Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.

Sullivan, Spencerian merger finalized

Courtesy of Sullivan University

The merger of three local colleges becomes official Friday.

Sullivan University, Spencerian College and the Sullivan College of Technology and Design will now be a single entity known as Sullivan University, the school announced earlier this week.

The schools’ accrediting body, Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, gave the final green light on Monday, according to a news release from Sullivan.

The current physical locations of the schools will stay the same; they simply operate under a different name, the release said.

Sullivan’s president and chief executive Jay Marr will stay in that role. Glenn Sullivan, the president of the Sullivan University System, will also remain in his post.

“While each school has its own unique strengths and attributes, the decision was made to merge all three institutions into the single flagship institution, Sullivan University, so that our students and graduates may benefit from the greater name recognition and regional accreditation enjoyed by Sullivan University while allowing us a greater focus on delivering high-quality service, professional skills, career opportunities and a high-quality education to our students,” Marr said in the release. —Olivia Krauth

Ramsey asks judge to dismiss UofL suit

Former UofL and foundation President James Ramsey | Photo by Joe Sonka

Former University of Louisville President James Ramsey asked a judge to dismiss the school’s lawsuit against him, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Ramsey and other officials from his tenure are being sued by UofL and its foundation for allegedly overspending the school’s endowment, despite repeated warnings his spending rate was excessive.

Ramsey’s lawyer, Steve Pence, argues that some of the claims in the suit cannot be proven.

Six of the claims, Pence says, happened outside of the five-year statute of limitations. —Olivia Krauth

Here is what’s replacing Barcode 1758 on Frankfort Avenue 

The restaurant space is getting a makeover. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Back in March, a familiar name in the Louisville restaurant scene appeared in an advertisement notifying the public about plans to apply for a liquor license for 1758 Frankfort Ave. The former tenant, the Japanese and Korean fusion restaurant Barcode 1758, had closed sometime before.

Adam Burress, who’s behind the restaurants Game, Hammerheads and Migo, is opening a new concept called Ostra with Christopher Derome and Michael Brady. Insider Louisville reached out at the time to Burress, who said what exactly the restaurant would be was still fluid, adding that Derome had been asking to develop a concept with him for a long time.

“He said, ‘Dude, I don’t care what it is, but I want to do something with you,’ ” Burress said in March.

Several months have passed since then and work on the restaurant is visible, so we stopped by this week and were able to catch up with Burress who said the restaurant is at least a month away from opening.

Burress was able to provide some insights on the menu but said he doesn’t want to pigeonhole Ostra with a label. If someone says they are opening an Italian or a Chinese restaurant, that already comes with preconceived expectations of what the establishment will be, he said.

Here’s what we can say will be on the menu: oysters, ceviche and other raw seafood cooking applications, as well as oily fish and “a strong sliders program.”

More details to come once Ostra gets closer to opening. — Caitlin Bowling

Pizza Hut makes pledge; KFC debuts menu item

Pickle Fried Chicken debuts on Monday, June 25. | Courtesy of KFC

Yum Brands’ subsidiaries Pizza Hut and KFC both had announcements this week: Pizza Hut committed to serving only chicken free of human antibiotics in its restaurants by 2022, while KFC debuted a new limited-time-only menu item.

Pizza Hut’s chief brand officer, Marianne Radley, said the change “demonstrates our commitment to serve food that not only tastes great but that customers can feel good about eating. Our customers are our business, and we will continue to push ourselves to ensure that we are delivering the quality food and quality experience our customers expect and deserve.”

During the past few years, the pizza chain has eliminated BHA/BHT, artificial flavors, preservatives, partially hydrogenated oils and MSG from its food.

Sister company KFC is expected to eliminate chicken with human antibiotics from its menu by the end of this year. In the meantime, it continues to introduce new limited-time-only dishes to attract customers.

Its latest — Pickle Fried Chicken available as a sandwich, crispy chicken tenders, extra crispy chicken or Chicken Littles. The new menu item combines dill, vinegar, onion, garlic, buttermilk, and white and black pepper flavors, according to a news release.

“People are crazy about pickles, and pickle-flavored products are becoming today’s trendiest menu item,” Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S., said in the release. “Pickles and fried chicken are a match made in heaven.”

The new flavor debuts Monday, June 25, with each store getting a few-weeks supply, according to KFC. It will be available until supplies run out. —Caitlin Bowling

Butchertown bar Odeon offers up a new music venue

Ben Sollee, Daniel Martin Moore and Mark Charles Heidinger perform at Odeon. | Courtesy of Odeon

Odeon opened quietly this spring without much fanfare or publicity, something its owners preferred. The Butchertown bar is situated in the former space of the Butchertown Pub, and its sparse, elegant interior creates a welcome, laid-back vibe. Think 1960s NYC lounge crossed with speak-easy subtleties, and you get the idea.

Just last month, Odeon opened a renovated room in the back that’ll serve as the city’s newest live music venue and studio. Ben Sollee, Daniel Martin Moore and Mark Charles Heidinger were the first to christen the stage on May 27 at a benefit for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

The venue includes seating and table service. The next event will take place Friday, June 22, and feature The Nightbyrds, Joann + The Dakota, and Joe Hedges.

Odeon is located at 1335 Story Ave. —Sara Havens

Despite shortages, Michter’s 10 Year Rye to be out by July 4

Michter’s 10 Year Rye is divine. | Courtesy of Michter’s

While most of Michter’s bourbons and whiskeys are allotted, the Louisville distillery still cranks out as much as it can. With that said, the annual release of the Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye will be out by the Fourth of July, according to a news release.

The barrels were selected by Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and Master Distiller Pam Heilmann.

“At Michter’s, we’ve made a conscious decision to continue to take the costly and time-consuming steps we do rather than adopt practices that would increase our supply more quickly,” said Michter’s President Joseph J. Magliocco in the release. “Our team is committed to offering the highest quality whiskey possible, and we’re grateful to everyone who has been loyal to Michter’s as we have been working through these shortages.”

The 10-Year Rye will ship out in late June/early July and suggested retail price is $160. Michter’s also is working hard on its downtown distillery, which will be located in the Fort Nelson building across the street from the Louisville Slugger Museum, and plans to open it this fall. —Sara Havens

Thrift store on Preston Highway shuttering

Courtesy of Unique Thrift

Unique Thrift, located at 6201 Preston Hwy., is closing for good at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 23.

“Though unfortunate,” the company said in an emailed comment, “certain business conditions have made it necessary to close our store in Louisville. We are thankful for our longtime customers.”

The thrift store currently has 60 employees, the company told Insider.

For those looking to visit one last time, Unique Thrift is open until 9 p.m. today and will open at 9 a.m. Saturday. —Caitlin Bowling

In Brief

Marita Willis

The Kentucky Derby Festival named Louisville native Marita Willis as its chair for the 2019 festivities. Willis has served on the executive board since 2012. Also, The Derby Festival will start a week early next year due to the Easter holiday. Thunder Over Louisville will be held on Saturday, April 13.

Now you can navigate Forecastle Festival with one hand. Forecastle just released its own app, available for free on IOS and Android phones, that’ll feature schedules, maps, info and a way for you to build your own itinerary. The annual music festival will be held July 13-15 at Waterfront Park.

Louisville student Carmynn Blakely won third place in the freshman division of the Braille Institute of America’s annual Braille Challenge, a two-day reading and writing contest for students who are blind or visually impaired. Blakely was one of 18 winners in the international competition.

Louisville pediatrician V. Faye Jones was honored by the Louisville Central Community Centers Tuesday for championing diversity and health equity while training and mentoring future health professionals at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Jones is an associate vice president for health affairs/diversity initiatives at the UofL Health Sciences Center. She’s also a professor of pediatrics at UofL.