Displaying items by tag: investment

New Restaurant Moving into Historic Downtown Madisonville Location

MADISONVILLE, KY (6/13/13)—Over the last year, interest in Madisonville’s downtown district has seen a notable upswing. From renovations and expansions, to the addition of several completely new businesses, it seems as though downtown Madisonville is heading in a truly positive direction. In lending even more steam to this commerce-based momentum, a new, family-owned-and-operated restaurant has announced that they will be both renovating and opening up for business in one of the city’s most well-known locations later this year.

Claiming over a 100 years of existence—16 of which were spent as the host to one of Madisonville’s most memorable restaurants, Bartholomew’s—and sporting the expansive “Montpelier” painting and column/stair set on its southernmost side, the historic edifice at 51 South Main Street is a highly recognizable and unique structure that has, unfortunately, remained all but vacant over the past three-and-a-half years.

However, two ambitious area residents, Terry Green and J.P. Wilson, as well as a silent backer, are currently in the process of renovating the location in order to open a dual-level, family-owned-and-operated restaurant and bar tagged under a straightforward, yet catchy, moniker: 51 On Main Bar & Grill.

With a grand opening slated for August 1st, 2013, as well as a soft opening scheduled several days before, the Sugg Street Post got in contact with co-owner and operatorTerry Green to find out the story behind the business, what kind of food and services they plan to provide, what kind of renovations are underway, how many jobs they look to create, and more.

A longtime Paducah resident and a well-seasoned veteran of the food industry, Green, 34, has been employed in several high-level managerial positions with restaurants such as TGI Friday’s, O’Charley’s, and The Oasis Southwest Grill of Madisonville. Yet, for all his experience in the food world, this will be the first time Green has stepped into the role of co-owner—and it’s a transition he remains both excited and humbled by.

“It was really crazy how this all came together. I came back to Madisonville in April and I walked into [property owner] Joe Thomas’s place, which is where we’re moving in, just to look at some antiques he had for sale,” says Green. “Well, Joe found out what I did and I came in there for the next three months to talk with him. Finally, he asked me if I’d ever considered opening up my own restaurant. I told him that I’d thought about it my whole life. But I come from a family that doesn’t have means. It’s not like I come from a well-to-do family, so it’s kind of like a dream to be opening the large-scale restaurant that we’re working on. It’s all been possible because I found a building partner, J.P., and a silent backer who really believed in what we wanted to do. It’s really the American Dream. It just seems like all the cards have fallen into place. I’m so excited that I can’t see straight. [laughs] Things like this just don’t happen every day. I was jumping up and down in my kitchen last night. [laughs]”

So what kind of food and food-related services can the community expect from 51 On Main? As Green explains, the establishment will offer items like hand-cooked steaks, one to two-inch pork chops, a traditional top-notch lunch menu, a variety of drinks, and much more. Additionally, Green says that they hope to utilize a full-scale smoker, which would simultaneously season and cook ribs, fresh fish, and other dinner specials. Services like carry-out, delivery, and on-location services will also be available through the business.

As far as the new restaurant’s aesthetic goes, Green explains that it will essentially be like two different businesses in one location. As both Green and his fellow co-owner, J.P. Wilson, chose the downtown location partly because of its uniquely historic character and architectural design, many of the building’s original features will be displayed and built upon throughout the ground floor. In addition to removing much of the building’s carpeting, which Green says has revealed a stunning layer of decades-old hard pine flooring, the downstairs dining area will play host to a variety of 100-year-old English made tables and a variety of historic photos linked to our local community’s past. Coupling this atmosphere with what he describes as a high-level of hospitality and a variety of aforementioned entrées, Green says that the restaurant’s services will be somewhat akin to one of our region’s most popular food-related destinations: Patti’s 1880 Settlement in Grand Rivers, KY.

Regarding the second-story, mezzanine-style seating area and bar, Green says that the décor will resemble a more modern and hip lounge, replete with comfy seating and a variety of televised entertainment, such as NFL Sunday Ticket games and UFC matches just to name a few. What’s more, Green says customers wishing to simply dine or hangout on the second floor will be able to do so without any issues thanks to a divider between the bar and the general seating/dining area.

Though Green was reluctant to release the company’s total investment in the downtown district, he did explain that it was “very substantial” and that renovations to the building were reaching over $50,000 in total. Furthermore, Green noted that the restaurant and bar will create between 30 and 40 jobs.

And, truly, the concept of improving upon our community—whether it be creating new commerce or providing a fresh source of entertainment—is what lies at the heart of Green’s vision for the business.

“We really want to be active and engaging when it comes to this community, because we want to be a big part of it,” says Green. “We actually want to have some outdoor events too, like live music and fresh-air dining, which is why we’re currently trying to lease the adjacent, outside portions of the building as well. We’re staying open seven days a week and as late as we can, because we want to be open to the public as much as possible, so on nights that we might find it a little slower we might open things up to more of a ‘night life’ feel upstairs. We’re going to have modern furniture up there, so it will have more of a lounge-style feel, and the second floor is huge. Plus, we want to work with the other restaurants and businesses downtown when we can. We want to collaborate with them as much as possible. You know, at the end of the day, we’re just really happy to be doing this. We love Madisonville. My family loves this town and the people are great here. Now, we have the chance to give that back. That’s something that will make you sleep well at night.”

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Want to try some of 51 On Main’s dishes before the grand opening on August 1st? If so, make sure to check them out at Madisonville’s first Friday Night Live event of the season on June 14th in the downtown district.

Interested in employment with 51 On Main? If so, simply pay the location a visit next week and ask about employment options.

Sugg Street Post
Writing/Photos by Luke Short

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The Green Dragon Tavern: Meeting Place of the Revolution

MADISONVILLE, KY (3/18/13)—Back in 2011, area business owner, minister, and family man, Cliff Nance, 33, sought to connect with the community in a new, uniquely personal way—and he soon latched on to a seemingly novel means of making it happen. While several of his own peers criticized his vision, saying that the idea would never “hold water” in a relatively smaller community like Madisonville, Nance pushed forward with his plan to establish a metropolitan-style gastropub in the heart of the city’s historic downtown district. Furthermore, Nance chose what some would coin as an audacious, yet simultaneously ambitious, name for his new eatery: The Crowded House.

“I’ve been in ministry for about 12 years. I was preaching from the pulpit during most of that time, but I began to feel like God was leading me in a different direction. I felt like he wanted me to be more relational,” says Nance of his initial inspiration for founding the restaurant. “It’s not that preaching isn’t relational, but it is detached in a sense. I’m reading a book right now called, A Meal with Jesus, and if you look at Jesus’ life—especially in the gospel of Luke—food always seems to be involved in some way. Whether he’s performing a miracle around food at someone’s home or bringing food to the masses, it’s present a lot of the time. In fact, on the back of our menus it says, ‘The son of man came eating and drinking.’ Jesus was called a drunkard and a sinner because he hung out with those kinds of people, you know? That’s who he surrounded himself with. So, the meal is something that’s important to me and it’s important in our family’s home. With that in mind, and with a goal of doing something community-oriented, my family and I prayed for an idea. We wanted to meet the needs of the community first. Well, if you polled people, asking them what they would like to see in Madisonville, a ‘cool restaurant’ would probably be in their top three answers, so that’s what we decided to do.”

Concerning the minimally modern, yet artistically-inspired, industrial aesthetic he had in mind—which would soon become a reality—Nance explains that he simply wanted to offer something “cool” and “outside of the box” to regional residents.

“There was this perspective that if you did something here, it had to fit into this certain ‘Madisonville criteria.’ Well, we wanted to break the mold, so to speak. We wanted to do something that someone might not normally do in Madisonville and show everyone that it could be successful,” says Nance.

Opened on October 31st, 2011, at 26 West Center St., it was no time before The Crowded House was living up to its name and Nance’s expectations. In fact, within mere weeks the brick-walled gastropub became a premiere downtown destination for a wide variety of patrons seeking a contemporary atmosphere, hospitable service, and distinctive—yet affordable—sandwiches, salads, soups, brews, and desserts. Additionally, the introduction of the business marked a substantial investment in the city’s historic downtown district, bringing new jobs and added on-foot traffic, which, in turn, brought new commerce to other nearby businesses.

And while the restaurant undoubtedly flourished in reputation throughout the following year-plus, Nance began to notice that more and more of the restaurant’s fans were only coming in for lunch. Though weeks where the numbers of dinner or evening customers were higher brought the biggest returns, Nance says it seemed liked the location had become primarily known as a midday hotspot.

“When we opened The Crowded House up for dinner, we saw a notable increase in profits during good weeks; we’d be in the black when we’d have a lot of people coming for dinner,” says Nance. “The problem was that we became the ‘best lunch place.’ So, when people thought about going to dinner somewhere that was nice, they had two or three other restaurants in town that they thought about. I go to those places, too, and they’re really great places to go, but we weren’t even being considered in the running.”

His solution: serious expansion and rebranding efforts via the addition of an adjoining bar and music venue.

“I said, number one, ‘If we shut down for a while, people will forget us enough to wonder what we were going to do when we reopen.’ So, being shut down for a while allowed us to ‘rebrand’ ourselves and the business,” says Nance. “Now, with the reopening and reinvention of the restaurant, we’re focusing more on dinner. We’re not a steakhouse; we’re a high-end, gourmet gastropub just like before, but now we have a seriously amazing lineup for dinner.”

Coined as the Green Dragon Tavern—a name which was inspired by the original Boston, MA tavern where several of our nation’s forefathers helped to ferment the American Revolution—the fresh, neighboring addition and numerous on-site renovations to the original location have been ongoing since the beginning of the new year. Although recent “soft openings” accessible to Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce members have given several area residents a sneak peek at the roomier eatery, new bar, and expanded menu—images of which have been “leaked” onto social media sites like Facebook—the restaurant will be opening its doors to the public at-large on Tuesday, March 19th, from 10am-10:30pm.

So, what are some of the changes the public can look forward to checking out?

Food-wise, several new dishes, including a variety of certified Angus steaks, baby back ribs, grilled pork “rib-eyes,” chicken, and grilled salmon, as well as appetizers like calamari, “Yukon Gold,” and lettuce wraps, lend themselves to The Crowded House’s original lineup of entrees and desserts.

Aesthetically, the raw, partially unfinished brick walls remain a fixture in the original portion of the restaurant, while lower-sitting, leather-bound booths have replaced the wide high-topped tables; the glass-paned façade of the location has been extended to the sidewalk (making way for a comfortable waiting area); and the open kitchen area—along with doubling in size—has been relocated to very rear of the site. In turn, the seating capacity has risen to an estimated 80 people within the pre-established side of the restaurant. Additionally, artwork created by acclaimed local artist, Barbie Hunt, will adorn portions the original location’s walls.

As the Green Dragon Tavern is a completely new area of the gastropub, both return customers and those new to the locale will be pleased to note a bar area that is fully-stocked with high-end brews, wines, and spirits. What’s more, the approximately 50-person pub-style area is host to a raised stage for live music, both booths and tables, a premium sound system, roadside scenery windows, and an architecturally unique recessed ceiling, as well as an eye-catching paint scheme. Those who enjoy the history-inspired tag of the new addition should also make sure to check out the fitting quotation painted above the tavern’s bar area: “The Meeting Place of the Revolution…”

In keeping with the new stage area and bar, Nance says that regional acts will be performing at The Green Dragon on Friday and Saturday nights. Keeping it open to up-and-coming artists, Nance also notes that a public “open mic night” will be held in the tavern area at least once a month.

“I think music is definitely important if you’re looking at the community aspect of things,” says Nance, who is himself a longtime drummer and guitarist. “I think that it’s important for a community to reach out to all aspects of their local culture. Historically, things that are easy and convenient are things that are catered to locally, and, as a result, you’ve got places like Wal-Mart making it. I’m headstrong enough, and I’ve put enough capital into what I have here, that people who are into the music scene will come and it will be successful. I feel the same way about art and the potential for a full-on arts district downtown, too.”

But beyond reinventing the business and expanding upon the visual appeal, as well as the menu and the drink selection, seating capacity, and live music capabilities, Nance’s recent overhaul of the business has created over 20 new jobs and weighs in at a total downtown investment of approximately $500,000 overall.

And, in the opinion of this editor, what Nance is doing for our community, and how he’s doing it, is a real revolution: bringing new life to historic downtown Madisonville in a bold, but mutually beneficial way.

So, if you’re looking to grab some great dinner or lunch in a modern, yet affordable and hospitable setting, check out The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern in downtown Madisonville, KY on, or any day after, their grand reopening on March 19th (26 West Center St.).

To learn more about The Crowded House/Green Dragon Tavern, take a moment to visit their official Facebook page by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jeff Harp

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City Could See Notable Foreign Investments in 2013

MADISONVILLE, KY (1/3/13) –“Inviting,” “educational,” “entertaining,” “honorable,” and “promising”—all phrases, among others, that were  recently used by Madisonville officials and Sister Cities Commission members to describe their recent visit to China. 

Developed over many months of communication both in-person and through long distance correspondence, such as phone calls and emails, Madisonville’s enduring rapport with manufacturers and investors in the densely populated, industrialized city of Dongying in China’s Shandong Province is poised to create new economic opportunities for our community, region, and state, say officials.

But what’s the rationale for this assertion?

A large reason, which was reported in a previous release, is that members of the Madisonville Sister Cities delegation were able to slate an official agreement with China’s largest distributive energy service provider and keynote engine manufacturer, the Shendong Group (Shengli Oilfield Shengli Power Machinery Group Company, Ltd.).

As outlined in the agreement, an assembly representing the Shendong Group will be arriving in Madisonville later this year—possibly during February or March—to discuss local investment opportunities with members of the Sister Cities Commission and other area dignitaries. 

Touted as a multi-faceted company with over 30 years of international experience, the Shendong Group  holds more than 85% of the domestic market share and has exported their cutting edge, high-efficiency engines and generator sets to over 40 countries, including Asia, America, Europe, and Africa. 

What’s more, the Madisonville delegation was also able to foster investment interest from a total of five additional businesses and groups, including affiliates of Dongying’s globally-recognized Tire Manufacturer’s Association.

Specifically, Madisonville Mayor David Jackson noted that the distinguished Highland Petroleum Company, which manufactures a variety of cutting-edge oilfield equipment, may be interested in bringing aspects of their innovative metal manufacturing process to our region. 

“The Highland Production facility expressed interest in moving some of their manufacturing here to Madisonville,” said Mayor Jackson. “Specifically, they thought that aspects of their metal working operations might be something we could help them collaborate with.” 

Beyond making viable economic contacts, members of Madisonville’s Sister Cities delegation were also treated to several cultural experiences, including traditional ballet, opera, dancing, and native cuisine; were invited to take guided, walk-through-style tours of the Winda Group’s world-renowned tire manufacturing facility, two technical schools, a mushroom production plant, a high-tech LED factory, and an expansive aquaculture operation that harvests customary Chinese delicacies, such as sea cucumbers; were presented with an ornamental, hand-painted vase representing aspects of life in Dongying; and were even featured on local television stations during a formal reception held in honor of the delegation’s arrival and presence in China.

“I felt like we were respected and honored in many ways during our visit,” said Madisonville Community College's Chief Academic Officer and professor, Dr. Debra Cox. “They really wanted us to have a feel for their culture and an appreciation of their rich, historic traditions...They have a population of 23 million in Dongying, while we have 20,000, but size did not matter to them. We were on equal terms in every single way, and it really seemed like they wanted to be a part of our community.”

“The people of China are not at all like the image many of us who grew up during the Cold War era had of them—being very harsh, unfriendly people. In fact, just the opposite was true,” said former Madisonville councilman and Sister Cities Commission member, Bob Simmons. “They were very outgoing and friendly, and they made us feel very welcome while we were there.”

With the hope of offering this same respect to members of the Shendong Group, as well as each additional business that stated interest in working with Madisonville, members of the Sister Cities Commission discussed ways in which we could present investors with our own community’s culture. In particular, Mayor Jackson stated that Madisonville may work with the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts in some capacity during the group’s visit. 

“We compete in a global economy now; it’s not a local economy, a state economy, or even a national economy anymore,” said Mayor Jackson. “To have the opportunity to go and present Madisonville on a ‘world stage’ was a great honor, and I believe our community will see some great benefits as a result.” 

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short

 

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