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Saturday, February 4, 2023

July / August 2020

Evansville Living

Dine Out!

Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse and Gerst Haus When you dine on Smitty’s Italian Steakhouse’s patio, dining room manager Shannon Slygh says you feel like you’re in a different place. “It’s very shaded,” she says. “It sets off the street a little bit to quiet down the road noise. It’s just relaxing out there.”

Mominee Made

Connections, community, and placemaking all speak to Nathan and Noelle Mominees’ values as owners of Mominee Design Build. When the opportunity arose to help develop the Haynie’s Corner Arts District, it was a perfect fit. “Getting to revive a neighborhood like that definitely has intrinsic value for me,” says Nathan. “The sense of community we’ve come to know and experience down there is really fantastic.”

City Stalwart

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum has stood at the end of Third Street across from the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse since 1917.

A Sundae Treat

A celebration isn’t needed to dive into the ice cream scooped up at Lic’s Deli & Ice Cream. But in case you have something to celebrate, the local shop has the perfect treat. The Celebration Sundae was introduced by the staff last year and doesn’t skip on the sweets, says Lic’s Director of Marketing Kara Combs. “All of us together came up with the idea. We just thought a giant sundae for birthdays, anniversaries, and events would be fun,” she says. “We’ve been shocked how many people take them to go.”

Dinner is Served

A quick, easy meal or a fresh, homecooked dinner — Chef Doug Rennie, owner of Just Rennie’s Catering, Café, and Cookie Co. is proving you can have both with the café’s new Chef Doug’s TV Dinners.

Michelada Mood

For a spicy twist on your summer drink list, the Mexican beverage michelada is a perfect combination of savory and hot.  Maxwell Tucker, 22-year-old son of Evansville Living owners Kristen and Todd Tucker, considers himself a cocktail enthusiast and loves to experiment with different recipes. Recently, he has concocted his own version of the well-known cocktail. “Micheladas are one of the most versatile cocktails; there are near endless possible variations and preparations. One of my favorite inclusions is shrimp as garnish,” says Maxwell.

At Home

A spot along Franklin Street — that was the goal for Tracy Watson six years ago when she opened up her home décor shop, Tracy’s (formerly Tracy’s Attic). Three years later, she finally realized her wish, moving her shop to 2233 W. Franklin St., and today her dream continues as her storefront has expanded. “It’s really fun to be here on Franklin Street and experience all the things going on around us,” says Watson. “We were so excited to have this opportunity to add to our growth, to be able to offer more pieces and gifts.”

The Glory of One-Story

With 6,711 square feet, including four bedrooms, four baths, and a second master suite on the main level, the home at 421 Scenic Drive has space for the whole family. “My favorite aspect of the home, in addition to its flavor, would have to be the master bath with its claw foot tub, beautiful shower, water closet, and master closet with a stackable washer/dryer inside,” says Sherry Hancock, realtor with ERA First Advantage Realty, Inc.

A Helping Hand

As COVID-19 continues to spread, innovators like Heather and Clint Vaught, owners of River City Coffee and Goods and Vaught Made, are taking the opportunity to get creative. During quarantine Clint created his no-touch Hook Keychain in his backyard workshop, using a free 3D model as the base to craft his design. Made of lightweight aluminum, the keychain can be used to open doors, flip switches, press buttons, and even work touchscreens. It is available for $18 for delivery or pick-up on River City’s and Vaught Made’s websites.

Thuman’s Cross

Oak Hill Cemetery draws many visitors simply for its beauty. Toward the back of the cemetery, in section 40, a grave marker stands out with its square pillar topped with a Celtic-like cross. The monument is carved with the name “Thuman” and watches over nine burials of the family.

Food Resilience

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down many things, but Evansville organization Urban Seeds continued going strong.

The Bee’s Knees

For three years, JCs Wildlife has responded to the world’s bee population crisis by offering hand-crafted poly lumber and pine mason bee houses. “Our bee houses are certainly good for your garden and the environment,” says Jennifer Briggs, co-founder and owner of JCs. “They offer a simple way to attract native bees to your yard or garden.” She says their houses are specialized to attract and sustain the lesser-known mason bee. They don’t make honey, are more effective pollinators, and are non-aggressive.

Modern Comforts

Japandi style is a popular home design trend that combines Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics. It is minimal but warm, clean but calming. It essentially encapsulates the 2020 Idea Home. The Idea Home homeowners Drs. Hubert and Maricel Reyes have worked to perfectly execute this Japandi vision with the help of Hirsch Custom Homes and Maricel’s cousin Rick Guina of Irvine, California, who is the home’s architect and designed the plans. “We came from California, and we want to bring the California feel here in the Midwest,” says Maricel.


Stay Cool

In the March/April issue of Evansville Living, we caught up with 10 area kids who were doing spectacular things, from winning state swimming competitions to the world’s largest pre-college science competition, in the feature story “Cool Kids.” Since profiling them earlier this year, these students (a few now high school graduates) haven’t lost steam and are making even cooler achievements.

Encyclopedia Evansvillia

Lasting Effect

As Evansville copes with COVID-19, taking a look back more than 100 years ago, we can see the effects of the last pandemic on the city. Evansville had come out of the first wave of the 1918 epidemic relatively untouched with only a few servicemen affected. On Oct. 1, 1918, African American Robert Bridgeford was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, the first recorded influenza fatality in Evansville.


Lifting Black Voices

It’s time to listen. Evansville Living has and always will be a platform to celebrate the good things about our city. Now, with the current climate of Black Lives Matter protests and learning about and fighting against systemic racism, we feel the best use of our platform is to amplify the voices that can speak directly to the Black experience in our country, city, and community.

Shore Duty

On Oct. 31, 1942, Evansville’s shipyard rolled out its first landing ship, tank, otherwise known as the LST. These compact but maneuverable water vessels were to be a key element in the oncoming Normandy Beach operation. It’s a well-known story throughout Evansville and the region how the River City and Tri-State came together during World War II to help in the war effort. If a man or woman wasn’t making bullets or riveting together P-47 Thunderbolts, they were down at the shipyard crafting LSTs. 


Fashion Forward

Joan Fraser believes she might have been born with a pencil and paper in hand. Fraser has incorporated artistry into a variety of jobs throughout her life, but now the 66-year-old has turned her passion for art into a business. After beginning to receive commissions for watercolor portraits, Fraser created Illustrations by Joan Fraser in May 2020.

Come Together

When the Beatles first hit the scene, Mike Mitchell thought they were the only band. The Beatles were it, he says. Today, Mitchell and the four other members of the tribute band the BackBeats still have the same passion and enthusiasm for the Beatles’ music. The BackBeats, with Mitchell on bass, Dennis Johnson on guitar, Scott Mercer on guitar and keys, Bill Sievern on keys, and Gregg Martin on drums, now have about 60 Beatles songs in their repertoire.

Curb Appeal

Yard Art

The Happy House. It’s the unofficial name given to Nancy Kelley’s home along Bayard Park Drive, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “My house is a little on the whimsical side,” she says. “I’m the teacher at school who has fairy dust in her pocket.”

Anatomy of a Dish

Supreme Sandwich

After moving to Evansville from Miami, David and Danielle Hodge noticed there was a lack of mom-and-pop sub shops in Evansville. About one year ago, Danielle combined her Italian and Cuban roots with David’s hometown love and opened Siciliano Subs at 2021 W. Franklin St. “We just felt like Evansville really needed something like that, like a little Italian deli,” says Danielle.

As Told To

Need for Speed

Elberfeld, Indiana, native and self-described country boy Vernie Menke had never been to New York City, but sightseeing wasn’t what brought him to the Red Ball Garage in downtown Manhattan in April 1975. He was with his teammates Tom Morton, from Newburgh, Indiana, and Paul Fischer, from Elberfeld, to compete in the secret car race the Cannonball Run that would take them from New York to Redondo Beach, California. The three-man team, with Menke competing as the youngest participant at 21 years old, finished in just under 41 hours with top speeds nearing 150 mph.