What a busy day in OTR!
I stopped by Lavomatic Cafe this morning and interviewed Burke Morton and Joanne Drilling, the manager and chef. The place looks great -- very in line with the rest of the Gateway Quarter. The space is long and narrow, but bright. It's very green -- a shade of celery on the walls -- and bamboo tables topping bases recycled from Grammer's. (Maybe they got a deal on celery-hued paint -- Chalk used a similar color. I like it.) The wine bar is made of cork, and much of the decor is from neighborhood stores. There's also a door that leads to Metronation, the furniture and gift shop next door. What a great idea: Instead of a waiting area, just send diners next door to shop!
The food will be "rustic, full-flavored French fare," according to Joanne. She's very energetic and "obsessed with freshness." She learned to love food while studying in Germany. By the term's end, she said that she was more excited about cooking than studying. (Who can blame her? I felt the same way when I studied in France.) Joanne worked at the Maisonette, left for Atlanta, was part of the crew that opened Pigall's and then did some catering and private chef work.
She brought Marni Ward, a pastry chef and friend, from Atlanta. She's worked at some great places in Atlanta, including Canoe, Spice, Luxe, Twist, Prime and Goldfish.
The rooftop dining won't be ready until the spring thaw, but it's a great space.
There will be a couple of dozen wines available by the glass for $6-$12, with 75 wines by the bottle. Bottles of wine will sell for about $10 above retail prices, a welcome change to many restaurants.
Lavomatic opens tomorrow at 1211 Vine. Check it out and report back, dear Foodie Report readers!
Lavomatic Cafe, 513-621-1999
Hours: Opens at 11:30 a.m. for lunch Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. for brunch Saturday and Sunday; kitchen closes at 9:30 p.m. Sunday though Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The kitchen will also serve a limited late-night menu.