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    Eat & Swig

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    Before you read any further: a VFW Post is a place where Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States get together and do everything from eating fried fish to raising money for disabled soldiers. It’s basically a hangout spot for old war buddies. Most Posts are the kind of place where you could play Don McClean’s “American Pie” on repeat the entire day and night and nobody would mind.
    The Post, at 1045 Goss Avenue in Germantown, used to be VFW Post 3595 but has now transitioned to a New York-style pizza place and hangout. Owners Nash Neely and Laura Clemmons Neely used lots of old VFW memorabilia to decorate their new restaurant: “my favorite decoration, by far, is just all the random stuff we found in the building when we bought it.” Nash Neely says. “That all-day picnic sign, we found that in the garage. The Louisville Post sign, the pictures of the ladies over there on the wall, they’re all presidents of the Ladies Auxiliary, y’all should check out those ladies.”
    “There’s a 48-star flag we found in the office. This VFW Post was really well-known for their Friday chicken dinner, so we put their chicken dinner sign in the back, and even put a chicken dinner menu item on here.” The chicken dinner pizza ($11.95 - $24.95) has a buffalo base sauce, chicken, cheddar, onion and blue cheese or ranch drizzle.
    Another of Neely’s favorite decorations is an old gaming table with the names of Germantown businesses from the 1940s – 1950s, including their four-digit phone numbers. It was also the property of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
     
    Nash Neely’s idea for The Post began germinating as he worked at Pazzo’s, a big pizza pub in Lexington where he worked for over seven years. After earning his MBA at University of Kentucky, Neely (who is 31 and hails originally from Mayfield, Kentucky) came to Louisville to work for Republic Bank. When I ask how he went from working in the treasury department of a giant corporation, he’s offhand, “I got into the cubicle life and just had to get out.”
    So the Neelys pooled their money, and starting looking for property in Germantown. “We live in the area and we felt like it [Germantown] needed something like this. We looked at some properties in Western Kentucky, thought about doing it in Murray, but we stumbled upon this [the VFW Post] and put a really low offer on the building, expecting that they’d laugh in our faces. And, they didn’t, they accepted.”
    After the arduous process of getting funding for the restaurant, they started construction last July. During their wait, Neely began to design the menu. “I designed the menu just with everything as placeholders and I talked to a bunch of my contacts along the way. The menu is part of the business plan. The final menu is definitely a collaborative effort, mainly between my kitchen managers [and chefs] Brian Cunningham and Brandon Driver. “Between the three of us, we probably bring almost 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry.”
    So, does Louisville really need another pizza place? “Louisville has a ton of pizza, but Germantown doesn’t have enough pizza,” says Neely. The pizza at The Post is New York-style, which means, according to Neely, “It’s thinner crust, pizza-by-the-slice, you fold it to eat it.” Neely estimates the team at The Post tried more than a dozen dough recipes, more than two dozen sauce recipes and 10 or 11 different cheeses before settling on a final base product. “Once you get those things figured out, the rest is just a bonus.”
    Neely professes himself a “pizza purist” but confesses that he “put some experimental specialty pies on the menu…like the bratwurst pizza (the Army Brat: olive oil base, bratwurst, garlic, jalapeno, cheddar, sauerkraut and brown mustard drizzle $11.95 - $24.95) turned out amazing. The brown mustard drizzle on there creates like a little spicy bite. The Peace Treaty (light Thousand Island dressing base, corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss, $12.95 - $25.95) is kind of our version of a Rueben pizza, which you won’t find anywhere else.”
    The Post opened On January 14, 2015, to a much larger crowd than expected. “I thought it was going to be a typical Wednesday night but word spread and we kind of packed it out,” says Neely. The Post also offers a large selection of beer, liquor and even two wines. For now, they’re only open for dinner, dine in or carry out. Neely is unsure if the neighborhood can support a lunch or brunch service, but seems hopeful.
    And, since it is pizza after all, will The Post ever deliver? Neely laughs, “maybe eventually, but maybe never. I almost feel like delivery cheapens it.”
     
    4 p.m. – 2 a.m. Wednesday – Monday
    1045 Goss Avenue
    Louisville, KY 40217
    502-635-2020
    Images courtesy of Lynn Hafele and Elizabeth Myers, with the exception of the pizza picture, which comes from The Post's Instagram
    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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