Dean Corbett: “The era of the white-tablecloth dining experience is starting to diminish.”


A little bit more casual … and then there’s fast casual, which you’ll be seeing more often, too, though not from Dean Corbett.

As fine dining dwindles, Corbett’s gets a little more casual, by David A. Mann (Louisville Business First)

One of east Louisville’s high-end restaurants just got a little more casual.

Last weekend, chef Dean Corbett opened Jack’s at Corbett’s. This adds an upscale lounge-type atmosphere to Corbett’s – An American Place, a fine-dining restaurant on Norton Healthcare Boulevard, near Brownsboro Road.

Corbett told me in an interview this week that he made the move because fewer people are looking for multicourse, white-tablecloth dinners. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Corbett made a similar move in 2008, when he added Jack’s Lounge at his other restaurant, Equus. Today that’s known as Equus & Jack’s Lounge, 123 Sears Ave. in St. Matthews …

 … Corbett said he spent two hours in that conversation and came to the conclusion that “the era of the white-tablecloth dining experience is starting to diminish,” he said.

IL’s Bowling recently covered a panel discussion about the state of the local restaurant biz (here), and also offers a take on the Corbett’s story.

Corbett’s goes casual: The four-diamond restaurant takes a step back from fine dining, by Caitlin Bowling (Insider Louisville)

 … The impetus for the change was simple, (Corbett) says — sales and customers requests. In addition to voicing a desire to see change, customers were talking with their pocketbooks, and the restaurant had not hit its sales goals during the past three years.

Since making the change last week, sales volumes already are up 35 percent, Corbett said, and he’s already seen customers return multiple times.

The average check will drop about $20, he estimated. “But we are going to pick it up in the amount of people” …