TGIF Local Lunch Post – Greg Johnson Guides Us Through New Albany’s Corridor of Cool

Fresh Q for the summertime at Feast

Cross the river this week as TGIF  Local Lunch Post pays a visit to our Hoosier neighbors in New Albany. Our guide is Greg Johnson, whose byline informed and entertained us in the Courier-Journal for over three decades.

His passion for music, food, travel, and making a story sing are  my reasons for keeping up with Greg through the years. Collaborating with Vince Staten on Real Barbecue: The Classic Barbecue Guide to the Best Joints Across the USA – with Recipes, Porklore, and More! earned the team the honored title of “BBQ kingpins,” so it doesn’t get better than that.

A forever foodie, the long-time C-J Features editor and columnist, Greg’s good taste at the table can be enjoyed on his Facebook page, where I found recipes, dining tips, and a savory passel of culinary observations. I would be remiss to not mention his wry social commentary and a sense of humor dry as Chipotle rub.

It is also where I discovered a  post with a graphic on New Albany’s eclectic dining scene. Cobbling a logo over an 1876 map of downtown New Albany, Indiana, Greg suggested the historic township’s blossoming restaurant district to take a cue from Louisville’s East Market NuLu district and let the Hoosier’s claim it as NuHu. (See: Tongue in cheek.)

If you do visit Greg on his Facebook page, you’ll notice he’s got a Friends list that reads like an iconic masthead. If he wanted to start a new publication, he’d have the best staff already in place.

When asked to provide a brief bio for this column, Greg sent the following blurb:

Former Louisville Times restaurant critic, former Courier-Journal Features Editor and, since retiring, former everything else, too. I am indeed an international man of leisure.

Greg’s suggestions are a guided tour for the average budget, lovers of history,  and a full tummy! Here we go to NuHu…NuHoo…okay, a big ol’ yoo hoo out to New Albany!

These are all in downtown New Albany, all within walking distance of each other.

Habana Blues: Cuban, small plates, sweet-potato fries, delicious mojitos. If it’s cooler than 110 degrees out, try the enclosed brick courtyard, with its fountain.
Bank Street Brewery: Gastropub & microbrewery for New Albanian beers. Frites with exotic dipping sauces, patio dining, dinner specials, free advice and instruction from Roger Baylor.
La Rosita Mexican Grill: Mexican. A weirdly large restaurant space, but excellent food. Features a big vegetarian menu and central Mexican specialties (like empapelados) that you don’t often see here.
River City Winery: Local wines & brick-oven pizzas in a pretty restoration.
Louis le Francais: White-tablecloth “cottage” French. A fetching mom & pop restaurant with hearty, delicious food like Ragout de Boeuf. Small but tasty wine list (including individual bottles of Duval-LeRoy champagne).
La Bocca: Casual Italian. Sidewalk dining. Pizza, pastas, seafood, etc. A full menu, from Sicilian rice balls to zeppoles. A full bar also.
Feast: Just opened. A hip, exposed-brick spin on BBQ — including tofu — that offers metal serving trays heaped with classic dishes, and some not-so-classic ones, like light BBQ tacos and sliders. Full bar, full belly.
DP Updogs at Little Chef: Hot dogs and ice cream from a fabulous, little prefab diner, circa 1957.
Coming soon: The New Albany Exchange. Relocating from farther north. Top-notch bar, very high-quality “pub grub,” including perhaps the best Philly cheesesteak sandwich outside of Philly.
Thanks to Greg Johnson for stepping up to the plate today. No matter where you may reside or roam, try to support local, independent business! Have a great weekend and if you’re headed to Forecastle, be safe, enjoy, and  bring back the good word on art, music and activism and put it to work in your own village.