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Robin Garr

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Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:28 am

Food Network loves The Coach Lamp, but who loves Food Network?
LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

Okay, I am just going to come right out and say it: I am so over Food Network. Have been for years, really. She’s like an old flame, full of bad memories of a romance that I try to suppress now that I’m no longer quite so young and stupid.

Oh, I loved her back then, I truly did. It was late coming to Louisville, and I lusted after it in my heart when I read my friends’ stories online about her seductive wiles. And when she finally came to town, sometime around the turn of the millennium, as I recall, I was smitten, so smitten.

I would watch for hours, lapping up food-geek goodies from a cable channel that seemed designed for cable’s original purpose: “Narrowcasting,” sending gallons of goodies down a narrow pipe to a small audience for whom it was specifically designed. But that was then, and this is now, and Food Network left me long ago. It dropped the wrinkled old faces and started going with the pretty faces, and they didn’t seem to care if the pretty faces could cook. I quit watching. Then I dropped the cable.


But my cable heartburn doesn’t mean I’m not happy that Louisville’s Coach Lamp restaurant and the Darling family, its affable family proprietors, are winning a few moments of Food Network fame. 


If you’ve been conscious, you probably know that Food Network Chef Robert Irvine came to Coach Lamp this past summer with his “Restaurant: Impossible,” declared the victim eatery one of America's “most desperate restaurants,” on the cusp of failure. Irvine rounds up a team of volunteers, musters a $10,000 budget, and gets busy trying to turn the business around.

Irvine’s effort here involved a lot of clean-up, paint-up, fix-up, a new menu, and perhaps most significant, a shady, comfortable new patio, which they’ve dubbed Brooke Billy's Back Patio, apparently as part of the re-branding.

They’ll unveil all this on Food Network on Wednesday, Nov. 6. I’ll be curious to see if any further news comes out then.

Meanwhile, my pal Dana, also a local food writer, and her husband Brian joined me the other night to check it out. Dana, who’d been by after Irvine’s “big reveal” in August, said she didn’t want to say anything to influence my opinion, but I couldn’t help noticing the eye roll.

Me, I’ve always liked Coach Lamp and couldn’t scent the stench of failure myself. Its historic 19th century store building is lovable; its bar is neighborly and inviting, its dining room casually upscale. I liked it when Chef Jerome Pope was in the kitchen, and I liked it, more recently, when Katrina blew Chef Richard Lowe in from New Orleans with his Creole cuisine.

Sure, it’s a bit off the radar - just a little too far from the Baxter-Bardstown strip, not NuLu, not Germantown. But that’s not a problem that Irvine can fix. But its combination of good food and good mood seems to keep people coming in. So what’s with this “most desperate restaurant” thing? Seems kind of needy, Bill! ...


Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/food- ... od-network

And in LEO Weekly:
http://leoweekly.com/dining/has-food-ne ... coach-lamp

Coach Lamp Restaurant & Pub
751 Vine St.
583-9165
http://www.coachlamprestaurant.com
http://www.facebook.com/CoachLampRestaurant
Robin Garr's rating: 78 points
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Tina M

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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Tina M » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:32 pm

I was really disappointed when I saw the menu. I have a secret love of food network shows. (I like to watch other people cook apparently.) I thought it would be fun to go to a restaurant that had been made over.

However, there's not one veg offering on the menu. You mention a portobello mushroom sandwich in your review. First of all, I'm allergic to mushrooms, but to me that's just such a cop out of a veg offering. That's really all you got? Then no, thanks. *sigh*
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Robin Garr

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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:36 pm

Tina M wrote:You mention a portobello mushroom sandwich in your review. First of all, I'm allergic to mushrooms, but to me that's just such a cop out of a veg offering. That's really all you got? Then no, thanks. *sigh*

It wasn't a sandwich, though, Tina. It was the veggie entree of the day. :?
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Marsha L.

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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Marsha L. » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:39 pm

Tina M wrote:That's really all you got? Then no, thanks. *sigh*


I wouldn't dare make a grilled portobello anything and try to pass it off as an entree to a vegetarian in a restaurant these days - but to be 100% fair, I believe their vegetarian entree might be a revolving special, or so I gathered from their Facebook page. So you might be in luck some other time :)
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Robin Garr

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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:40 pm

Tina M wrote: portobello

Here's a picture of it ... the skinny little mushroom is pretty much hidden under what was honestly much more interesting stuff. 8)

coach veggie main.jpg
Coach Lamp portobello veggie entree
coach veggie main.jpg (95.5 KiB) Viewed 4047 times
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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:40 pm

Marsha L. wrote:I believe their vegetarian entree might be a revolving special

That's what the menu says.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Tina M » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:46 pm

The other stuff on the plate *does* look pretty good. However, it's such a crap shoot. With my allergies to corn and mushrooms, I need to know that a restaurant has something I can eat or none of us will be going there. That includes the 2 of our college-aged boys that are still in the area. So restaurants are missing out on 4 adults entrees and one child entree every Friday night. (The veg child usually just orders sides, but it usually ends up being more than the "child" meal would have cost.)

It just surprised me that Robert Irvine doesn't seem to understand that. I'm assuming he designed the menu.

And please understand, I'm not saying, "Me, me, me! It's all about me!" I'm truly befuddled as to why from a business perspective you wouldn't want to attract the larger group simply by adding a few options that might appeal to a smaller percentage of the group.
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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Robin Garr » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:05 pm

Tina M wrote:It just surprised me that Robert Irvine doesn't seem to understand that. I'm assuming he designed the menu.

I don't know ... the new menu looks pretty much like the old menu to me, just a little lower price points. Unless they're going to roll out a surprise new one for the show on Nov.6. That's possible, I guess, but I wonder if we're going to find out that the little man behind the curtain is just a little man behind the curtain. :oops:
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Suzi Bernert

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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Suzi Bernert » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:40 pm

We were there that night (my birthday surprise). The menu was actually shorter that night. We had the Cheese plate, the Hot and Brown and Shrimp and Grits. It was all good, Rich raved about the pork belly on the Hot and Brown. By the time we got seated (not in first group), they had started running out of things. The staff was pretty shell shocked by then, but still trying. We are going to go backm but have been busy with other things :wink:
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Re: Discussion of Robin Garr's Coach Lamp review

by Tina M » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:25 am

Robin Garr wrote: I wonder if we're going to find out that the little man behind the curtain is just a little man behind the curtain. :oops:


Boo, hiss.

I suppose we'll see.

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