Restaurant owners hopeful ahead of New Albany openings, by Harold J. Adams (Courier-Journal)
Walking along East Market Street in New Albany you can’t miss the bright yellow and blue colors painted outside Louis Le Francais, the French restaurant adding the latest international touch to the city’s recent downtown restaurant renaissance.
“Louie the Frenchman” is directly across the street from La Bocca Italian restaurant which is only a few doors away from the Habana Blues Cuban restaurant around the corner from La Rosita Mexican establishment.
Owner Louis Retailleau says the bright hues are typical colors of his native southwest France. “They are happy color, the sun, the sky, the earth.”
This happy Frenchman has been preparing nonstop for a Friday night private preview opening at the restaurant at 133 East Market Street. It’s a party “to give an idea of what I’m creating here in New Albany...a French restaurant with a Frenchman at the helm,” Retailleau said during a brief pause Thursday.
The Armagnac native is trying to recreate a typical small French restaurant “with a lot of atmosphere, a lot of ambiance” at a reasonable price, he said.
The menu will include such staple dishes as duck l’orange, lamb with au jus and cassoulet. Thursday afternoon he lifted the lid on a giant kettle of simmering lamb stock that would be 18 hours in the making ahead of Friday night’s invitation-only party.
Louis Le Francais will open to the general public on a yet to be determined date in early November beginning with a dinner-only prix fixe menu for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25.
“That will be an appetizer, salad, the main course (and) dessert,” he said.
Retailleau said he’s not concerned that the closure of the nearby Sherman Minton Bridge might prevent some potential Louisville customers from crossing the Ohio River to sample his fare.
“I think the bridge is doing me a favor,” he said. “Because there is a flow of people from New Albany and the North that used to go to Louisville, and I hope they will come here, try it and love it and come back.”
There is similar optimism two doors away at Quills Coffee which is also slated to open sometime in November. The coffee shop is maintaining its original Baxter Avenue location in Louisville and adding another in U of L’s Cardinal Towne center but will centralize the operation in New Albany, wholesale account manager Philip Revell said.
“We’re going to roast all the coffee there and then distribute to the Baxter location and the U of L location, and to wholesale customer’s too,” Revell said. More than a few fellow New Albany merchants are hoping the confidence of Retailleau and Revell is well placed.
Friday, October 21, 2011
“I think the bridge is doing me a favor."
I think so, too. One of the most revealing aspects of the bridge closure has been watching the media watching us, don't you think? As business people, we express optimism ... and too often, they just want something to attach -geddon to.