NA food & drink news: Coqui’s Café, Mom and Pops and Ian Hall’s new concept.


Lately there has been news in this space about the move of Habana Blues, the advent of Big Four Burgers + Beer NA, the expansion of Aladdin’s Cafe and the return of Israel Landin (Delicias de Mexico). Of course, Earth Friends Cafe now occupies the kitchen at Bank Street Brewhouse.

But there is more.

As though to answer the question asked by NAC just last month

STIR THE MEMORIES: Little Chef to receive new life, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

NEW ALBANY — A local couple plans to reopen the former Little Chef restaurant under a different name, but still incorporating the “greasy spoon diner feel” that made the café a New Albany staple for more than 50 years.

Elvin and Stephanie Torres are eying a soft opening of Coqui’s Café in mid-May at the former Little Chef, which is located at 147 E. Market St.

Isn’t it odd that the composer of N and T headlines chose to provide the name no longer used, rather than the one the building soon will bear? Ah, the mysteries of journalism.

Meanwhile, Mom and Pop’s Cone Corner has returned.

Keeping it in the family: Mom & Pops in New Albany has new owners, but familiar faces, by Chris Morris (N and T)

NEW ALBANY — Jill and Casey Hornung decided about six weeks ago to open Mom & Pops Cone Corner after purchasing the property three months ago. While the two have never owned a business, they know plenty about Mom & Pops.

It’s in their blood.

Casey’s uncle, Bob Hornung, owned and operated the business for 29 years and Casey helped with cutting the grass and with some other maintenance issues. Jill worked at the business from seventh grade through high school. And the two just happen to live right next door to Mom & Pops.

C’mon, editor guys: Pop’s — the possessive, and all that.

I’d have enjoyed breaking the story on this one, but vowed silence.

New Albany Exchange owner working on a new concept, by Caitlin Bowling (Louisville Business First)

Ian Hall, owner of The Exchange Pub and Kitchen, is planning a second restaurant — but it won’t be another Exchange.

I heard through the grapevine that Hall was looking at opening a steakhouse in the former Habana Blues space at 148 E. Market St. in New Albany. Habana Blues closed in the last couple of weeks. The restaurant is moving two blocks away to 320 Pearl St. but has not reopened.

I gave Hall a call, and he confirmed that he is in the preliminary planning phase for a higher-end steak and seafood restaurant.

“We are working on a project, but nothing has been confirmed yet,” Hall said.

Verily, blog readers generally only tolerate blog articles about sexy dog sweaters and theocratic prayer cabals, and then, when a local food and drink establishment is discussed here — zoom goes the page views.

Work is ongoing toward the New Albany Restaurant and Bar Association (NARBA). The question now: Will NARBA be represented at Boomtown? Only that guy writing checks to clothe canines knows for sure.