Baby D's Bagels
$20 Worth of Food and Drink for Only $10
Photo by Ron Jasin

January 2, 2013

Relish generates a buzz on the riverfront

I rolled north along Frankfort Avenue, on through Butchertown and down the hill toward the river, getting ready to hang a left on … hey! What fresh hell is this? I know I haven’t been around here for a while, but nothing looks right.

“Siri? Siri! Where am I?”

My iPhone’s robotic voice responded: “You are on River Road.”

“I don’t think so. This doesn’t look like River Road to me! It’s got four lanes, and it’s in the wrong place. So many new things! Strip malls! The front of an old house! And where is the Stop Lite?”

I found 12 places matching ‘The Stop’ fairly close to you.

“Never mind! Forget it! Just take me to Relish restaurant!”

Sorry, Robin, I can’t do that. You’re not listening to the music app.


This wasn’t working out. So I put Siri back in my pocket and, adjusting to the radically renovated landscape of inner River Road, found my way soon enough to Relish, just down the road from the Big Four Bridge. Relish shares space in a short new strip mall with the reincarnated Stop Lite Liquors, which looks a lot more classy than its predecessor but, sadly, has lost its iconic traffic light.

They didn’t want it,” the Stop Lite clerk said, cocking one eye toward the ceiling in the direction, I assume, of building management. This is a real loss. If the old Stop Lite’s flashing red, yellow and green beacon was still around, I wouldn’t have had to summon Siri in the first place. Perhaps we should start a Facebook movement to Restore The Historic Stop Lite?

Relish, however, needs no beacon. Word of mouth alone surrounded this new spot with a trendy buzz since it opened right after Thanksgiving. It’s hard to imagine how it could have done otherwise. It represents the re-entry into the Louisville dining scene of Susan Seiller, who owned and put her stamp on the popular Jack Fry’s restaurant from 1987 until 2008.

Seiller, who also ran the short-lived but much-loved Paloma on Brownsboro Road in the early ’90s before turning it over to Azalea, has brought the style that informed Fry’s and Paloma to infuse what could have been a bland shopping center space for Relish with cool, techno-industrial decor. Walls are pure white, as are the simple but stylish plastic chairs; tabletops are streaky black. No shortcuts were taken with glasses or silverware, and even the heavy paper napkins feel like cloth.

And that location amid River Road’s new look may prove foresighted, as it’s neatly situated to serve both business diners on lunch break or commuters who choose the River Road option on their way home from work. (Lunch service now ends at 4 p.m.; there’s no table service for dinner, but a prepared-foods deli loaded with delicacies from Chef Jack Beeson stays open until 7 p.m. Relish is also open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and may eventually add dinner hours, our server said, but don’t expect it soon.)

We dropped in before noon on a weekday, a lucky choice, as the place was slammed by midday. Service moved briskly, though, and we were in and out within an hour.

Beeson’s concise menu is affordable (nothing over $10) and focused on appetizing yet healthy fare from ingredients, a table card assures us, “sourced … from purveyors with sustainable practices. Some local. Some not.” I wish the menu named the sources. Was that Capriole goat cheese on the onion tart? I don’t know. The beef in the churrasco steak seemed to have the texture and flavor of grass-fed, but where was it from? This is not critical information, but 21st century foodies like to know these things.

We loaded up on lunch and took more deli dishes home, and I couldn’t find a nit to pick. The churrasco steak ($9) was perfect medium-rare as ordered, thin medallions over a Salvadorean-style arepa (corn cake) filled with grilled jalapeños and finished with spicy sautéed mushrooms and bright-green Argentinean chimichurri.

The onion and goat cheese tart ($7) was simple and flavorful, fine short pastry topped with sliced onions sautéed dark brown and sweet, garnished with mild goat cheese crumbles and plated with a pile of fresh, bitter arugula tossed in a gentle lemon vinaigrette.

Lentil chili ($3 for a cup, $6 for a bowl) was thick, spicy and rib-sticking. White runner bean soup ($3 and $6) was filled with beans the size of limas, bits of tomato and slivers of chard in a consoling beef broth. A side of roasted beet salad ($3) with thin shavings of ricotta salata cheese might tempt the most ardent beet-hater.

A hefty ration of coconut pound cake with caramelized pineapple and a scoop of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream ($7) was really too much for one, or even two, but we finished it all the same.

Lunch for two exceeded the “budget” level but was worth it, with plenty of food but no alcohol still tallying $36.04.

1346 River Road • 587-7007
Rating: 92 

Relish is a killer name for

By SamsonL
Relish is a killer name for a restaurant. The dish in the picture looks delicious too. I have been on a diet and been trying turboslank to shed some weight. For that meal I could cheat at least for one day.

Cheers intended for sharing

By jams123
Cheers intended for sharing this kind of excellent facts with us. I must say i relished reading. Will really about to discuss this kind of WEB ADDRESS together with my personal friends. tv licence number

Thanks for this great post,

By jams123
Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future. contact quick quid

You got me curious about the

By samm
You got me curious about the area. I think I'll pay it a visit sometime. I hope the wait staff is friendly, I need to see that people are doing their job professionally. Do you have any details about this?

Fully perceive what your pose on this issue

By EvanOlien
Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. However just imagine if you added some great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website could certainly be one of the very best in its niche. Terrific blog!

Hey there! Someone in my

By sarazara2
Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to look it over. I'm definitely enjoying the information. TUBE

in the picture it is really

By samjoc
in the picture it is really nice, I like it! For sure many will say the same thing here

Helpful info. Fortunate me I

By sarazara2
Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your site accidentally, and I am surprised why this twist of fate did not came about in advance! I bookmarked it blog post web content writers buy tweets. Marnie Bennett

This contributes additional

By sarazara2
This contributes additional suffering and cost for sufferers. When cancer propagates the analysis for the individual is worse, hence early recognition of growth distribute is important. next story

Volvo Rents has made a spate

By sarazara2
Volvo Rents has made a spate of acquisitions in 2011, some their own franchises, some independent companies, but few, if any, with the size and scope of Midwest. lipozene

In reaction to his

By lassehuovinen
In reaction to his constituents’ correspondence, Town Councilor Jerry McDermott (Allston, Brighton) guaranteed to take appropriate steps swiftly to management disruptions designed by having a celebration scholars.

Your mode of telling all in

By s9z1tmy
Your mode of telling all in this paragraph is genuinely pleasant, all be capable of without difficulty understand it, Thanks a lot. YachtBooker