Friday, January 13, 2006

New Bistro New Albany hoping to open by the end of January.

Last week, NA Confidential broke this long anticipated story:

Bistro New Albany to open for business later this month at 148 E. Market Street in downtown New Albany.

Despite predictable regulatory delays, BNA’s Greg Merz and David Clancy still hope to meet their deadline of opening by the end of January.

Specifically, required Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission and Floyd County Health Department inspections are yet to come, and while awaiting these, Greg is busily constructing a small four-stool bar and installing draft equipment, while Dave completely revamps the kitchen and readies the menu.

Daunting, indeed, to start from scratch; everything from phone service to supplier accounts, hiring servers and cooks and training them, and readying a marketing campaign must be completed by the time the doors open.

As a new era dawns for the restaurant space in a venerable building that has been the New Albany Inn for as long as any of us can remember, it’s interesting to consider aspects of its prior history, as reader Cannon Farms noted recently:

When Mayor C. Pralle Erni owned it, the place was well respected, and packed on Sundays after church. My entire family would go for Sunday lunch and sometimes the meeting rooms in the basement, nicknamed after famous steamships, were used for overflow from the "Crystal Swan Restaurant."
Mayor Erni passed out silver dollars to the “good” boys and girls.


There was a huge mirror with a swan engraved in it that hung behind the bar in the main dinning room.

I can walk home from that convenient location, and have (allowing parking for those who drive), and I have seen a peek at the new menu. MMMmmmgood.


On a less unplifting note, and somewhat ironically given the two local murder trials currently dominating the headlines, the New Albany Inn has been the scene of one murder (proprietor “Shorty” Gonder, late 1980’s?) as well as playing a peripheral role in New Albany’s sensational “trial of the (19th) century” in 1886.

Historian Ted Fulmore has devoted three “Our History in New Albany” blog entries to the latter story:

1 - Desperate Housewives - 1886 style
2 - Ira and Myra – the descent
3 - Ira vs. Myra - the end

It’s fascinating reading, and Ted is to be commended for providing these substantive glimpses of the city's past.

I’ll continue to provide updates as BNA’s debut gets closer.

7 comments:

Tim Deatrick said...

nice piece of news roger, proving once again that The Tribune is quickly losing its "raison de state"

jon faith said...

I believe that the murder was in 1994, it was certainly after I started working at Rauch.

na girl said...

The NAFC library has an online index of local newspapers. It confirms Jon's memory that the murder was in 1994.

bluegill said...

Anybody got a running count of how many new businesses have opened (or will open very soon) downtown in the past year or so?

I've got:
Destinations Booksellers
The quilt shop (sorry, don't know the name)
Digital Resource Center
Bistro New Albany
La Rosita
The tech business on Main (Bump.net or something like that)

What am I forgetting?

If we can continue to open a few new businesses a year and work through some housing issues (within historic guidelines, of course), I think we're well on our way.

All4Word said...

Let's not forget the Charmed Hat and California's, both of which came and left before most people even knew they were there.

In many ways, neither business was ready to open or withstand the startup pains, but we do need to remember it hasn't been a painless renaissance. Our first instinct needs to be to giver referrals to downtown businesses whenever we can.

We don't know what will define critical mass. We'll only know what it was when the explosion takes place. So let's keep adding to the pile until it blows.

CannonFarms said...

Education education education...
We also have a new Barber College!

CannonFarms said...

The historical society did a re-inactment of the murder trial about twenty years ago. I remember my childhood friend and neighbor now attorney Richard Mullineaux gave a stunning performance!
Richard is very very smart and an upright attorney.
The Choir director worked at the church I grew up in at the corner of 11th and Market Streets. The story says the two made passionate love on the alter. Oh god oh god oh god.