Jared Matthews has a talent for inheriting established Louisville restaurants and improving upon them. He did it with Café Lou Lou, now Lou Lou Food + Drink, in 2016. And with Equus & Jacks in 2018, adding the Black Rabbit speakeasy lounge to one of Dean Corbetts storied restaurants.
Now, hes done it again with The Fox Den, which is replacing the St. Matthews location of Diamond Pub & Billiards. The business has its grand opening this Friday, April 22 kicking off with all its concepts up and running: The pool hall, the music venue and the kitchen.
While Matthews has kept The Fox Dens entertainment options the same, he has made plenty of improvements. The interior has been completely renovated, including the bathrooms (People were excited about that, Matthews said with a laugh.) The outside has been repainted, the parking lot repaved, the 11 pool tables re-felted and re-bumpered. And, most importantly, the menu has been completely redone, spinning into more chef-driven territory, although youll still have typical bar bites like nachos, pizzas and burgers alongside Korean meatballs and a toasted Cuban sandwich.
Matthews has added some completely new things, too: a pinball machine and two lounge areas, which he envisions his patrons hanging out comfortably in with a cocktail in hand.
I mean, it's very similar to Diamonds, Matthews said. We are just definitely putting a fresh touch on it.
A fresh touch that was needed, according to Matthews. He got his start at Diamond as a bartender and built up the business music programming, eventually helping to open Diamonds Highlands location and concert venue (which is now turning into a professional pool hall.)
Matthews left Diamond a few months before the business shuttered. Near the end, Matthews said, the venue needed some help.
It took the business closing for it to get it: Matthews was drawn back to the space after the closure, encouraged by the buildings landlord.
I was definitely missing the live music aspect, he said. My restaurants are great; I love them. But we don't really do live music there.
At the Fox Den, Matthews said he hopes to attract nationally touring acts as well as local ones.
The Fox Den will open at 3 p.m. on April 22. For its grand opening, there will be music from punk cover band Throwback Thursday at 9 p.m. on the inside stage and performances by Kevin Cummings and Lauren Eid on the Dome Deck at 10 p.m. Theres no cover to attend.
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