Opening a new restaurant is tough. Actually, it’s more than tough. It’s exhausting, stressful, ulcer-inducing, precarious, costly, intricate, time consuming – and that’s before the doors even open. As a veteran of the restaurant industry, this Examiner has had the “pleasure” of being a part of opening day for a relative success, and has stood in an ominously empty dining room a week into the slow, slow death of a failure.
The differences between a profitable place and a dud are countless – location, quality, selection, price, overheads, staff, owners, experience, luck – the similarities are few, but what’s for sure is with any new restaurant whatever can go wrong in that first week, probably will. The successes learn from those kinks and move forward, the failures learn nothing – or the wrong thing – and simply move nowhere. This is why a visit to a new place should be taken with a grain of salt, and the brand-spanking new Bard’s Town restaurant, theater, and lounge is no exception.
Grain of salt in hand, a couple observations were easily rationalized:
Frank Sinatra, really? It was like eating at Olive Garden. Well something a bit more hip and current was in order, or maybe even some light jazz, deciding on a soundtrack to a theater/restaurant/lounge is no easy task.
The timing of the food was off. New cooks, new menus, new computer system. It happens.
Grain of salt out the window, a couple more observations were not so easily rationalized:
A $1 up charge for “rocks” on a $2.50 well bourbon, which would of been fine had there actually been more liquor in the glass. $1 for ice is a bit steep. UPDATE 8.27.2010: Got an email from Bard’s Town yesterday, the $1 rocks up charge was a mistake with their Micros system, it’s been fixed. (see, should of kept the grain of salt!)
A $48 dollar tab (with tip) and leaving a bit hungry. If you’re starving, go for a sandwich or burger. A party of two splitting two appetizers, a grilled chicken Caesar salad and a cup of bisque proved unfulfilling
The “Loin-ee-pops” appetizer (four skewers with chunks of super delicate tenderloin served with Henry Bain sauce and horseradish cream, $6.99) was delicious, if a little light.
The “Roast Tomato Bisque” ($2.99/cup, $4.99/bowl) was a perfect mix of sweet, spicy and flavorful.
Like every nascent restaurant before it, The Bard’s Town has its kinks. Some trivial, some more considerable, though it’s main issue for now seems to be it’s identity (is it a theater with food, or a restaurant with plays in the attic?). For a place with a cartoon of William Shakespeare holding a mug of beer as a logo and a menu – which is divided into Prologue, Act I, Act II, Asides, etc. – full of schticky items like “The Juliet Burger” and “Much Ado About Empanadas”, some of the fare is surprisingly elegant in taste and presentation (and portion size). While this makes for generally good eating, it’s just a bit unexpected, as is how quickly the bill adds up even during (a pretty descent) happy hour.
- 4-7pm, Monday – Friday: $2 domestics, $2.50 wells, $1 off all other beer and liquor, $3.50 house wine
- The upstairs theater isn’t operational yet, but the soon-to-be “only theater performance venue in the highlands” will be “devoted to producing new work” and according the The Bard’s Town’s website, “each of the 65 seats [will] come with either table or bar space, and patrons at the venue will be able to eat, drink, and be merry during any and all of our performances.”
The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
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