The Closing Bell: Repeat offenders on restaurant inspections; Kroger to offer shuttle; changes at Speed; RiverLink sends out invoices; and more
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.
Records show restaurants that have repeatedly failed inspections in 2016
Many well-respected restaurants in Louisville have failed a health department inspection at one time or another.
The restaurant owners generally fix whatever problems were found, call the health department for a re-inspection and then pass with flying colors.
Of the roughly 4,000 restaurants in the city, Insider Louisville found that only 22 failed more than one inspection in 2016, according to records provided by the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness. That’s just over half of 1 percent of restaurants.
Check below (or click this link) to see which places made the list and why.
Problems cited range from an employee’s cup being in the wrong place to using the wrong amount of sanitizing solution to food being kept at the wrong temperature to the presence of insects. If a restaurant fails an inspection, workers have seven to 10 days to address the critical violations before it is re-inspected.
Nathan’s hotdog stand at Jefferson Mall had the most failed inspections after receiving five Cs, a failing grade, from the health department in 2016, the records show.
During the failed inspections, a health inspector found that employees were not marking different foods with sell-by dates and were not keep certain foods at the right temperature to prevent spoiling. In two instances, insects were found, according to health department records.
The review of health department records also found that two businesses — Fern Valley Hotel & Convention Center and the Steak ‘n Shake on Outer Loop — failed multiple inspections in 2016 as well as multiple inspections in the three years prior to that.
The Outer Loop Steak ‘n Shake failed two inspections in 2016 and two inspections in 2013; it also failed an inspection in 2014 and one in 2015. Fern Valley Hotel & Convention Center failed three inspections in 2015 and another three last year.
To prepare restaurant owners and employees for inspections, the Kentucky Restaurant Association offers a daylong ServSafe training program. ServSafe is the industry standard when it comes to cleanliness and food code regulations, said Stacy Roof, head of the association.
The program is comprehensive, but the standards are so extensive that some programs take a couple of days and culinary schools usually take a semester to teach them.
While some standards deal with food preparation and storage, “a lot of it has nothing to do with the food itself,” she said, noting that restaurants can lose points if they have a spray bottle with sanitizing fluid or an employee’s drink cup is in the wrong place.
Kroger to offer shuttle service from Old Louisville to Germantown store
Kroger is hoping to calm concerns about access to quality groceries by offering a free shuttle service from Old Louisville to the Goss Avenue Kroger.
The Cincinnati-based company announced this month that it would shutter its Second Street location after Kroger and its landlord couldn’t reach an agreement regarding the lease. Property owner State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio is looking to sell the lot and wanted Kroger to sign a five-year lease rather than the typical one-year lease.
Old Louisville neighborhood and city leaders raised fears that the neighborhood’s elderly population would be negatively impacted by the closure.
Council members David James (D-6) and Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) are hosting a rally to keep Kroger in Old Louisville. It’s set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Kroger, 924 S. 2nd St.
“Kroger truly appreciates that those organizing the rally care about this store,” Tim McGurk, a spokesman for Kroger, said in an email. “Unfortunately, the rally cannot keep the store open because the landlord repeatedly refused to renew Kroger’s lease for another year.”
However, to accommodate customers, Kroger will offer a free shuttle service every Thursday, the store’s senior discount day, to the Kroger on Goss Avenue, McGurk said. The service will start on Feb. 2.
“We do not have an end date in mind for the shuttle service,” McGurk said in an email exchange. “It will all depend on how many shoppers use it.”
“We are currently surveying managers of the larger apartment buildings throughout Old Louisville to determine where there is interest and need,” he said in the email. “The goal is simply to assist the largest number of individuals who need transportation. The exact route and times will be announced next week.” —Caitlin Bowling
Erika Holmquist-Wall becomes Speed’s chief curator
This week, the Speed Art Museum announced two position changes, as Erika Holmquist-Wall was named chief curator, succeeding Scott Erbes, who chose to return to his former position of curator of decorative arts and design.
Holmquist-Wall, who has worked at the museum since 2014 as the curator of European and American paintings and sculptures, brings with her a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience from working previously at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
“Erika’s extensive experience in a major institution, plus her spirit of teamwork and relationship with collectors is phenomenal,” said Speed CEO Ghislain d’Humieres in a press release.
Erbes, meanwhile, helped guide the reinstallation and design of newly renovated museum last year and also had the task of creating the small downtown temporary gallery “Local Speed” during the three-year closure. He’s been at the Speed since 1999.
“When I arrived at the Speed in 2013, the Speed was closed, offices were in NuLu downtown, the collection was in storage and there was no chief curator,” said d’Humieres. “Within a couple of weeks, I realized Scott Erbes was the leader we needed to help manage and create the transition to the new Speed. His great passion is curating, but he reluctantly agreed to become chief curator. He is extremely reliable, dedicated to the institution, hard-working and organized.”
The Speed celebrates its 90th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 21, with 12 straight hours of events. —Sara Havens
CVB kicks off a new ‘Bourbon & Biscuits’ web series
To further emphasize Louisville’s two finest features, the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a new monthly web series that’ll focus on Kentucky-specific recipes and bourbon cocktails. The first episode of “Bourbon & Biscuits” premiered Thursday, Jan. 18, and featured hosts Stacey Yates, vice president of marketing communications for the visitors bureau, and Jessica Dillree, marketing communications manager.
Yates whipped up some biscuits and talked about her grandmothers’ influences on her cooking style, while Dillree concocted the Kentucky mimosa made with Old Forester. Future episodes will include the Hot Brown, benedictine, burgoo, fried chicken, modjeskas, the mint julep and the old fashioned, among others.
The series will be shared with companies around the country looking at destinations to host events and conferences, as well as to potential tourists — and anyone, really, who likes a good bourbon and biscuit.
“With two of the core pillars of Louisville’s brand as culinary and bourbon, a series emphasizing these assets made promotional sense,” said Zack Davis, the CVB’s director of marketing, in a press release. “It is a subtle way to keep Louisville top of mind.”
Check out the first episode on YouTube. —Sara Havens
Spalding creates Muhammad Ali Scholarship
Spalding University has created a scholarship program to honor Muhammad Ali.
Traditional, first-degree students will receive up to $5,000 annually, and up to $20,000 over four years.
Ali has close connections to the university and its president, Tori Murden McClure. In his early years, Ali boxed at the Columbia Gym, now Spalding’s University Center, and worked in the university’s library.
The university said that McClure “was hired by Ali in 1999 as the first employee on staff of the Ali Center and had a personal relationship with him and his wife, Lonnie, who blessed the creation of the scholarship honoring her husband.”
“Muhammad was one of the most compassionate human beings I’ve ever met. He knew each person has their own hurts and pains,” McClure said in a press release. “As an institution, Spalding tries to address hurts and needs both at the community and individual level. The Muhammad Ali Scholarship will address unseen needs and bridge the financial gap between federal and state student aid and the cost of a college education.”
The university said that the first scholars will be notified in spring. Spalding told IL via email that the Ali Scholarship will be awarded to students based on financial aid applications and other criteria. The university said it expects the scholarship to help about 475 students annually.
RiverLink reports 80,000 daily river crossings; sends out invoices
An average of nearly 80,000 vehicles are crossing the Ohio River Bridges daily, according to new RiverLink data.
Meanwhile, motorists without prepaid RiverLink accounts will soon receive their initial invoice.
RiverLink said in a press release this week that in the second week of tolling, Jan. 9 to Jan. 13, nearly 400,000 motorists crossed the three bridges. The Lincoln and Kennedy bridges each are seeing about 33,000 daily crossings, while about 15,000 motorists cross the Lewis & Clark Bridge every day. Crossings cost as little as $1 for frequent users.
About 52.5 percent of motorists used a transponder, an electronic device that is placed beneath the vehicle’s windshield. Sensors on the bridges will communicate with the transponder, while cameras will capture license plates. None of the bridges have toll booths, and drivers do not have to slow down. Nearly 193,000 transponders have been requested.
RiverLink also said this week that people without prepaid RiverLink accounts will receive their initial invoices for river crossings soon.
“Two one-way crossings in a passenger vehicle, over any of the tolled bridges, will trigger an invoice,” RiverLink said. “Any additional crossings in the vehicle are collected for the next 15 days, and an invoice is mailed to the owner of the vehicle.”
People have 30 days to pay the bill. Those who don’t will receive a second bill that will include a $5 administrative fee and which has to be paid in 20 days. Failure to pay the second bill will trigger a third bill and an additional $25 violation fee. If the third bill is not paid within 30 days, RiverLink will forward the account to collections, which will lead to an additional $30 fee. Bills can be paid online, by mail or in person.
Construction on the $2.3 billion Ohio River Bridges Project began in 2013. Officials from Kentucky and Indiana have said the project would reduce traffic congestion, increase public safety and produce an economic impact of nearly $87 billion over 30 years. Through 2054, tolling revenues are projected to generate a surplus of about $3 billion. —Boris Ladwig
ElderServe relocating to Old Louisville
ElderServe, which merged with GuardiaCare seven months ago, is relocating its administrative offices to GuardiaCare’s offices on West Breckinridge Street in Old Louisville. The 10,000-square-foot space will house the 36 full‐time employees and 65 part‐time employees.
The inside of the building is being renovated to better house the staff. This move comes with help for funding by Atria Senior Living and the Gheens Foundation, as well as a grant from the Louisville Metro Council Neighborhood Development Fund.
The more than 50-year old ElderServe is one of the largest nonprofits in Louisville devoted to serve the aging community. It provides services to more than 3,000 people a year in care management, companionship, guardianship, financial management and more.
“Our recent merger means we can serve seniors better through complementary services and combined resources,” said Julie Guenthner, chief executive of ElderServe in a news release. “Moving into our own building allows us to dramatically reduce our occupancy and operating costs, creating efficiencies and considerable savings in the short term. In the long term, the move positions us for smart growth, the expansion of services for local seniors and ultimately helps us further our mission.” —-Melissa Chipman