In Prospect last Friday evening, before and during the University of Louisville game against Oregon, fans gathered for dinner and to cheer the team on at J. Harrod’s (also jokingly known as the Republican Country Club). That evening, proprietor Mike Francis had his hands full as he was up against a real triple-threat competitive challenge.
It was Good Friday and many regulars were in church. The Louisville Orchestra was playing a much-anticipated concert featuring music with a Mexican influence. And the NCAA basketball tournament semi-finals were in full swing.
As everyone in this part of the world already knows, the Louisville Cardinals were playing an important game against Oregon that evening. The tough part was that the game was scheduled for right at the hour that Mike and his kitchen count on serving lots of customers.
What does a guy do when faced with this sort of challenge? Turn the television over the bar up a little louder and hope that those that show up are basketball fans. The good news is they did show up and most were basketball fans and they all were cheering for the Cards.
Mike Francis has had his share of luck of all sorts. He has been in business long enough and successfully enough to no longer be in danger of being a “flash in the pan” as so many restaurants can sometimes be. His customers are very loyal, and they love his boneless fried chicken and his bar pours good drinks.
A couple of years ago, he had reason to wonder how long his customers’ loyalty might be tested when the bridge over Harrods Creek on River Road was closed for what seemed like a lifetime. Business was off considerably for a long time. One has to wonder why folks west of Prospect only knew the River Road route to a good meal. Hello! Anybody ever heard of U.S. Highway 42? It runs right through the middle of downtown Prospect. Oh well.
Eventually, a renovated, widened bridge was reopened, and traffic began to flow to the east again. And for Mike, that challenge is now over.
Back to Friday night. For a while our Cards had their share of ups and downs and this had a positive impact on the bar business. Eventually, all was cheers as the fans with smiles from ear to ear wished Mike and his staff a happy evening and went home to look forward to Sunday night’s game with Duke.
Since The Voice is a weekly paper, you must know that this column was finished up on Sunday evening after one of the most emotionally-challenging games this columnist has witnessed. With the score fairly close and then to see the Cardinals’ Kevin Ware carried off the floor with his right leg broken in two places was heart breaking for all to see. I am sure it was his parents’ worse nightmare. The tears of all the players and coaches were tough to watch.
Then to see the other players rally and play their hearts out by scoring more points in a single game than they have during the tournament – posting an 85 to 63 win over Duke – was thrilling. Of course, this puts our Cards into the Final Four in Atlanta. Go all the way, Cards!
Hard Rock Derby Festival Pin
Last Saturday, Louisville’s Hard Rock Café hosted a reception at its Fourth Street Live! location to unveil its 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival Hard Rock Café pin. The co-branded pin, the popular café’s first collaboration with the festival, will serve as a Pegasus pin and gain the wearer entry to all Kentucky Derby Festival Events where a Pegasus pin is required.
The pin was released to the general public on Monday, April 1. It was designed by Hard Rock Louisville’s Tonya Pacey who is a server at the café. Pins are $12 and are available at the Hard Rock Café, 424 S. Fourth St. It will instantly become a collectible as is so much Hard Rock merchandise across the world.
With a total of 141 cafes, 18 hotels and nine casinos in 58 countries, it is one of the most globally recognized companies in the world. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise.
With the Kentucky Derby Festival gearing up to begin very shortly, we all need to support the festival by buying pins, attending events and showing festival sponsors how much we appreciate what they are doing for our community.