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September / October 2010
When Larry Owen first stepped inside the Riverfront Condominiums building behind the Old Post Office, he wasn’t looking to buy. He and his wife, Carol, loved their home in McCutchanville, and Larry merely was fulfilling a promise to a friend in Ohio who was interested in purchasing a condo in Evansville. But as Larry walked through the rooms, “the view just blew me away,” he says.
On occasion, Jayson Munoz sports a chic, leather designer belt. He bought it for a generously discounted price in a small Nashville boutique owned by a friend. The belt is a simple item, but it matches the design sense Munoz showcases in the revamped Kanpai, a longtime Evansville restaurant he bought from Sun Wortman in early 2010. He wears it while working the dining room. He doesn’t force conversation on patrons who clearly came just to eat, but should someone take interest in the menu, he’s delightful and chatty.
After a Saturday night at Downtown bars, my girlfriend and I almost are to my apartment. We just need to cross Main Street. An easy mission — except here’s a shirtless middle-aged man clad only in cut-off jean shorts straddling a stone lion across from the Peephole Bar & Grill. He has my girlfriend nervous, and if I were brave enough to look him in the eye, I’d share her concern.
One Thanksgiving in the mid-1990s, Larry “Bubbles” Pollock’s mother whipped up a three-layer dessert topped with whipped cream. Bubbles loved it and asked for the recipe to serve in his restaurant, The Pub (1348 E. Division St.).
Housed in a former Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken joint on Lincoln Avenue, Manna Mediterranean Grill still carries a few trappings of the building’s fast-food past: Diners order and pay at the counter, drink from Styrofoam cups, and carry their meals on plastic trays. But a restaurant’s atmosphere doesn’t define its food, and since opening their Mediterranean eatery last summer, owners Amjad and Kristi Manna have crafted a menu that’s unfailingly fresh.
Apples, as in the forbidden fruit, have a long history of provoking lust. Their pie counterpart has a more wholesome characterization: “As American as apple pie.” How American is apple pie? The dessert has taken on different forms over centuries: Dutch apple pie, apple tart, apple crumb pie, etc. The culinary roots of apple pie variations parallel our cultural history as a “melting pot” nation.
As the air cools and the leaves change colors, summer’s bright shades deepen to muted jewel tones: rich purples, cool blues, and bold teals inspired by precious gemstones.
When Billy Miller was nine years old, his parents left the care of their only son in the hands of his two older sisters. As the siblings played on the porch of the more than 150-year-old Indiana farmhouse, Miller heard a crack inside. Through the large window in the front door, Miller saw a young woman — “as solid as we are,” he says — in a white dress walking down the steps of the empty house.
When Karen Smith’s left ring finger started to tremble, she simply ignored it. But after the tremor worsened, Smith was diagnosed nine years ago with Parkinson’s disease at age 42. The progressive motor system disorder, which affects around a million Americans, eventually forced Smith to leave her career in pharmaceutical quality control. Still, the mother of three tries “to focus on the positive every day,” she says, “not the fact that I’m living with this disease and what the future might hold.”
A swank New York restaurant uses the name Arabelle. It also is the name of an upscale United Kingdom jeweler, and a high-class fabrics company has the name Arabelle. Attaching “Arabelle” to describe something as upper crust is no coincidence: In Dutch, “arabella” means “beautiful.”
“In its heyday, Washington Avenue was a grand residential corridor. It was a gateway into our city.” — Dennis Au, Evansville historic preservation officer, “Withering Heights,” Evansville Living, May/June 2007
Chew On This
American Pit Bosses (1113 E. Riverside Drive) has opened with a menu of what co-operator Mandy Crabtree calls “Indiana-style barbecue.” That style comes from co-operator Donald Osborne’s grandfather. “Everybody loves Grandpa’s barbecue,” Crabtree says. “We couldn’t wait for summer picnics when he would make it.” While they smoke meat, a dry rub is added until right before completion when a wet sauce is added. … Food with Flair (112 Martin Luther King Jr.
Check It Out
In 1929, a young Chicago man named Herbert Block dropped out of college to take a job at the now-defunct Chicago Daily News. The 19-year-old editorial cartoonist needed a catchy pen name, suggested his father, and “Herblock” was born. Soon, his cartoons were syndicated across the nation, and Block would go on to win four Pulitzer Prizes, spend more than half a century working at The Washington Post, and skyrocket to fame for his razor-sharp take on domestic and foreign affairs.
When the fledgling Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra took the stage in a former YWCA building in 1934, they played classical music. The concept was not revolutionary, but the informal group of musicians proved Evansville was ready for a professional series. What was absent from the performance: flying acrobatics. This year, those acrobats take the EPO to new heights, and that’s the difference 76 years of concerts make.
The last time boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard fought in the ring, he lost after a storied career with one Olympic gold medal, boxing titles in five weight divisions, and numerous retirements and comebacks.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2001, on a quiet Lincoln Avenue street corner, an Evansville man rammed his car into the Islamic Center. He later told police that his actions symbolized retaliation against the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
My goal was to eat eight catfish fiddlers in one sitting. The arena for such an undertaking was KT’s Fire Grill in Wadesville, Ind., where weekends kick off at 4:30 p.m. for “All U Can Eat Catfish Fiddler Friday” ($9.95). The final tally was (mostly) three, and a fourth fiddler sat on my plate taunting me. One patron boasted to owners Keith and Teri Kelley he could eat 40 fiddlers for dinner. His final tally: eight. Don’t laugh. These are honking fiddlers, and every Friday, the Kelleys serve an average of 160 catfish to a packed house.
On a quiet city block on Evansville’s East Side, 750 miles from the bright lights of Broadway, lies a renowned training ground for actors, stage managers, set and lighting designers, and other ingénues hoping to break into the theater business. Despite its unassuming Midwestern locale, the University of Evansville’s theater department has earned high praise: Its students have been invited to perform at Washington, D.C.’s John F.
When Jackson Farmer was born in August 1994, first-time parents Kip and Maria Farmer were elated. But months before they celebrated Jackson’s first birthday, the couple couldn’t silence the nagging thought that something was wrong with their son. Red-faced, the baby would cry for hours as his parents strapped him into a car seat and drove around Evansville, trying to calm him. He was angry, anxious, and inconsolable, and the Farmers didn’t know why.
Last April, Ron Geary joined his wife Linda, son Mark, daughter Wendy, a couple of grandchildren, and some family friends at Evansville’s Swonder Ice Arena. Also at the rink were more than 1,000 hockey fans attending the fifth game of the All American Hockey League’s best-of-seven championship series. The longtime Louisville businessman, who also owns horseracing track Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., remembers, “That was a very exciting evening.”
Between Highways 127 and 57 is a gravel road looping by one-bedroom, red-roofed cabins next to a large lake. The road ends at an impressive building, complete with a wraparound patio, peaked ceiling, brick bar, stained glass windows, and a loft with cathedral-esque chandeliers. Inside, John Patrick Russell is all smiles, and why shouldn’t he be? It’s a Thursday afternoon in June, and patrons casually are drinking inside his winery in Southern Illinois. It’s busy, and the weekend has yet to begin.
In July 2009, Randy Moore, longtime anchor for WTVW Fox 7’s weeknight newscasts, lost his wife, Ann, to pancreatic cancer. The public figure was open and honest about the family’s two-year fight against a disease that will claim the lives of an estimated 36,800 Americans this year. From his hardship, Moore connected with Gilda’s Club, a national cancer support network, and contributes to efforts to establish a local chapter of the organization.
Leaves soon will be falling, and the fall social season already is flourishing. This is the busiest time of the year: Each weekend you’ll find at least one fundraising gala. Mark your calendars and dust off your dancing shoes, but first, take a look at the summer fun that raised lots of green for area charities.
Years ago, in a high school in Jackson, Miss., Margaret McMullan’s sister ran for school president. She gave a speech that riveted students and teachers. Impressed, McMullan’s seventh grade English teacher told McMullan she would never write as well as her older sister. McMullan’s secret: She had penned her sister’s speech. From that moment, McMullan knew she wanted to be a writer. Six award-winning novels later, McMullan, a University of Evansville English professor, shows how wrong her former teacher was.
Depending on which music lover you ask, the definition of folk music varies. Is it a centuries-old tune passed down through the rolling hills and small towns of Appalachia? A pacifist’s fervent response to the Vietnam War? A guitarist’s solo acoustic performance at a coffee shop?
While his alma mater battled Stanford University (then ranked No. 13) on the football field, Deke Cooper sat inside the North Side Pizza King, preparing for a stromboli-eating contest. Cooper decided his goal for the competition was “to just finish.” That’s not the attitude the former North High School standout who once led his Huskies to a state football championship game usually carries. But, for a fun event, Cooper just smiled.
Vote for the Best of Evansville – your opportunity to name the best of the best in Evansville! The tenth annual Best of Evansville competition is your chance to vote for your favorites. So, what people, places, and restaurants really stand out to you? Best of Evansville winners are decided strictly by our readers’ votes and will be announced in the annual Best of Evansville issue – January/February 2011.