The Fall 2022 issue of Food & Dining Magazine (#75) is now available in all the familiar places: Louisville area eateries and food shops, newsstands and online. Go here for a preview of the features, profiles and columns, with links to the new edition at issuu. 

The precise order of Against the Grain’s recent reordering doesn’t really matter, but it goes something like this:

  • August: The Flamingo Lounge (downstairs at 119 S. 7th St.) became private event space.
  • September: ATG Sandwich Emporium (upstairs at 119 S. 7th St.) closed to the public, albeit with its bill of fare still available via catering.
  • September: The Whirling Tiger (1335 Story Ave.) closed, period.

As for the September announcements, the Sandwich Emporium’s post at Instagram offered an explanation for the shift.

To our beloved customers, we have decided to permanently close the doors of the Sandwich Emporium. Our delicious sandos will still be available through our catering site. Business downtown has slowed and we are being proactive in managing this challenging environment. Thank you for your support!

In like fashion, The Whirling Tiger took to Facebook:

Well, we tried our hardest and put our best foot forward. Unfortunately, The Whirling Tiger is closing its doors. We believe in the concept, we believe in the community and we believe in the artists. But sometimes believing is not enough. It’s always a knee jerk reaction to blame someone else or something else, but at the end of the day, we have to own it and we do.

The space is iconic, the drinks that our Tiger team brought to the bar were next-level, and the talented artists that performed on our stage were most memorable. We are forever grateful for the good times.

As always, we will continue to support our community and team, as well as look forward to what endeavors we can pursue to be members of the great community of Louisville.

Food and drink remains a business, and because we cannot know the level of ATG’s investment in these three ventures, there is no way of knowing if they were (as I suspect) low risk, high reward wagers capable of being terminated before the bleeding became too severe.

The hard part is deciding to stop. To reiterate: The new normal in food and drink is highly abnormal. The playing field reveals fresh layers and novel nuances on a daily basis, and few operators have experienced them separately, much less unified.

A report in The Economist this morning cited current statistics to the effect that there are twice as many job openings in America as there are unemployed workers. If true, this mercifully puts one oft-cited and altogether glib assertion to rest, although it also provides a jarring glimpse into just how difficult the food and drink business has become, right here and now.