Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

December 13, 2012

Tim Preston: Ribs by the spoonful, burger salads, Tomcat history and renovations: 12/16/12

ASHLAND — A couple of weekends have passed since I had the chance to sit down and enjoy a meal with my wife at The Lamp Post, the new restaurant in the spot fomerly occupied by Katie’s Corner Café at the corner of Greenup Avenue and 16th Street in Ashland.

If you saw the front-page photo of server Jennifer Sexton delivering a table of entrees and sides, including smoked meat loaf, a full rack of ribs and a one-pound Full Moon Burger, that was essentially the meal they served and asked me to write about.

One of the owners referred to the ribs as an entree diners “can eat with a spoon,” and I’ll admit I thought, “Hey, I’ve heard that before and got the most overcooked/undercooked/boiled ribs I ever had.” In this case, however, it is absolutely true. The ribs are truly “fall off the bone” tender without loss of meaty-delicious flavor. In fact, my wife, who never eats ribs in public because she thinks they are too messy and require too much effort, took a little nibble and then practically kept her fork/spoon over the ribs until the last morsel had been claimed. The ribs come semi-smothered in a slightly sweet sauce, and I suspect a dry rub was the first thing applied to the meat.

The smoked meat loaf was a dish I’d never tasted and I became a fan after one bite, probably because of my love of the art of barbecue and the fact the meat loaf itself contained an excellent combination of ingredients. Among the side dishes served was a broccoli casserole, and I was shocked to find I liked it despite my longstanding hatred for that vegetable. In my notes I apparently felt it was important to document my wife was “really tearing up those french fries,” and both of us enjoyed the light, yet crispy homemade dinner rolls served straight out of the oven.

By the time I got to the Full Moon Burger, (which is served with a steak knife stuck into the top bun) I was already done for. I carried most of that massive sandwich, which is served on a big bun they make themselves, home and waited maybe an hour before polishing it off.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the report, but I was told the new restaurant had a line of people waiting for the chance to try the new menu last weekend. That’s not half bad for a start-up business in downtown Ashland during this phase of the economy.

Today only!

Local sports historian and writer Mark Maynard will be joined by a few guests this afternoon while signing copies of his new book “Tragedy and Triumph” from 3 to 5 p.m. at South Ashland Florist.

In addition to being a great gift for anyone who is a longtime Ashland resident or simply a Tomcat fan, I think the story itself is remarkable. Especially if you stop to think about how the same situation would play out in today’s world of instant personal communication.

While Maynard is an entertaining guy who will talk about all things sports related for hours and sign a book for anyone who wants one, he will be sharing the spotlight this afternoon with a few of the celebrities from the days he wrote about. Fans of the Ashland Tomcats will find the author and Independent editor joined by members of the 1967 team, including Paul Hill, John Radjunas, Les Lyons, Smokey Ingram and Coach Herb Conley.

Donna Suttle, a member of the family which has operated the business for the past 65 years, said the store will also be selling Tomcat “throws and pillows” exclusive to the business.

“We are the only place you can get those. Even Dirk (Payne of Ashland Sporting Goods) doesn’t have these,” she said.

The florist at 2506 S. 29th St., “one block from historic Putnam stadium,” also has a good supply of poinsettias and custom-made ornaments for Christmas, Suttle said, although holiday wreaths and ropes have sold out. For more information, call (606) 325-4692.

Burger-joint salad

I’ve been keeping up the effort to eat healthy, and have resigned that to “trying to eat less unhealthy” while realizing I have not discovered a great diet “revolution.” As people often remind me it isn’t easy to eat right when burgers, bacon and country ham are often included as part of a day’s work.

After hearing Carrie Stambaugh’s endorsement of a particular salad at Fat Patty’s on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland, I decided to give it a try during lunch hour last week. I sneaked into a seat at the bar and within minutes was diving into a massive Strawberry Spinach Salad with a grilled chicken breast on top, and it was just outstanding. It was a big portion, heavy on the fresh spinach leaves with bleu cheese crumbles and walnuts (and I’d swear there was bacon on that thing), with a really tasty raspberry dressing. The boss also asked me to pick up a half-size version of the salad for himself, and was so impressed with the serving he ordered another for himself and his wife for dinner that evening. Stambaugh also advises the salad is especially good when topped with salmon.

And, while I’m singing Fat Patty’s praises, a friend of mine recently received his tab for an evening that included plentiful beverages and meals for a bunch of rowdy musicians, inspected the bottom line and almost stood up as he proclaimed, “How does this place make any money?”

He was so thrilled with the cost for the evening’s fare he decided pick up the bill for everyone at the table. He added that up, shrugged and looked at a couple of strangers sitting next to us and picked up their tab, too. I’m certain I’ve never seen that happen anywhere else.

Don Hall renovations

I spent several minutes last week speaking to Jim Hall, manager of Don Hall Supercenter at the corner of Greenup Avenue and 18th Street in Ashland after hearing a little about plans for renovations at the longtime downtown business.

Hall, who is the nephew of namesake Don Hall, said the showroom and other departments will be renovated inside and out during the months ahead, in accordance with the manufacturer’s desire for “uniformity across the brand.” Hall said the local dealership continues to be pleased with the downtown location and the traffic count along U.S. 23, and even proximity to other automotive dealerships, and was fortunate enough to have a renovated space at 19th Street and Greenup Avenue to work from while the changes are being made.

In addition to extensive cosmetic upgrades, Hall said the renovations will include things like a covered area for customers who need to drop off vehicles at the service department. Once completed, “within six months or so,” Hall said the changes won’t make any great changes in operations, although the upgrades will have an effect.

“There is no question there will be a lift in attitude ... for employees and customers as well,” Hall said.

For more information, call (606) 329-8777.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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