Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 31, 2013

Tim Preston: Downtown lofts, Flying Saucers and property paramedics: 3/31/13

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I had a great time running around downtown Ashland last week working on a preview story for the upcoming annual downtown loft tour by Ashland Main Street. Now that I’m a little more aware of these properties, it seems I see the tremendous potential they hold for the city.

One of the stops along the tour, which will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 20, is a second-floor work in progress at the corner of 15th Street and Greenup Avenue, featuring huge windows, old hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and open rafters, which is being renovated to serve both as living space and a photo studio. The space has a huge pile of rough, weathered lumber taken from the building owner’s father’s barn in Johnson County in the middle of the floor, and I caught myself just standing there trying to imagine just how outstanding the space, which even has a view of the Ohio River, will be once completed.

Another stop on the tour is the second-floor apartment of Crawford Shockey, who gave myself and photographer Kevin Goldy a quick tour of his second-story space on 15th Street. Shockey explained a few of the subtleties that come with living in an old building (ask him about the shims and wedges he uses under his furniture to compensate for floor settling), as well as the reasons he enjoys living downtown. I can’t even try to describe the interior design work in the loft, although I will say the customized refrigerator on that stop alone is well worth the price of admission for the tour.

Advance tickets are $10, or you can pay $15 “at the doors,” according to a statement issued by Danny Craig, who noted funds raised during the event will be used for additional Ashland Main Street projects. For tickets or more information, visit the Main Street Facebook page or call (606) 232-2744.

Flying Saucer reports

I popped my head into the little shop on the corner of 16th Street and Greenup Avenue in Ashland, Corbie’s, and spent a few moments last week speaking with the owner, who also has a restaurant in Greenup County.

I’ll write more about the women’s clothing shop in a future column, respecting Corbie Stull’s request to come back when they’ve finished expanding the retail shop on the second floor of the corner building. As a fully fashion ignorant guy, I would be scared to write anything about the business unless I was quoting someone else, but with a glance around the shop it seems to me the kind of place a lot of ladies would be interested in.

I asked Corbie about his restaurant, Rock N Robins at 501 Bellefonte St. in Russell, and he reports the business is doing well. He also mentioned customers seem to be digging in to their rendition of the classic Flying Saucer burgers made famous by Ashland’s legendary Bluegrass Grill. He said his eatery’s formula for the burger “is about as close as you can get” to the original.

 I told him I’ve been hearing good things about the little restaurant in Russell, and promised I will stop by there soon for a little eat-and-run journalism.

As soon as the man said Flying Saucer, I immediately remembered a conversation with the ever-friendly Jim Crum, who not long ago began serving two different burgers at Jim’s Hot Dogs & Spaghetti in the Camayo Arcade building in downtown Ashland.

Crum, who was night manager at the Bluegrass Grill for many years, told me he knows exactly how to make the Flying Saucer, although he wants to stay true to his word and not break a promise to the former owner by using the well-known name. Instead, Crum gives customers the option of an Angus Burger or Jimbo’s Flame-Broiled Burger. With a wink and a nudge, Crum said he offers “special sauce, lettuce, chopped onions and pickles” on the Jimbo’s Flame-Broiled Burger, before adding, “You notice I said special sauce, not tartar sauce, right?”

After testing extended hours at the restaurant, Crum said they’ve settled on staying open until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 6 p.m. Friday. The restaurant is now closed on Saturday, he said, explaining, “There’s just nobody around on Saturday.”

Crum said he invites old friends and new customers alike to stop by when the classic and antique cars return to downtown during the upcoming First Friday Art Walk and Downtown Live on Friday. Crum said he will be serving “until 8 or 9” that evening.

Property paramedics

I received a note from Todd Brammer last week announcing the opening of his new business, PuroClean Property Paramedics, at 1645 Winchester Ave.

“I have recently purchased a PuroClean franchise to service the Tri-State area. We specialize in water, fire/smoke and mold damage restoration,” Brammer wrote. “My office is in Ashland (actually directly across the street from yours  in the JSF building), and I will be servicing the Ashland, Ironton and Huntington areas.”

Brammer was working on a site somewhere when I tried to catch up last week, so I will have a follow-up note about the business in a future column. If, however, you can use his services before then, email tbrammer@puroclean.com or call (606) 547-3303.

Puzzle pieces

If you love cookies and like the idea of supporting National Autism Awareness Month, make a point of stopping by Ashland’s Panera Bread between Tuesday and Saturday.

The bakery is selling exclusive Puzzle Piece Shortbread Cookies, and donating all proceeds to the Autism Speaks organization. The cookies can also be preordered at paneracovelli.com/autismwv.

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