Sunday, May 31, 2009

Showcase Cinemas, Bashford Manor

This 13-screen multiplex in the Buechel/Bashford Manor area has been dead since 2004. Though several interested parties have made false-start announcements about taking it over - most notably, the New Vision Ministry Center - it's currently still empty and available.

The parking lot, which was already greatly neglected even when the theatre was in business, is now badly cracked in many places with vegetation pushing its way through and starting to take over - just like on the Life After People show.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Buffalo Wild Wings, St. Matthews

OK, now I'm really worried about the economy. What chance has the Nation when even a Buffalo Wild Wings joint can't make it? Though my fave wings in town are at Spring Street Grill, I frequented this particular Buffalo Wild Wings many times and am downright appalled to see it go. It was also practically the anchor business of this whole block, which is now emptier than ever.

There's a For Lease sign out front, but why are the windows and doors boarded up?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Verse Day

I always thought the side-by-side arrangement of a Christian gift shop with that great drinkin' and poker playin' rock & roll saloon Gerstle's was rather ill-matched. I actually tried to go in this place at 3795 Frankfort Avenue several times, but never caught them open. They've been closed for quite awhile, but something may be about to move in: when I drove by yesterday I saw the door wide open with signs of carpentry going on inside.

Though the awning declares the name of the store as "Christian Gift Shop", Louisville business databases list it as being called "Happy Verse Day".

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Miracle Cleaners

How many years has Miracle Cleaners on Bardstown Road in the Highlands been gone? I have no memory of it ever being in business. And I've never seen a "for lease" sign on it. It's like a perpetually abandoned building that's just always been there.

Anyone who's ever been a Wild & Woolly Video regular has probably parked in the Miracle Cleaners parking lot at one time or another, and the place has also been useful as a bulletin board for gig flyers and as a graffiti canvas.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Master's International Coffee

This place has been gone a few years but their building - at 4806 Bardstown Road - remains unoccupied. Strangely, if you peek in the window (see photo below), everything is still sitting in there gathering dust. If anyone wanted to go into the coffee business, looks like it's all set up and ready go for you right here.

I never went here but I was always curious about it. However, all of us over here at JSH HQ are loyal to Starbucks and the KISS Coffeehouse.

Master International Coffee's old website is long gone, but the Internet Archive has a cached copy of it here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fashion Shop

In 2006 the locally-owned Fashion Shop chain of stores filed Chapter 11, managed to hang on for awhile longer, then abruptly closed its stores with only a day's notice.

Pictured here: the former Fashion Shop & Home Springhurst‎ location, 4201 Towne Center Drive, still sitting empty since 2007.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wild Oats

Another honkin' HUGE empty storefront in St. Matthews, same shopping center as Circuit City and Linens and Things.

I'm still bummed about Whole Foods Market taking over the Wild Oats chain of stores. And then having bought out their own competition, they did away with it. Me, I shopped at both and preferred it that way.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Linens and Things

I didn't spend much time in Linens and Things. I don't often buy linens, and though I do like things, most of the things here were too middle-of-the-road for my tastes, like Kentucky Wildcats bathmats. This was in the same rapidly failing St. Matthews shopping center as Circuit City.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twysters Frozen Custard

This place was run by the same folks who do the Starlight Frozen Custard in St. Matthews, which still exists last time I checked. Not sure why they used a different name for this place, since it seemed pretty much the same shtick. It was fun going here and getting malts and shakes in this building that used to be an auto repair garage, and it was interesting how they took advantage of the area just inside the giant bay doors to set up cafe tables.

Unfortunately, their location (10490 Westport Road) wasn't all that great - the Tinseltown area is one where few people actually live, they're just passing through here on their way to someplace else. Even their proximity to E.P. Sawyer Park wasn't enough to keep them afloat.

I've never understood the economics of ice cream places that close for the winter. I guess they must know something I don't, because a great many places do it that way. But I can't conceive of having a business where you're still paying rent for half a year even when you're not using the place. And do people really sell enough cones during the other half of the year to make the whole venture worth doing? Me, I eat ice cream all year round, even in the deepest snowy days.

Anyway, here's to ya, Twysters. You were enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Circuit City

I'm pretty sure all Circuit City stores are gone now, as the chain completely went under this past winter. Pictured here is the one in St. Matthews.

I never liked Circuit City. Their prices were consistently higher than Best Buy, and their staff was way too intrusive and aggressive with constant "hello, what are you looking for today?" interruptions. And when Blu-Ray first started getting hip, I kept hitting all the stores to see if they'd gotten a Blu-Ray player in yet. No one at Circuit City had even heard of it until several months after even Sam's Club was carrying it. Finally they got on the Blu-Ray tip, almost a year after the initial buzz, and by that time the economy was in full throttle tank mode and the whole ball game was over. Then they filed for bankruptcy.

Oh well, that's showbiz.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Baer Fabrics

Baer's customers were stunned last summer, when the 103-year-old business abruptly announced its closure with barely a day's notice. The store's employees, who got hardly any warning either, were just as stunned. Baer's briefly reopened in October for a blowout everything-must-go sale, then went dark for the last time.

The massive store, located at 515 E. Market street, was an essential source of supplies for my theatre company and I miss it greatly. Plus, it was just a great ancient store to be in, like some of those gloriously decrepit old NYC buildings.

The sudden departures of Baer Fabrics, Primo, and Market on Market have left this block, already struggling to be vital, now completely desolate.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cherry House

Cherry House was one of the first furniture stores I visited when I moved to Louisville, so it made me especially sentimental when it was announced in January 2009 that they were closing their Louisville location at 200 N. Hurstbourne Parkway.

Last I heard, their original location in LaGrange, KY still exists and is now their home base, though I've not yet been by there to check it out.

According to an article in Business First:

"Whitehouse said the owners of Cherry House could not come to terms with property owners on a new lease agreement for the space at Hurstbourne Forum Center. The shopping complex is owned by Rubin Pachulski Properties LP, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based commercial real estate firm.

Whitehouse also cited other economic factors in the departure, saying that tenants at the shopping center have seen increases in common-area maintenance expenses in recent years.

Officials with Rubin Pachulski Properties could not be reached for comment."

I find it very troubling that someone sitting in an office in Beverly Hills could have such an adverse affect on Louisville's economy, by refusing to haggle on rent for a major tenant that's been there for sixteen freakin' years. And apparently Cherry House isn't the only victim of obstinance: there are six other huge empty storefronts at Hurstbourne Forum Center right now, and they'll probably be sitting there gathering dust for quite some time to come.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Distinctive Home Accents

Well, their home accents were indeed distinctive, even though the building itself certainly wasn't. I dropped into this place at 2508 Watterson Trail last summer while searching for some trendy modular bookshelf units. They had a lot of nice stuff, and cheaper than what you'd pay at nearby corporate places like the super-tacky Ashley and the super-pricey Arhaus. Unfortunately, their location sucked. I honestly don't see how any of these obscure warehousey-type places out on the Eastern fringe of the county survive anyway. Now they're out of business and the place is for rent.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Louisville Scientology Center

Hmmm... has the Louisville Scientology Center at 1277 Bardstown Road totally closed down? It appears so. Their sign has been taken down, the website is gone, and a Google search now points to the Cincinnati branch. However, no "For Lease" sign has yet appeared in front of the property.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Market On Market

Right next door to Primo on Market Street downtown is another empty husk of a failed venture - an upscale gourmet grocery store called Market on Market (get it? get it?). I remember checking them out shortly after they opened and though their food selection was excellent, I wondered even then how they were supposed to survive on one of the most deserted blocks of one of the most deserted parts of downtown. One might as well open a shaved-ice hut in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.

According to this article, the owners had been led to believe the hype that the much-vaunted "downtown growth" really was coming any day now. But it never happened. Some of the nearby planned condo developments remain unfinished, and most that are finished are sitting empty and uninhabited. It's a tragedy, because these businesses could probably have been successful in some other part of Louisville but bravely chose to be pioneers in some downtown developer's pipe dream.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ready For Dinner

Located at the corner of Plantside and Bunsen, Ready For Dinner was a place that would charge you a fee to attend a 2-hour cooking event in which you'd be taught to prepare a couple of weeks' worth of meals all at once, then place them in freezer bags to take home and freeze and serve to your family.

Does that make sense to you? It doesn't to me.

Ostensibly, the idea is that with their guidance, you can free yourself up to do other things and spend less time cooking by doing it all in one fell swoop and reheating the meals each night at dinner. But it doesn't sound to me like something you'd want to do on an ongoing basis, if at all. And for an extra fee, you could just let one of their own chefs prepare the meals for you, and for yet another fee, deliver them to you.

I'm not sure what kind of people would go for a scheme like that. People with less money would just fix their own damn meals or, during some sort of crisis where there's no time to cook, just eat fast food or TV dinners. People with more money could just hire a short-duration personal chef if they didn't already employ a cook in the first place, or get carry-out from a nice restaurant, etc.

And yet the company did seem to connect with a certain niche and do some business, hanging on from at least 2004 until they folded on March 1, 2009.

Their website has been taken down, but thanks to the magic of The Wayback Machine, we can visit old cached copies of it by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spinelli's Pizza, Goose Creek

Seviche's attempt at opening a Goose Creek location may have failed, but at least they gave it the good fight. Spinelli's Pizza's attempt never even got off the ground.

For over a year now - or has it already been two years? - this site has sat in a state of arrested development, with nothing but a spiffy metal sign (probably done by those cool metalworker people whose names escape me but they used to have a studio/gallery on Barret which is also gone now). A "Stop Work" notice is pasted on the door, and the remains of at least two previous ones torn off can also be seen.

It's a damn shame, because Spinelli's is THE best pizza in Jefferson County, for my money. (It would be my favorite pizza ever, but Arni's in Indiana holds that title.) To have Spinelli's be just minutes from where I live would be just Awesome-O.

The original Spinelli's is still thriving, thankfully, at its Highlands location.

This place used to be a cafe and catering company called The Cutting Board. Their logo is still visible in frosted lettering on the door.

What really puzzles me about this whole thing is why it continues to sit there unfinished. Surely they haven't been paying rent for over a year on a store they aren't using? But if they've given up on the project, why haven't they taken their sign down and why hasn't the owner put it back on the market for lease?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seviche, Goose Creek

Another of my very favorite restaurants cashed in its chips last fall - the Goose Creek branch of Seviche was one of my regular hangouts last summer during rehearsals for Toulouse-inations. They had a great bartender named Kyra whose charm and efficiency I miss greatly, and she mixed a mean caipirinha.

I implore thee, dear reader, to help keep Louisville's remaining Seviche location (1538 Bardstown Road) alive - our fair city's number of great Latin restaurants is dwindling faster than you can say "steak chimichurri".

The building has sat empty since last October.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Probably the grandest of all restauranteur Bim Deitrich's schemes was Primo, a fusion of authentic country Italian and upscale big-city snootiness. I adored it. This was one of my absolute favorite restaurants in town, and seeing it go was a real heartbreaker. Why it had to go, I don't know - Bim didn't say.

Surprisingly, their website is still online, including PDF files of their lunch menu, dinner menu, and wine list. Copy 'em while you can for future reminiscing, my fellow Primo worshippers. Their storefront's fancy sign and awnings also remain intact for the time being, at 445 East Market Street downtown. The place has been empty since last September.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Gaslight Inn

The Gaslight Inn was a quaint restaurant operating out of a historic old home at 10317 Watterson Trail. It featured an outdoor patio/taproom that made a nice place to sit and drink alfresco.

Well, no more. It's shut down, and both the main building and outdoor taproom are for sale separately.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Gumbo a Go-Go redux

Whoops. Never mind.

As Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. And if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kaelin's Restaurant

Kaelin's shut down in March amid contradictory statements - either the place is gone for good or is just undergoing a temporary remodeling. There's still no signs of that remodeling happening. Let's hope it does happen though - Kaelin's (located at 1801 Newburg Road) was a grand Louisville tradition for many reasons.

And hey, just a month after they closed, they got a nod from Southern Living magazine as #15 in their Top 20 Louisville Restaurants! Don't pack it in yet, guys. Do whatever you have to, but get it together and reopen those doors.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


After 125 years, Mazzoni's closed its doors a few months ago. The place still remains empty.

For the last thirty of those years, they'd built up a great reputation and clientele near Bowman Field on Taylorsville Road... but then they inexplicably moved to Middletown. It just wasn't the same, and apparently the other used-to-be customers agreed.

Before Mazzoni's moved here, this had been a very short-lived ice cream store.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dead Nextel Store

This place has been dead as a doornail since I moved to Louisville several years ago. It's not in the best location really - a hard-to-pull-into spot on Shelbyville Road - but if you're not worried about foot traffic, it could probably be yours for a song. If you want to sing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Eggroll Machine / Cafe Mimosa

Sadly, we lost Cafe Mimosa/Eggroll Machine (1216 Bardstown Road) in January, to a three-alarm fire. According to Broken Sidewalk:

The fire broke out shortly after 4:00 this morning and is believed to have originated in the rear dumpster. The neighborhood surrounding Cafe Mimosa lost power for several hours today, but electricity was restored before noon. Bardstown Road was blocked in both directions as firefighters roamed through still smoldering building. Luckily the fire was contained to the restaurant and did not spread to either adjacent building, including an animal clinic. With temperatures below zero or in single digits, water from the fire fight froze on all surfaces around the scene creating a surreal hell-frozen-over atmosphere.

The roof collapsed into the building and the structure has been declared a total loss.

Click here for Broken Sidewalk's photos.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

1124 Bardstown Road

I remember this was a psychic reading/tarot card/fortune teller kinda place last summer. Now it's empty. You can see it in its glory days here.

This site lists them as "Louisville Psychic Institute". A site for Senior-citizen caregivers knows them as the Louisville Intuitive Development Center. ("Intuitive" is the swanky new 21st-century way to say "Psychic", in case you didn't know.) Interestingly, a Google search for them shows them coming up in all kinds of healthcare-related directories.

Now I'm wondering if they're the one and the same as the "School of Metaphysics" mentioned in the "Dream Interpretation" flyer I was ridiculing earlier this week on the Karma Cafe post. They were right next door....

And this site says 1124 Bardstown Road was, as recently as January, something called the "Greenhouse Arts Project".

The building must be much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside... like Pogo's tree or Snoopy's doghouse.

Prior to all this, the building was home to a tattoo parlor, which may or may not have been related to the subsequent psychic-holistic goings-on. And many years ago - like back in the 1980s - it was the original location for Wild & Woolly Video.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Strawberry Patch

It's a shame about the Strawberry Patch going away. It had been another deli previously, the details of which I only dimly recall. The Strawberry Patch had decent food and nice rustic interior decor, but only lasted about a year and a half, I think. They were at 11616 Shelbyville Road.

Bonus closure: right next door, there's a dead antiques/furniture place that I don't ever remember seeing open.

Friday, May 1, 2009