The Root Mobile: The latest Louisville Kickstarter project worth your donation

 

The owner of The Root Cellar has worked hard to bring farm-fresh, local food to Louisville, and now he wants to take his market to the streets.

Ron Smith, founder of The Root Cellar food markets, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for the creation of The Root Mobile. Ron’s goal is “to transform an old bus into a mobile market bringing our farm fresh food to the people who have the least access to it.”

The Root Cellar is located in two brick-and-mortar locations — the original store at Third and Hill streets in Old Louisville and the corner of Kentucky and Swan streets in Germantown. So why put produce on wheels? Here are some of Ron’s objectives:

• increase the access to local foods in our community by taking The Root Mobile to neighborhoods called food deserts

• raise awareness for the need to change the paradigm of food delivery

• create a new business opportunity for The Root Cellar

• provide input into those areas of the South/West Ends of Louisville that would best support a permanent location for a third store

I regularly shopped at The Root Cellar when it first opened in 2011 and I lived right around the corner. Ron is not only one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but he really cares about the community and the ability to access local food. I’m happy to see that he has taken on this project, and I happily pledged my support on Kickstarter.

As of Thursday night, The Root Mobile has raised $4,833 toward the big $10,000 goal. The project needs to raise the money by April 29 to be funded. If you’re interested in contributing to The Root Mobile, visit the Kickstarter page here

Event: Grind’s first birthday party at the Old 502 Winery, 4.5.13

The food truck Grind has grown from a Kickstarter project to one of the most popular places in the area to get a burger.

Liz and Jesse Huot, the couple behind the burgers, will celebrate their first anniversary with a party from 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the Old 502 Winery (formerly River Bend Winery) in downtown Louisville. This also coincides with the First Friday Trolley Hop, so the good times and wine will indeed roll.

Word on Grind’s Facebook page is that there will be an extra special burger for the evening called The Anniversary, “our delicious 1/3# custom-blended burger topped with seared Stone Cross Farms pork belly, sauteed kale, Boone Creek Creamery gruyere cheese with a Spanish paprika aioli.” I don’t even know where to begin with that description.

Grind’s First Anniversary Party

When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 5 (food served from 6-8 p.m. only)

Where: Old 502 Winery, 120 S. 10th Street, Louisville

More information: Facebook event page

Bits and Pieces: Comfy Cow, Havana Rumba and other Louisville food news for the web, 2.25.13

News

  • The owners of Comfy Cow plan to expand their ice cream shop by franchising in the region. As a fan of their seasonal sweet potato casserole ice cream, I approve wholeheartedly. (Business First of Louisville, Insider Louisville)
  • Taco Punk, the NuLu restaurant Mexican restaurant that launched a Kickstarter campaign, did not reach its $20,000 fundraising goal. No word on what’s next for the restaurant. (Eater Louisville)

Openings

  • More official news about Havana Rumba‘s new “express” concept restaurant. Havana Rumba Express & Tapas Bar will open in Douglass Loop at 2210 Bardstown Road in the space formerly occupied by Desserts by Helen and Mucho Queso. Owners are still in the planning stages, but this is an opening worth keeping an eye on. (Consuming Louisville)
  • New coffee shop alert: Kaelin’s Coffeehouse, 1801 Newburg Road. (Consuming Louisville)
  • A Detroit-style pizza parlor called Loui Loui’s will open in Jeffersontown next month at the former Ferd Grisanti’s building, 10212 Taylorsville Road. Check out Insider Louisville’s article for more information about this style of the popular dish. (Insider Louisville)

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?

 

Menu and Hours, a Louisville restaurant app, available on iTunes

Michelle Jones, the woman behind the blog Consuming Louisville and Let Them Tweet Cake meet-ups, has launched her long-awaited, Louisville-restaurant-centric iPhone app, Menu and Hours.

Here’s what the iTunes store has to say about it:

Menu and Hours is a beautiful, easy to use app with all the information you want about restaurants and none of the frustration of restaurant websites. No PDFs, no flash, just the food menus, operating hours, location and contact information for over 90 independent restaurants in the Louisville, Kentucky area.

Full disclosure 1: I’m friends with Michelle, and I supported this app during Michelle’s Kickstarter campaign that launched the creation of this app.

Full disclosure 2: I’m an Android user, but I supported the creation of this iPhone app. That’s how much I believe in what Michelle created for Louisville. This city has been missing a simple, useful, Flash-free resource for getting the basic information about local restaurants.

Download this app from your friendly neighborhood iTunes store. It’s $2.99. Support a fellow Louisville lover.

A gourmet burger food truck is coming to Louisville. Excuse me while I squeal with glee.

Congratulations to Liz and Jesse Huot, a Louisville couple who have reached their fundraising goal for Grind, a food truck that will serve gourmet burgers beginning this spring.

Like other folks who are doing big things in Louisville, Liz and Jesse used Kickstarter to raise money for their project. They surpassed their pledge goal of $5,500, but you still have just more than a week to submit a pledge.

Why should you pledge, even though Grind has already met its goal?

In talking with Consuming Louisville’s Michelle Jones, who navigated the Kickstarter waters, I found out that well-intentioned pledges sometimes don’t go through. And as the daughter of a small-business owner, I understand the importance of having some extra start-up dough on hand, just in case.

So give if you can. If not, visit Grind when it rolls out this spring. GOURMET BURGERS, PEOPLE.

Help a sister out and tell your favorite restaurant about Menu and Hours

Good news: Michelle Jones got the funding she needed to get the Menu and Hours app up and running.

Less-than-good news: Some restaurants don’t understand why they should have their information on this app.

Let’s do a quick recap: Michelle, aka the mind behind Consuming Louisville, Let Them Tweet Cake and just about anything else awesome, raised money through the website Kickstarter to start development of an iPhone app called Menu and Hours. The name says it all — this app will provide the menu, hours, contact information and location for Louisville restaurants (read more about it here).

But some restaurant owners don’t quite get Menu and Hours, Michelle says.

It seems like there is a bit of suspicion about new technologies and a bit of disbelief that I’m not trying to charge them to participate. When I go in to speak to a restaurant owner that I don’t know there is a wall that comes up. I’m sure they get pitched by salespeople all the time, so their uneasiness speaking to me (not to mention I’m interrupting their already busy day) makes sense but sometimes it’s really hard to breach that wall.

For you supporters who want to see Menu and Hours up and running, don’t get huffy at these restaurants — get friendly. Go to your favorite restaurant and tell them why they should have their menu and hours on a legit app. Send them to this website so they can be included in an app that I strongly believe will help steer Louisville eaters to the best local joints in the city.

Get out there. Make your voices heard. Occupy a table or two. But be nice about it.

Louisville restaurant info + iPhone app + Michelle Jones = Kickstarter project of awesomeness

“We’re hungry and we have questions.”

Michelle Jones, publisher of Consuming Louisville, a friend of this blog and a gift to the city of Louisville, is in the process of developing an iPhone app called Menu and Hours. This app will provide basic information to users about Louisville restaurants: location, hours, menus and contact information. No flash, no PDFs, no annoying Muzak — just the basics of what you need to know to find some good dinner.

Michelle needs some help getting this program off the ground, so she has turned to Kickstarter to raise $6,000 to pay for a programmer and graphic designer to get the app created. If this isn’t a project worth backing, I don’t know what is. Michelle has done a lot for the city of Louisville through her blog, her involvement in the Louisville Digital Association and her creation of Let Them Tweet Cake. On a personal note, Michelle has been a great friend and helped me dive into the Louisville blog scene when I moved back to town.

Why don’t we give back to someone who truly loves this city and the people in it?

As it is with other Kickstarter projects, there are different giving levels and gifts that come with each pledge to Menu and Hours, and no money comes out of your account if Michelle’s $6,000 goal is not met. Menu and Hours’ Kickstarter page addresses issues you might want to know about before donating, such as Android availability and restaurant participation.

If you want to make Menu and Hours a reality, click here to visit the Kickstarter page. You have 25 days, readers. Let’s do this.

The Waffle & Crepe Co. needs your help to bring European-style street food to Louisville

Remember that time when we as Louisvillians united and exclaimed to the world, “We want a vegan food truck, dangit!” and shelled out some money to prove it?

It’s time to do it again.

The Waffle & Crepe Co., which has made appearances at events such as the St. Matthews Farmers’ Market and Buy Local Fair, is using Kickstarter to raise money to expand the business. Creator Natasha Krider wants to establish a permanent location to serve sweet and savory waffles and crepes at the building that houses Moby Dick at 1500 Mellwood Avenue.

Here’s where you guys come in. Natasha needs to raise $12,000 by July 3. Here’s a blurb from a press release about what the money will go toward:

The funds will be used to refresh the former neighborhood icon by painting the exterior of the building to include a mural inspired by Alice Waters, replacing the roof, adding landscaping and a garden, creating new signage, and establishing more usable patio space.

And here’s some info about what the eatery will serve:

The Waffle & Crepe Co.’s local-centric, seasonal menu will showcase Kentucky Proud products and bring the taste of European street food to Louisville. Along with crepes and waffles, the restaurant will feature smoothies, coffee from Red Hot Roasters, and gelato.

Natasha is using Kickstarter to raise money, much like Stanley did with Morels Food Truck. As of Friday, she had raised $2,970, and she’s trying to raise $12,000 by July 3.

We don’t have much time, folks, so head on over to Kickstarter and donate money to Natasha’s cause. She’ll also through in some pretty nice gifts for your contribution (chocolate-dipped waffle crisps, anyone?). And just like other Kickstarter projects, money won’t come out of your account until the goal is met.

If we can bring a vegan food truck to Louisville, surely we can help get this waffle and crepe business a home.

Abbey Road on the River had great eats and good tunes

The reason why a medley of Beatles songs has been going through my head all day.

If the early bird gets the worm, the late bird gets heatstroke.

That was nearly my punishment Monday for attending Abbey Road on the River on the last day of the Beatles-inspired riverfront festival. Had I attended in an earlier day, I could have escaped the 90-degree temperatures that crept into the city and seem here to stay.

Despite the sun’s rays bouncing off of the Ohio River and the film of sweat covering my body, I had a great time at Abbey Road on the River, which is celebrated its 10th year during the Memorial Day weekend. And the selection of local food made the festival even better.

Of course, there were plenty of food stands typically seen at fairs that sold an assortment of fried foods (someone even battered and deep-fried a corn on the cob). But Louisville eateries made a strong appearance.

I was thrilled to see Morels Food Truck, a Kickstarter project created by a local chef specializing in vegan food.

In case there was any question of whether Morels Food Truck serves vegan food.

Then there was Lil Cheezers, a “gourmet grilled cheesemobile” that I have been following on Twitter.

Cheese makes everything better.

Other restaurants also made appearances at the festival, such as Dish on MarketFireFresh BBQ and Bendoya Sushi Bar.

I’m glad there was such an effort to make local restaurants and food trucks a part of the annual festival. Local food is an excellent companion to the Fab Four.

Here’s hoping the humidity will stay home next year.