Saturday, November 01, 2008

Plucking a few items of beery interest from LEO's annual dining issue.

LEO Weekly’s annual dining issue appeared last Wednesday. For once, we actually ran an ad.

The ad, designed by John Campbell, is intended at least in part as an homage to Tony Beard (left, drinking, with Jared Williamson at right).

Tony has departed NABC for an extended stay in New Zealand, where he'll be traveling with his friend Kallie Crume (another valued NABC employee) and eventually setting up shop to resume his duties as in-house resident graphic artist (from afar). Truly, a world wired for Internet is a boon. Thanks again , Al Gore. The first pint's on the Publican.


Wednesday's LEO also was the occasion for my twice-monthly Mug Shots article, which I devoted to the devastating news that one of my favorite Copenhagen pubs is gone.

RIP Mouse & Elephant

It is my sad duty to inform Kentuckiana that the Mouse & Elephant has closed. It is now a former pub, and that’s too bad.

According to my Danish friends, the local economy can’t be blamed for the M & E’s disappearance. Rather, the closing pertains to discord within the owning family, and it's a useful reminder that in bad or good times, it's the way the business is run that matters most.


But of course money, or the absence of it, matters. Accordingly, LEO's dining issue featured an excellent article by Marsha Lynch, a fine writer and the much esteemed pastry chef at Louisville's Cafe Lou Lou, who explores the “hard times we're in” angle, Kentuckiana-style:

On the cutting board.

Chef David Clancy is unemployed again. In the fall of 2007, he was forced to give up his dream and close his beloved Bistro New Albany on East Market Street in downtown New Albany. Since then, he has taken at least three positions, the most recent at The Speakeasy on State Street a few blocks away from his old digs. On Friday, the word was out: The Speakeasy would also be closing as of this weekend.

Another old friend, Andrew Hutto of Baxter station, made good points about prices for alcoholic beverages.

A recent National Restaurant Association newsletter said that this year, more than ever, concentration on drink specials to drive traffic is garnering some success. But the prices of spirits and beers have gone up dramatically, according to Andrew Hutto of Baxter Station and co-founder of the Louisville Originals (an association of independent restaurants in the Metro area).

“I think one of the biggest mistakes we’ve all made as independents is we spend so much time trying to keep prices low — can’t raise prices, can’t raise prices — ’til your back’s to the wall and your only alternative is to raise prices,” he says. “We have not laid anyone off — mainly re-evaluated prices on spirits and beers.” Some of those prices had been static for many months or years. “Then you have the folks that come in and mention that ‘that’s quite an increase in the price of that beer,’” Hutto says. “I just want to say, ‘Hey, be happy, you have been underpaying for it these last three years.’”

Amen, Brother Hutto.

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