimately move out of the incubator and fulfill the incubator’s goal:

We want to add to Louisville’s already vibrant local food scene by creating a community of like-minded entrepreneurs dedicated to producing top-notch products. We want to help you do better, what you do best.

Chef Space will accommodate as many as 50 food entrepreneurs at a time. Folks who are interested in participating in the program can apply here.

I’m excited to see a new venture take over the Jay’s Cafeteria. But I’m even more excited about what the budding businesspeople who participate in Chef Space will provide for the Russell neighborhood. This project can’t do anything but help the area and our entire city.

It’s cookie time. Have you found your Girl Scout?

I was never a Girl Scout. I blame my brother, who quit Cub Scouts after my mom had bought all the swag. The wasted money sullied any kind of scouting for me.

That absence in my childhood fed my admiration for the Girl Scouts. I’m all for the empowerment of girls — and accessories that display your talents and achievements.

Old-school Girl Scouts. (Flickr Creative Commons)
Old-school Girl Scouts. (Flickr Creative Commons)

Late last year, I became a volunteer for Troop 628 of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana, thanks to my friend Christine. Now, I get to see how powerful it is to teach girls they can do anything. I get to watch girls who are eager to learn new things and not ashamed of that hunger for knowledge.

I also have a good line on where to get some Girl Scout cookies.

Sweet, glorious Girl Scout cookies. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Flickr Creative Commons)
Sweet, glorious Girl Scout cookies. (Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, Flickr Creative Commons)

Buying a box is a lot more than just breaking your New Year’s Resolutions (like you were going to make it past February with those, anyway). We’re raising little entrepreneurs. From Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana’s website:

The Girl Scout cookie program is much more than a fundraiser. It’s a fun way for girls of all ages to earn the money that fuels their dreams. And it’s a powerful, hands-on leadership and entrepreneurial program where girls learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

The Girl Scout cookie program can lead to bigger things for girls in business, in society and in life. Helping girls dream more, have more opportunities and do more than they ever thought possible.

Want to support girls? Just want something to calm that aching sweet tooth? Here’s how you can get your hands on some Girl Scout cookies:

  • You’ll see Girl Scout cookie booths popping up in front of stores around the city Feb. 21 to March 16. A certain awesome troop will be stationed at the Holiday Manor Kroger during the coming weeks. Come say hi and buy a box or two.
  • You can also ask a Girl Scout you know if she’ll take an additional order.
  • There’s a neat Girl Scouts app to lead you to your nearest Girl Scout booth.
  • Remember, cookies are $3.50 a box.
  • On Feb. 26, Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana will host the annual Desserts First fundraising event. Chefs from around Louisville will make desserts using Girl Scout cookies. Click here for more information about the event.

 

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for an important question: What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

It’s cold. We’re cranky. Bring on the delivery guys and gals.

Dressing for this winter weather makes me as miserable as the little squirt from “A Christmas Story.”

Courtesy of moots.com
Courtesy of moots.com

There are tights, socks, pants (preferably corduroy). A tank top, a long-sleeved blouse, a cardigan. Boots, down-feather coat, hat, scarf. Maybe another scarf for good measure. I look like a stuffed sausage by the time I’m fully clothed.

This routine makes me hesitate to venture outside, even to go out to eat. There are new restaurants I still haven’t tried (looking at you, El Camino) and favorite restaurants that I’ve missed (oh, Mussels & Burger Bar, I’ll be back as soon as I thaw) all because the cold brings out my inner curmudgeon.

God bless delivery people.

These folks take it to the streets to deliver the goods to weather wusses like me. I have a genuine admiration for the work they do to bring home a paycheck.

If you hate the cold like me, here are some places to consider for your next night in:

 

Bearno’s/Spinelli’s/Wick’s

Wick's.
A pie from Wick’s.

Oh, pizza. How I love you so. With all those toppings, you dominate the food groups. Bearno’s Pizza and Wick’s Pizza Parlor pile on the toppings Louisville-style with a layer of cheese on top. Depending on your choice of toppings, you might be tempted to eat a slice with a fork and knife (hint: don’t). Spinelli’s Pizzeria operates well through the night and into the morning (delivery until 4:30 a.m.!), should your cravings strike at odd hours.

 

Café Lou Lou

A meatball sandwich with a side of Cajun crisps from Cafe Lou Lou.
A meatball sandwich with a side of Cajun crisps from Cafe Lou Lou.

Maybe the guy who answered the phone that day didn’t realize that my apartment is just slightly out of the delivery area for the Café Lou Lou in St. Matthews. Maybe he took pity on me. Either way, nothing beats a hot meatball sandwich at the door.

    • Café Lou Lou has a location in the Highlands along with the St. Matthews restaurant. Click here for information on delivery.

 

Baby D’s Bagel and Deli/Jimmy John’s

A happy message, courtesy babydsdeli.com.
A happy message, courtesy babydsdeli.com.

Baby D’s “will gladly deliver” its bagel sammiches to Downtown, UofL/Bellarmine Campus, St. Matthews, Clifton, Germantown, Butchertown, and of course, the Highlands,” where the deli is located. I’m not sure how glad Jimmy John’s is to deliver sandwiches, but they’re freaky fast about it.

 

Manhattan Grill

I’ve never visited this downtown eatery. But the dedication of the older gentleman I see delivering breakfast AND lunch to folks in my building makes me want to give this place a try.

    • See a Manhattan Grill menu and order online here.

 

What restaurant do you turn to for delivery?

Take it to the comments!

Bits and Pieces: Horse meat, Zagat listings and other Louisville food news from the web, 3.11.13

Closings

  • The original Highlands Tap Room (next door to Kashmir Restaurant on Bardstown Road) will close after 11 years. The bar’s second location down the street at 1058 Bardstown Road will remain open. (Insider Louisville)

News

Openings

  • A new restaurant called Sidebar Ice House and Grill is set to open in April on Whiskey Row, according to one of the developers of the downtown strip next to the Yum Center. This would bring the number of eateries in the 100 block of West Main Street to five. (Business First of Louisville)

Etc.

Bits and Pieces: Dragon King’s Daughter, Game and other Louisville food news from the web, 2.4.13

Closings

  • John E’s Restaurant and Lounge closed abruptly last week. (WHAS 11)

News

  • “Louisville residents currently spend $100 million annually on local foods and are interested in purchasing an additional $158 million each year, for a total demand of $258 million.” Noted. (Business First of Louisville)

Openings

Why are we so mad about the Taco Punk Kickstarter campaign?

 

 

kickstarter logo
kickstarter logo (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

Taco Punk’s Kickstarter campaign has left a bad taste in the mouths of local foodies.

 

The local Mexican restaurant announced last week on the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter that it’s trying to raise $20,000 to expand operations (I wrote a story about it for WFPL.org that you can read here).

 

The criticism of owner/chef Gabe Sowder for turning to Kickstarter has been pretty thick on social media. After Sowder sent an email to supporters announcing his Kickstarter plans, food blog Eater Louisville wrote a pretty scathing assessment in the post, “Taco Punk’d: NuLu Restaurant Asks for Donations So It Can Keep Selling $10 Taco Platters.” In a point/counterpoint feature on WFPL.org, Kentucky Public Radio intern Rae Hodge (she wrote that Taco Punk review everyone was talking about a while back) said:

 

… when a third-rate taco baron, selling $10 papier-mâché tortillas, starts passing the collection plate while preaching the “Keep Louisville Weird” sermon and serving bad beer, you better believe I take umbrage, particularly when their initial business plan relied on windfall income from unlucky tourists.

Ouch.

 

So why are we so mad at Sowder?

 

Are we big believers in the ups and downs of capitalism? Should we just let the market rather than fundraising determine the fate of a private business?

 

Or is this a bigger issue? Are we a little more harsh toward private enterprises asking for public money in the wake of big government bailouts?

 

Or do we just not like the food at Taco Punk?

 

Late notice: Drink up to help Hurricane Sandy victims

A group of Louisville restaurants and bars will serve up cocktails this week to benefit victim of Hurricane Sandy.

Photo courtesy Farmers & Fishers via Flickr.

A line-up of establishments will serve their version of the Hurricane cocktail during the Hurricanes for the Hurricane fundraiser. Proceeds from the drinks will go toward service industry workers in New York City who were impacted by last week’s hurricane.

Hurricanes for the Hurricane fundraiser begins tonight, Nov. 6, at Decca. Here is the full roster of participants:

 

Visit Hurricanes for the Hurricane’s Facebook page for more information.

Need a place to take pictures of food? Try Studio NuLu

Inside Studio NuLu. Photo courtesy of Studio NuLu.

A pretty cool studio has popped up in the East Market District for serious food bloggers and recipe creators.

Studio NuLu is a 3,600 square foot photography and video production facility. Need to shoot a commercial or take some fancy food photos? Studio NuLu can accommodate you — there’s a full kitchen designed by food stylists.

The folks at Current360, an advertising, marketing and digital agency, created the space. I got to ask Rick Schardein, the president of Current360, some questions about Studio NuLu.

Tell me about why you decided to open this studio.

Current360 handles a number of restaurant clients, as well as a national wine brand.  The need for photography in general, and food photography in particular, were a consistent need for these (and other) clients.  By having access to our own studio, we can better control the photography projects we undertake on behalf of our clients.

Who do you think will use this space?

Whether it’s for food or general photography, quality studio space in this region is in constant demand.  The studio has hosted shoots for several national brands handled by other agencies and directly by photographers.

A shot of Studio Nulu. Courtesy of Current360.

Here is some info about renting the space. If you just want to take a peek inside, Studio NuLu is having an open house next week.

Studio NuLu Open House

When: 5-8 p.m., Nov. 8

Where: 1320 E. Washington Street, Louisville, Ky.

Cost: Free; event includes hors d’oeuvres and professional head shots

RSVP: Email nathan@studionulu.com

5 reasons to visit Please & Thank You, the coffee shop/record store hybrid

Working in coffee shops around Louisville was the best thing about being unemployed.

You recall seeing black woman, black frame glasses, twentysomething-ish, posted up at a table for two, fumbling through a navy blue messenger bag, typing away at worn MacBook? Yep, that was me, surviving on refills and free wifi.

A visit to a coffeehouse was the highlight of my days, which had become filled with wedding planning and job hunting. This was the time I had all to myself to blog, journal and fart around on the Internet.

I became sort of a floozy when it came to which shop to visit. I tried them all. But one quickly became my favorite: Please & Thank You.

Here are six five reasons why you should make a visit to this coffee shop, located at 800 E. Market St. in downtown Louisville:

1. Wrap your mind around Please & Thank You’s concept: coffeehouse/music store. And not just any music store — they sell vinyl, the cornerstone of every hipster/twentysomething/music lover’s collection. On my first visit, it took me less than five minutes to find and buy the album Guess Who’s Comin’ to the Crib? by the 80s R&B group Full Force. Not familiar? Observe this gem:

 

2. Good coffee and good things to put in it. Want cream with your coffee? A barista will hand you an opaque jug from a fridge behind the counter. If brown sugar cubes are your preference, they have those, too. Don’t worry — Splenda and the like is available, too.

3. With a prime location on East Market in the NuLu district, you’re cool just walking in there. I have never been mistaken for someone who is “with it.” Somehow, I manage to feel not as square when I’m in Please & Thank You. I’m on board with where the cool people of Louisville are hanging out.

4. They support The Paper. I’ve had a few articles in the newest addition to Louisville media. They’re readily available at Please & Thank You. ‘Nuff said. (Blogger’s note: The Paper is no longer available here. Sorry for any confusion.)

5. The coffee shop uses social media — well. If you follow Please & Thank You on Twitter, you can
easily find out what the fine employees are serving up for the day. The shop also shares its latest news on Facebook.

6. The pastries = THE BUSINESS. If you’re around me long enough, you will eventually hear me refer to something (usually food) as THE BUSINESS. This is a great compliment that can only be expressed in all caps. It’s also the only way I can describe my love for the baked goods at Please & Thank You. Observe:

December is a good month if you love Subway and Qdoba

Here’s a quickie post to get your Friday going.

  • Subway is offering $2 six-inch sandwiches through December for Customer Appreciation Month. Here’s the catch: the deal only applies to the cold cut combo and the meatball sub.
  • Now through Dec. 11, Qdoba restaurants in Louisville and southern Indiana will offer $5 entrees after 5 p.m. You just have to purchase a soft drink.

Got it? Go forth and have a fantastic Friday.