Readers' Choice Awards Bakery Barbecue Coffee Shop Pizza New Restaurant (since 2006) Steak Restaurant Take-Out Salad Bar People TV Anchor/Female TV Investigative Reporter TV Sports Reporter TV Weathercaster Local Male Athlete People (cont.)
3 Blue Dog
4 Homemade Ice Cream & Pie
1 Mark’s Feed Store
3 Famous Dave’s
4 Jucy’s Smokehouse
5 Vince Staten’s
3 North End
5 Blue Dog
1 Heine Brothers’
3 Java Brewing
5 Day’s Coffee
1 Captain’s Quarters
3 Rocky’s Italian Grill
4 Golden Corral
Restaurant to Take Out-of-town Guests
2 Jack Fry’s
3 Proof on
4 Ferd Grisanti
5 Rocky’s Italian Grill
2 Tony Boombozz
3 Papa John’s
1 Proof on
2 Jeff Ruby’s
4 Mimi’s Cafe
1 Pat’s Steak House
2 Ruth’s Chris
5 Del Frisco’s
Restaurant for Healthy Food
3 Panera Bread
4 Whole Foods
5 Grape Leaf
2 Whole Foods
3 Doll’s Market
4 Wild Oats
5 Rainbow Blossom
1 Scott Reynolds/WAVE
2 Gary Roedemeier/WHAS
3 Rick Van Hoose/WLKY
4 Barry Bernson/WDRB
5 Don Schroeder/WDRB
1 Jackie Hays/WAVE
2 Dawne Gee/WAVE
3 Vicki Dortch/WLKY
4 Jean West/WHAS
5 Candyce Clifft/WDRB
1 Charla Young/WAVE
2 Mark Hebert/WHAS
3 Connie Leonard/WAVE
4 Doug Proffitt/WHAS
5 Steve Burgin/WLKY
1 Fred Cowgill/WLKY
2 Bob Domine/WAVE
3 Kent Taylor/WAVE
4 Kyle Draper/WHAS
5 Gary Montgomery/WDRB
1 John Belski/WAVE
2 Tom Wills/WAVE
3 Ken Schulz/WHAS
4 Jay Cardosi/WLKY
5 Kevin Harned/WAVE
TV Morning Host
1 Barry Bernson/WDRB
2 Carrie Weil/WAVE
3 Candyce Clifft/WDRB
4 Renee Murphy/WHAS
5 Paul Moses/WLKY
1 Brian Brohm
2 Michael Bush
3 Edgar Sosa
4 David Padgett
5 Terrence Williams
Local Female Athlete
1 Angel McCoughtry
2 Tori Murden-McClure
4 Crystal Kelly
Local Woman You’d Most Like to Meet
1 Anne Northup
2 Diane Sawyer
3 Heather French Henry
4 Jackie Hays
5 Laura Lee Brown
Local Man You’d Most Like to Meet
1 Rick Pitino
2 Muhammad Ali
3 Jerry Abramson
4 John Yarmuth
5 Denny Crum
1 Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling
3 Bicycle Sport
4 St. Matthews Schwinn
5 Bardstown Road Bicycles
3 Barnes & Noble
5 Half Price Books
2 Von Maur
2 Nu Yale
3 Sam Meyers
4 Parrot Cleaners
5 Thoroughbred Cleaners
Place to Buy Outdoor Wear
1 Quest Outdoors
2 Dick’s Sporting Goods
3 Bass Pro Shops
4 Parallel 38
1 ear X-tacy
3 Best Buy
1 Baxter Avenue Theatres
3 Stony Brook
4 Great Escape
Place to Buy Women’s Shoes
2 Von Maur
3 Off Broadway
5 Knott’s Shoes
Place to Buy an Evening Gown
1 Von Maur
Women’s Clothing Boutique
4 Karen of Course
5 Dot Fox
Place for a Shopping
2 Mall St. Matthews
3 Oxmoor Mall
4 Von Maur
Girls’ Night Out Place
2 4th Street Live!
4 Molly Malone’s
5 L&N Wine Bar
Guys’ Night Out Place
1 Buffalo Wild Wings
2 4th Street Live!
5 Jeff Ruby’s
Place to Go on a First Date
1 Jack Fry’s
2 Le Relais
3 4th Street Live!
TV News Station
Local Morning Drive Radio Show 1 WHAS 840
2 WFPL 89.3
3 THE MAX 102.3
4 WFPK 91.9
5 WDJX 99.7
Readers' Choice Awards
New Restaurant (since 2006)
Take-Out Salad Bar
TV Investigative Reporter
TV Sports Reporter
Local Male Athlete
Best Bicycle Store: Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling (Readers’ Choice Winner)
When Greg Scheller opened shop in 1979 as Okolona Schwinn Cyclery, his top 10-speed road bike sold for $875. Today, it’s nearly the same price for the most inexpensive model, while the high-tech LeMond and Trek machines go for approximately $3,000. Now known as Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling, with two locations in Louisville and two in Lexington, the business sold nearly 2,500 bikes last year and is prepping for expansion into Southern Indiana.
Unlike smaller shops that specialize in things on two wheels, Scheller’s has had an eye out for other business opportunities. “I like bikes, but I didn’t love them,” the founder and CEO says by way of differentiating himself from other retailers. To bring in revenue during the slow-for-cycling first quarter of the year, he first tried vending wood-burning stoves, but found the market too limited. Next, Scheller started peddling exercise equipment to rehab centers, health clubs and other clients, a segment that now produces 65 percent of revenue and has made the first quarter the company’s biggest.
He’s been joined in the business by younger brothers Tim and Marty, and the family firm operates stores here on Preston Highway in Okolona and on Shelbyville Road in Middletown. Extensive selections of road bikes, mountain bikes and comfort bikes are offered, and well-staffed service departments are on site. “It’s what separates us from most mass merchants, who don’t offer fittings and repairs,” says Scheller.
He won’t divulge revenues — though he will say the company is debt-free — but things must be rolling: Scheller’s is planning to open a new, 18,200-square-foot, $3 million store early next year on Veterans Parkway in Clarksville.
Best TV News Station: WAVE-3 (Readers’ Choice Winner)
Best TV Anchor/Male: Scott Reynolds (Readers’ Choice Winner)
Best TV Anchor/Female: Jackie Hays (Readers’ Choice Winner)
Best TV Investigative Reporter: Charla Young (Readers’ Choice Winner)
Best TV Weathercaster: John Belski (Readers’ Choice Winner)
Maybe it wasn’t a tsunami, but it certainly could be called a giant wave that swept Channel 3 to most of the television awards in this year’s readers’ poll. So why do so many of you favor WAVE’s news programs? In a medium often characterized by the sameness of chasing breaking crime news and tracking weather, severe or otherwise, it just might be that this station stands out for its attention to personality.
“We’ve tried really hard for quite some time to be an accessible advocate for viewers,” says station GM Steve Langford, now in his ninth year. “And I think people see our (on-air) personalities as they are, that they’re really good people.”
In important-to-advertisers ratings sweeps so far in 2007, WAVE’s local news efforts are holding their own with rival Louisville stations, despite the disadvantage of being an affiliate of a weakened NBC, which brings it fewer viewers from network programming. Our readers, however, rank WAVE highest. “Part of the success is longevity,” says Jackie Hays, an anchor at 5 and 6 p.m. who has been with the station 20 years. Meteorologist John Belski has also been on air with WAVE for two decades, and Scott Reynolds, who co-anchors with both Hays and Dawne Gee (at 11 p.m.), is in his 11th year at Channel 3. The anchors preach a time-honored approach to basic reporting and the value of getting out the door to interview people directly. “We see news the same way,” Reynolds says. “We don’t want to make a mistake.”
The personal approach is also the focus of the station’s “Troubleshooter,” Charla Young, who ferrets out answers — and refunds — for frustrated consumers. The station posts the value of her efforts as a three-and-a-half-year running total ($2.6 million and counting as of June 5). Her popular segments often help the little guy break through against big-money forces. “We’re getting results for people,” says Langford.
CRITICS’ CHOICE WINNERS
Critics’ Choice Best of Louisville winners and honorable mentions are selected by Louisville Magazine’s editors and contributors.
Best Summer Dish: Simply Thai (Critics’ Choice)
Is it irony or cosmic justice that one of the tiniest restaurants in town serves up a dish with flavor so huge it wallops you upside the head? Simply Thai, a postage stamp of a restaurant in an eensy-weensy strip mall on Wallace Avenue in St. Matthews, lists, on the appetizer side of its menu, the humbly named “Grilled Chicken Salad” ($6.50). What comes to your table is a geometrically angled white bowl brimming with lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, tomato, red onion, carrot, cilantro and scallions, topped with golden-brown seared slices of chicken breast (grilled tofu can be substituted) and drizzled with a piquant ginger-garlic dressing. Though it hardly cries out for improvement, you can add yet another dimension of zest by requesting a bowl of the house peanut sauce, which is so silken and subtly sweet that it’s better than any dessert.
Basa Modern Vietnamese, 2244 Frankfort Ave.: The Green Papaya Salad ($9) is an example of this east-meets-west restaurant at its very best: so Vietnamese, yet so French. Lettuce and green papaya (unripe papaya, frequently used for its crisp tartness in South Asian cuisine) are topped with steamed tiger prawns, basil, mint, roasted peanuts, and fried shallots. The dish is dressed with a sweet chile vinaigrette.
Seafood Connection, 3941 Chenoweth Square: No secret to the good citizens of St. Matthews, Seafood Connection has an outstanding lunch menu, and people in other parts of town should know about it as well. The lobster roll there ($10) will fool you into believing you’re in Maine. Lobster meat that has been steamed pink and chilled is chopped and blended with lemon juice, parsley and just a hint of mayonnaise. A heaping mound of this succulent stuff is loaded onto a classic New England-style Coney roll and served up with a side of lettuce and tomato: the perfect lunch.
Best Hotel Lobby: The Brown Hotel (Critics’ Choice)
There is simply no hotel lobby in the city as stately yet comfortable and bonhomie-inducing as the second-floor masterpiece in the Brown — split into two long sections by a row of massive cream-marble pillars and tall potted plants. On the buttoned-down front-desk side, the floor is a salmony marble and the check-in counter is adjoined to original brass-spindled bank-teller windows from the days when everybody carried cash. At the south /files/storyimages/stand two eight-foot-tall ornamental urns brought in by former Camberley landlord Ian Lloyd-Jones in 1993. The cranberry-carpeted lounge side includes the six-seat Lobby Bar, a grand piano and an armada of snug sofas, loveseats and easy chairs made all the more comfy by plump pillows. At night, the yellowy light from table lamps and four big chandeliers with cloth mini-shades — not to mention the mezzanine’s balconies and open arches — turns the whole lobby into a romantic dream.
21C Museum Hotel, 700 W. Main St. For the contemporary-art lover there is no other. Cold and spare, but that’s part of the point.
Seelbach Hilton Hotel, 500 S. Fourth St. Magnificent staircase to the mezzanine, marbles from France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and two crystal chandeliers worthy of the Titanic.
Marriott Downtown Hotel, 280 W. Jefferson St. Like an ultra-snazzy airport terminal, but the sharply angled crimson and honeydew furniture grouping and backlit amber-grain circle just inside the entrance create a geometric delight.
Best Signature Cocktail: Proof on Main (Critics’ Choice)
Signature cocktail lists have become as ubiquitous as wine lists at most upscale Louisville restaurants, and the most creative of these reflects the genius of a bartender who is equal parts mix master and mad scientist. The lab at Proof on Main (702 W. Main St. in the 21C Museum Hotel) wins the prize for innovation and taste with its Jalapina.
Made with Don Eduardo Silver Tequila and jalapeno-infused fresh pineapple juice, it creates a sensation on your tongue that is sweet up front and spicy in the back. It is served straight up, and despite the dynamic flavor, goes down very smoothly, even for those who don’t tolerate fire well. “The flavor combination really attracts people,” says Brooks Reitz, assistant restaurant manager. “Spicy and sweet is not usually found in a cocktail.”
Sample this one and you — and your tongue — will say, “Ole!”
Basa Modern Vietnamese, 2244 Frankfort Ave.: Not to be missed on this new eatery’s short but inventive signature list: the Lychee Lime Spritzer. With lime-infused vodka, Pellegrino Limonata and Soho Lychee Liqueur, and served on the rocks, it qualifies as the quintessential refreshing summer beverage.
Seviche, 1538 Bardstown Road: The go-to bar for mixes with South American flair. If you’re feeling adventurous, try its twist on the Batida, a traditional Brazilian cocktail — featuring cachaca (sugar cane brandy), lime, passion fruit, coconut milk and soda, shaken and served over ice. Sip it while humming an Astrud Gilberto song.
Limestone, 10001 Forest Green Blvd.: Many of the potions on Limestone’s list pay homage to classics. Two of the best are the whiskey sour and the French 75 (a champagne cocktail created by Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris). Both are made with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and you really can taste the tangy difference.
Pick-Up Basketball Courts: Seneca Park (Critics’ Choice)
Great pick-up basketball courts must have the basics: well-kept playing surfaces, unbent rims, water fountains, plenty of parking and seating for spectators or those waiting to get into a game. But, above all, access must be free and open to all challengers, ensuring that all the best hoopsters have the opportunity to play. Seneca Park (3151 Pee Wee Reese Road) has everything mentioned, like many parks around Louisville, but it also has a few qualities that shoot it above the rest.
For one, Seneca, which has two full courts, attracts only high-caliber players — streetballers who sling underhand bounce passes between crisscrossing defenders, sink fade-away jumpers from beyond the three-point arc, dunk the rock with ferocious power and play “lockdown” defense. The guys who frequent Seneca are also quick to name-drop former University of Louisville players — Ellis Myles, Brandon Bender, Luke Whitehead — who occasionally make cameos. Needless to say, teams needing a player probably won’t pick you up if you can’t throw a chest pass. But it’s always fun watching.
During Seneca’s most crowded hours — basically anytime the sun’s not blazing — five-on-five full-court games are common. And even as the sun begins to sink behind the trees, cars are still rolling up filled with teams ready to play because, after all, these courts also have lights.
Shawnee Park, 4501 W. Broadway: Sometimes — particularly on Sundays at mid-morning — the men show up and take over the two full courts on Shawnee Park’s north side. More often than not, though, the pick-up players don’t fit a specific demographic. Males and females, middle-schoolers and adults play five-on-five, full- and half-court games together. Although no one takes it easy on the younger athletes, everybody is quick to offer them advice and, of course, praise when they play solid defense or swish a baseline jump shot.
Chickasaw Park, 1200 Southwestern Parkway: Finding a crowded court is hit-or-miss, but when people do show up they can flat out play.
Belly Dance Instructor: Raqia (Critics’ Choice)
Hip shimmy, shoulder shimmy, camel walk, knee locks. These are all parts of the ancient art of belly dancing — and, apparently, the modern art as well. The Middle Eastern tradition, with roots in the 14th century, is coming out from behind the veil at several studios in the Louisville area. For the growing number of belly dancing students, instruction is a must, and tops among teachers is Rachel Reich (performing as Raqia), who conducts weekly sessions in the Gypsies of the Nile Studio at the White House Building (222 Pearl St. in downtown New Albany). She also instructs at workshops in other venues, including schools and education centers.
She goes over every step several times to ensure that each student can perform it and creates CDs of appropriate music and worksheets, handing them to her students for at-home practice. A master at sensing each student’s interests, she makes the classroom a relaxed environment where her pupils feel comfortable making mistakes and asking questions. “My vision is to encourage women to discover self-love, sisterhood and a sense of well-being,” says Raqia, who also takes the stage as a member of the Gypsies of the Nile troupe.
She began belly dancing in 2003 after battling a life-threatening illness. Belly dancing offered her a way to reconnect with her soul and regain confidence in herself, positives she now makes available for each and every one of her students.
Ruric-Amari: The principal at Ruric-Amari Belly Dance teaches classes in several venues throughout the area, including the Mellwood Arts Center and the Southern Indiana YMCA, and was the first local belly dance instructor to organize recitals for all of her classes, beginners through advanced.
Mona Simone: Simone, who performs as Silk Belly Dance, teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced classes at the Clifton Center. She offers every student personalized attention, offering step-by-step directions as well as choreographed routines.
Wi-Fi Spot: Java Brewing Company (Critics’ Choice)
It may seem predictable to choose a coffee shop as Louisville’s best wi-fi location, but, then again, Java Brewing Company’s 2309 Frankfort Ave. location isn’t your typical early-morning caffeine depot. For starters, this Java boasts a wine menu with more than 10 options, including a Benzinger Fume Blanc, a Camelot Pinot Noir and a Jekel Riesling. There’s also a patio that offers plenty of outdoor seating, which is hard to come by at most wi-fi spots. Plop down in a wooden rocking chair or seat yourself at an outdoor table near the wisteria climbing vines that create a cozy alcove for you to surf the net peacefully while feeling secluded from busy Frankfort Avenue.
Inside — where Johnny Cash songs are the favored background — plenty of wooden tables and chairs are available. The best seats, though, are on the plush leather sofa facing the gas-burning fireplace or on a stool at the bar, which is big enough to allow you to spread out your work papers and notebooks. Stocked bookshelves, which also hold a pair of binoculars, add to the relaxed, homelike atmosphere. It’s a place to feel connected, both online and off.
Waterfront Park: Firing up your laptop and wi-fying at Waterfront Park beats working in a cubicle. The glaring sun, however, can make it impossible to see the computer screen, so search out a shaded bench close to the river.
Atomic Saucer, 1000 E. Oak St.: Atomic Saucer offers big, comfy leather chairs and couches, some of which look like they could have been in your basement more than 30 years ago . . . because they probably were. Movies such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on the flat-screen television provide plenty of mental stimulation.
Karma Cafe, 1126 Bardstown Road: Nocturnal wi-fiers should stretch out in one of the chaise lounges at Karma Cafe, which stays open until midnight Mondays through Thursdays and doesn’t close from Friday at 9 a.m. until Sunday at 10 p.m. Although it’s a late-night spot, don’t be shocked to hear Radiohead’s OK Computer blaring on a Wednesday afternoon.
Doggy Daycare: Fern Creek Pet Resort (Critics’ Choice)
Finding the right doggy daycare can create as much anxiety as taking your hound to Cherokee Park’s Dog Hill. The unavoidable questions arise: How will my puppy interact with other dogs? Will she be the pound’s most popular or a panicky pooch? And will she pick up bad habits from the wayward mutts?
Luckily for Louisville dog lovers, Fern Creek Pet Resort (5225 Bardstown Road) offers the kind of style and service that defeats dread and gives its canine campers a fun environment away from home for $15 per day. The “resort” is set up outside with plenty of grassy space for roaming — and sniffing — in the open air. During a hard day of scurrying through the yard, which is outfitted with toys, tires and other curiosities, dogs may lay low for a moment in the tree-patched shaded areas or, on truly hot days, be brought into air-conditioned indoor quarters.
Say goodbye to separation anxiety as the dog-loving staff will nurture and personally get to know your pet while supervising play. In fact, prepare yourself for rejection: Your dog may dart away from you as soon as you return for a second day.
Happy Hounds, 6331 Upper River Road, Harrods Creek: Recently opened in eastern Jefferson County, Happy Hounds offers dogs supervised fun at $18 a day. The clean and expansive indoor-based facility allows the day’s pack to roll around together or to be sectioned off into big-dog and small-dog groups where necessary. At various times, they’re allowed to romp in the fenced-in outdoor grass area.
Club DJ: Kim Sorise (Critics’ Choice)
There’s more to jockeying than schlepping discs, vinyl or otherwise. The best DJs possess a stellar sense of music, as well as an understanding of the subtle nuances necessary for a seamless transition from track to track, the ability to control the energy of the crowd (no parking on the dance floor, please), and of course, the ability to surprise and inspire listeners.
Kim Sorise, who has been DJing for the better part of 14 years, excels in all of these regards. “I create atmosphere for the space I am in and who I am spinning with,” she says. “Sometimes you have to play to the crowd, and one of the hardest things I’ve learned is, just because I love it doesn’t mean everyone else will respond.”
Sorise also challenges the audience with her eclectic collection, fashioned from diverse musical tastes she attributes to her tune-savvy parents. “I was collecting jazz records when I was 13 and other weird albums when the other kids were out buying Prince,” she says. She performs at two regular gigs: Global Grease, a world-music party at North End Cafe on Friday nights, and with Electric Amish at the Monkey Wrench every Tuesday night, sharing a love of ’60s garage, ’70s rock and ’80s metal.
Dwight Johnson: Catch him blending positive vibe and soul hip-hop records every Friday night at Maker’s Mark Lounge and on the first Saturday of every month at The Pink Door.
Jumbo Shrimp: His groove is more dance-oriented, though a bit offbeat (in a good way), and he spins Italian electro music from the late ’70s and mid-’80s. Check him out Saturday nights at Bearno’s Pizza on Bardstown Road in the Highlands.
Matt Anthony and Woodrow on the Radio: Every Thursday night this duo gets down like James Brown with funk and soul at the Monkey Wrench.
Female Athlete & Male Athlete: Angel McCoughtry & Brian Brohm (Readers’ Choice Winners)
It’s a good time to be a University of Louisville sports fan. (Some people, for example, recently realized the school actually fields a baseball team.) Two huge reasons why are women’s hoops forward Angel McCoughtry and a football player you may have heard of named Brian Brohm.
Brohm, U of L’s quarterback, threw for 3,049 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and was also the most valuable player in the Cardinals’ Orange Bowl victory over Wake Forest. Many believe he’s the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy heading into the upcoming season, his last at the college level. “I’ve seen him play plenty of times,” McCoughtry says. “He’s probably one of the best quarterbacks the school has ever had.”
McCoughtry, who will be a junior next year, is making quite the name for herself, too. Last season she was the Big East Conference’s player of the year, leading her team in scoring, rebounds and steals. “I came out and watched her play against West Virginia,” Brohm says of the game in which McCoughtry scored 33, a somewhat human-like performance compared with the school-record 41 she dropped on Eastern Illinois. “She’s an exciting player to watch.”
McCoughtry and Brohm both enter next season with new head coaches, meaning other players will rely on them even more than before. “Whenever you get a new coach, all the other teammates are looking to the leaders of the team to see how those leaders react,” Brohm says.
But it’s not just your teammates who’ll be watching, guys. It’s the whole city.
Nature Walk: E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park (Critics’ Choice)
This often-overlooked 550-acre East End escape (3000 Freys Hill Road) is a tucked-away laboratory of diversity in plant and animal life located in the midst of modern suburbia. It doesn’t provide the ultimate trail experience, but it can accommodate a wide range of activities — making it a stimulating setting for a cardio workout, recreational walking, family outings, bird watching and other pursuits. Old paved roads slinking over the hills also provide access for wheelchair-bound nature lovers.
If you go, make sure to bypass the entrances to the public pool and BMX course, and go for one off Lakeland Road near the now-defunct Central State Hospital. You can walk on out-of-use roads at a leisurely pace, traipse through open fields or follow trails into more heavily forested areas and over creeks. Early in the mornings or evenings, birds are out for dinner — keep your eyes peeled for red-shouldered hawks and indigo buntings, among others. The scenery will appeal to any fan of Cherokee Park, but the slimmer chances of running into other people and the park interior’s distance from major roadways are real draws to this convenient metro-area park.
Trails 3 and 4, Charlestown State Park, Charlestown, Ind.
Fossil-filled land on the edge of the old Indiana Army Ammunition Plant has been reclaimed for recreation and open to the public for 10 years now. Trails 3 and 4 intertwine to take you down by the banks of the Ohio River and Fourteenmile Creek, passing seasonal waterfalls while traversing elevation changes of 200 feet. Walking near dusk will bring you to a clearing on top of a knob just as the sun sets.
Purple Heart Trail, Jefferson Memorial Forest, 11311 Mitchell Hill Road
This moderate two-mile looped trail is located in the Tom Wallace section of southwestern Jefferson County’s 6,000-acre woodland and leads you along ridges at nearly 900 feet. For an educational experience, pick up wildflower, animal-track and tree-identification cards at the welcome center before your hike.
Millennium Trail, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, Ky.
True trail enthusiasts love the convenience of having an arduous 13-mile day hike in neighboring Bullitt County. Prepare a lunch and sp/files/storyimages/engaging hours walking through valleys and along ridges, some of which offer views of Louisville. The best views, though, are of a well-preserved habitat that mirrors what the pioneers saw.
Skateboarder: Jeremiah Stevens (Critics’ Choice)
Because they’re such a self-effacing bunch, you’d be hard-pressed to find a skateboarder in Louisville who cares much for the word “best.” Entering organized competitions is no special license; those who do t/files/storyimages/to defer to the non-competitive “street skaters,” guys who jump, slide and grind on just about anything higher than a curb — garbage cans, water fountains, bike racks, guard rails, park benches, loading docks. And, after viewing homemade video recordings and badgering peers at downtown’s Extreme Park and Bardstown Road’s Home Skate Shop, we’ve stuck the label “best” on lanky, 6-foot-2 Atherton High alum Jeremiah Stevens, 20. On tape, you can discern his exceptional talent just by the way his nimble feet dance on the board as he lines up a kickflip over a curbed, four-foot-wide stairwell. Asked if he frequents the Extreme Park, Stevens says, “I don’t like to be caged in. Pretty much, Louisville is my skate park.”
Shelby Little, 21: Another street-skating Atherton alum called “one of the more technical skaters.” No wasted motion in his stunts.
Chaney Given, 31: The “old man” of the group; takes periodic trips and loves street-skating in San Francisco.
Mikey Roges, 16: Yet another Atherton guy, who’s been photographed by Thrasher magazine.
Tyrone Porter, 18: Entered a competition in Portland, Ore., and finished sixth of 30 contestants.
Pancakes: Toast on Market (Critics’ Choice)
At this year-old breakfast and lunch stop at 736 E. Market St., they serve more of the basic buttermilk pancakes than any others. But you have to ask why. Why, when Toast’s lemon souffle flapjacks can be found on the same menu, would anyone flip over a more common offering? Truth is, no other cakes in town stack up against their light, pillowy texture and tart-sweet-creamy taste.
One of four griddlecake choices at Toast, the lemon souffle pancakes ($7.50) have become “very, very popular,” says chef and part-owner George Morris. “Once people have them, they’re addicted.” Morris borrowed the recipe from a friend’s mother and played with revisions until he’d perfected the mix. A combination of cake and all-purpose flours lightens the batter so that these babies don’t seem to expand in your stomach, as many lesser ones might. The creaminess can in large part be traced to ricotta cheese, which, with a little milk, replaces buttermilk on the liquid-ingredients list. And egg whites are separated out and whipped to an airy foam, then folded in to finish the batter for added fluffiness.
A double-whammy of lemon — zest sprinkled into the flour and lemon juice measured in with the liquids — makes the cakes live up to the piquant promise of their name. “You get the lemon coming from the wet side and you get the lemon coming from the dry side,” says Morris. Top them with blueberry compote and a hint of vanilla custard sauce and you have a round mound of pancake renown, served daily (except Mondays) anytime from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
North End Cafe, 1722 Frankfort Ave: The cornmeal buttermilks are perfectly proportioned for flavor and a less-filling texture, then griddled to light-brown perfection and served with warm maple syrup. So good you can skip the fruit.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, 984 Barret Ave.: The “Paradise Pancakes” are just this side of, with a combination of Weisenberger cornmeal and whole-wheat flour, buttery and brown on the outside and topped with warm syrup. Be sure to ask for blueberries tucked right into the batter.
Place To Be At Midnight: Howl At The Moon (Critics’ Choice)
People don’t go to Howl At The Moon to eat wings and watch sports on the big screen. This Fourth Street Live! watering hole doesn’t serve food, and the two small-by-bar-standards televisions hang in easy-to-miss locations. But the crowds, which are thickest on Friday and Saturday nights, do show up to hear tunes — Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle,” Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” — performed on baby grand dueling pianos.
Piano playing duos take turns pounding the ivories, and, sometimes, four musicians crowd the stage at once, adding drums and guitars into the mix. The pairs play the staples — Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” for example — but they also take requests. It typically costs a few bucks to hear a song, unless somebody requests the University of Louisville or University of Kentucky fight song, which frequently happens when the clock is near the 12 o’clock hour. Then things get interesting.
It works like this: Somebody drops a $10 bill on the piano to hear U of L’s song. Then someone else pays (at least) $11 to hear UK’s. That puts the Wildcats up one. Occasionally, an Indiana University student or somebody from a school in Who-Knows-Where, Ohio, will slap enough bills onto the piano to take the lead. Eventually, the piano players are jumping between fight songs as patrons run around the bar, collecting money with hopes that their alma mater will outbid the competition. The dedicated (or is that most-lubricated?) supporters actually have been known to make trips to the ATM. And although it gets heated, nobody — U of L and UK fans alike — seems to have a problem singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” together once the fight-song war ends.
Asiatique, 1767 Bardstown Road: The upstairs patio is a calm place to wind down and enjoy some late-night drinks (the Asiarita, perhaps) and appetizers. Or, if your night’s just beginning, travel downstairs where the DJ’s techno music throbs.
The Pink Door, 2222 Dundee Road: On Wednesday nights, video gamers pack the Pink Door’s front room to rock out on Guitar Hero II. Even if you’re not familiar with the video game, it’s hilarious watching people use the guitar-shaped controller as machines spew fog in their faces.
Baxter Avenue Theatres, 1250 Bardstown Road: Although the Baxter Avenue Theatres show other midnight movies — cult hits such as Aliens, Robocop or Dazed and Confused when school lets out for summer — the real scene is at The Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings, typically the last Saturday of the month. Young women (and sometimes young men) arrive “in character” for the film in four-inch pink heels, ripped fishnet stockings, short plaid skirts and lingerie tops.