A rendering of the Omni Hotel downtown.

A rendering of the Omni Hotel downtown.

Omni would boost downtown dining: Tuesday saw some big news come from Omni Hotels & Resorts, which announced plans to build a 30-story, 600-room hotel in downtown, just a block from the Kentucky International Convention Center. The high-end hotel’s top floors will include 225 luxury apartments, plus two restaurants, a lounge and 70,000 square feet of meeting space that will be dispersed throughout the structure.

The company says the ribbon cutting will happen no later than March 31, 2018.

While that’s two more restaurants thrust into the already competitive dining mix in the area, the new visitor traffic it will bring to the city will spill over to restaurants located nearby — exactly what downtown eateries are longing for.

And while it’s become a local sport to dog Cordish Cos. for its struggles at Fourth Street Live, it’s fair to note the Baltimore-based firm brought the Omni deal to Louisville.

Traditional Nashville "hot" chicken

Traditional Nashville “hot” chicken

Barrel House Social bringing craft beer, Nashville hot chicken: A new independent concept dubbed Barrel House Social is under construction at the original site of The Oldenburg Brewery at 6201 Dutchmans Lane. The location most recently housed a Tilted Kilt “breastaurant” (yes, that’s an official restaurant category), but the chain pulled the plug about two years ago.

According to managing partner Bruce Rosenblatt, BHS will specialize in Nashville hot fried chicken and craft beer, and he expects to open it this spring. A detailed story will follow next week after we get an exclusive look at the space.

No revamp at Vincenzo’s? Last month I got an interesting email saying change was underway at Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant. The message came from Kevin Daley, claiming he was the new vice president and director of restaurant development there, and that the town should prepare for a newer and better version of the long-running fine-dining spot, as well as new locations.



I hesitated to mention the “news” given Daley’s track record of opening and closing restaurants here. Remember Bravo Pitino? That’s one. Barrister’s? That’s another. Toss onto the pile the Anchor Pub and Club (in Anchorage), a J-Town place whose name I can’t recall, Mulligan’s (in the Highlands), and The Brewery, which was operating but headed toward disarray when Louisville Eats Good took it over last spring and turned it into Ward 426.

Daley said he’d call me a couple of days after I received the message, but he didn’t. When I sent an “Are you still out there?” message, I got no response.

Then an article about Daley’s proposed changes at Vincenzo’s appeared in The Courier-Journal, and in the piece, Daley was the lone source.

Shortly afterward, a note from the editor appeared at the top of the online story saying Vincenzo Gabrielle denied any of those changes were coming.

Curious, I tried to contact Daley multiple times, but he didn’t respond.

For now, it’s safe to assume nothing is changing at Vincenzo’s and Daley is no longer with the organization.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 11.46.11 AMSmoke signals: Word on the web is City Barbeque, a 10-unit chain with locations in Ohio, Indiana and Lexington, has purchased property on Hurstbourne Lane and plans to open a unit this summer.

It’s logical for an established chain to move to a market lacking in independent barbecue restaurants. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit proved the opportunity lay here when it opened in St. Matthews in June (I like the place a lot, by the way), and Feast BBQ’s December opening backs that up.