Over the past couple of days the local Tweeters have been pontificating about the fact that Borders declared bankruptcy, and that we're about to lose two fairly popular (apparently not popular enough) stores. On the chopping block are the Borders on Hurstborne and the one on 4th Street Live.
The "What do we need downtown?" question has been floating around for years, and with this two-story, high visibility corner storefront opening up, lots of people are dreaming big. It seems inevitable that a chain store will occupy the Borders space, and many of my Twitter folks rightfully are wishing for a clothing store. If we can get one great clothing store to anchor in the 4th Street Live space, perhaps more will follow downtown. The first suggestions I saw were for an H&M, but when I mentioned on Twitter that Roommate wished for a Filene's Basement, I was flooded with RTs and responses. Everybody loves their Filene's Basements.
We all know downtown needs a grocery store, and the almost universal wish is that Louisville finally gets its own Trader Joe's, but that's not the right space for it. Parking would be a nightmare, and imagine trying to make a milk and cheese run at 9pm on a Saturday night?
There's also the possibility that they turn the space into another chain restaurant. If they do, my hope is that it becomes something along the lines of Dave and Busters or Jillian's. Yes, I know we had a Jillian's before I moved here-- on the outskirts of town. But I can't help but think it would be infinitely more successful in the heart of tourist downtown. It would be nice to give people something to do at 4th Street besides drinking... not that there's anything wrong with that, per se.
Ashlee Clark from the fantastic blog Ashlee Eats has a great post on the issue and a poll, so I'm not going to dwell too much more on this specific space. But this specific discussion got me thinking about the bigger picture.
I've lived in Louisville for 4.5 years now: What is MY Louisville missing? Above and beyond this one soon-to-be-vacated space... what does Louisville need?
If I'm sitting on the lap of the Great Santa Who Gives Things to Good Little Girls, my first wish is for a Cinema Brewhouse/Gastropub. It seems like Louisvillagers have collectively decided that we'd like to emulate Austin as much as possible, right down to our "Keep Louisville Weird" campaign. I have to admit, I've only been to Austin once, like, 15 years ago... and I was less than impressed. That being said, when I think Austin, I think Alamo Drafthouse. And when I think "Alamo Drafthouse," I think... heaven. Once upon a time, there was a push for a Cinema brewpub out by the Mellwood Center. I don't know what ever happened to that. And I don't know why someone with a little restaurant/bar background hasn't started to Kickstarter.com the sh*t out of a Cinema Brewpub. If we can collectively fund a vegan food truck-- way to go Morels!-- we can make this happen with the right people.
Next on the wishlist: besides a cinema pub (and Trader Joe's) the only other thing that would really raise the quality of my Louisville life on a weekly basis would be the opening of a really nice sports bar in the Highlands. One that's not BWW or UK-themed. We're talking lots of good beers, lots of big tvs, good pub grub. Someplace Roommate can watch his college basketball-- multiple games on multiple tvs. Someplace I can watch my Red Sox at the same time the Reds are playing. Rumor had it a while back that someone was cooking up a Highlands sports bar, but that rumor has gone the way of the cinema brewpub out by Mellwood. I have a dream, and that dream takes place in the old Barret Bar space. Make it so, someone. Make it so.
Speaking of sports, well, y'all know how I feel about minor league hockey. Or even NHL hockey. Somebody bring Louisville a team of mostly-white, dentally-challenged Canadians on skates please. Please!
A while ago, Roommate & I had on our wishlist a wine bar in the Highlands, but honestly the Holy Grale has kind of filled that hole for me. There is a wonderful little place in Salem, MA called the Gulu Gulu cafe that's a wine and beer bar/coffeeshop/charcuterie. The have live music and movie marathons... in March, they're having a Dr. Who night every week (LOVE!). We could use a really creative space like that.
When I travel to other cities and see the following chain stores, I get jealous:
- IKEA (duh)
- Trader Joe's/Jungle Jim's (of course)
- Crate and Barrel
- The Container Store
- Restoration Hardware
I can't think of a chain restaurant that we're missing... granted, Roommate is recovering from a heart attack, but I still wouldn't mind seeing a Fatburger or In N Out Burger in Louisville.
What's YOUR Louisville missing, folks? Email me, tweet me (@loueyville), or leave your wish in the comments.