Savoring Kentucky and a bunch of friends went to Paris last week. Even ol' Ernest Hemingway would have loved it: Paris, Kentucky. Main Street on Saturday evening boasted people, laughter, traffic, and possibility. The new, local-centric, just-about-to-open Bour-Bon Restaurant, Craft Cocktail Bar, and Musical Revue site drew hundreds to 616 Main for one of several soft opening nights.

And we care because? Good question. Savoring Kentucky doesn't do restaurant reviews. What we do is champion all the goodness that comes from Kentucky soil and water, and tell stories of those amazing people who grow our food and our vital local food economy. Early information about this new restaurant suggests it can form a new, powerful, pro-local hub that will boost farm income for some growers and help Kentucky food gain more recognition. So, enjoy photos from our preview of this dramatic new business, and more information below.

Bour-Bon joins other Paris food businesses on Main Street: the new microbrewery Rooster Brew at 619 Main, The Gentleman Distillery at 718 Main, and other businesses we'll hear about soon. Business Lexington writer Susan Baniak recently described the background and plans for each of these three new Main Street businesses.

These three are not the first food- and drink-related enterprises to move onto Main in recent years, though. Mark Newberry bet on the historic Paris Main Street when he bought the building at 729 Main five years ago for Caffe Marco, his local coffee roasting business. Since then, Mark has advocated, cajoled, encouraged, envisioned, championed and pointed out the possibilities in Paris for businesses featuring locally made, high quality food and drink.

Bour-Bon brings to town the concentration on local, organic food that underpinned owner Joseph Clay's acclaimed farm-to-table venture at Amelia's Field Country Inn. In creating Bour-Bon, Clay offers something new in central Kentucky, growing out of his own experiences and building on the region's heritage. 

Bour-Bon's gorgeous looks derive from both this Paris and that other one in La Belle France. The bones of the historic Kentucky commercial buildings show beautifully, dressed as they are here in understated, cosmopolitan decor—lots of neutrals, lots of white, lots of light, and plenty of fiery red accents. The handsome, light-filled, rescued and restored spaces—outdoor/indoor, upstairs/downstairs—serve the community's rebirth, add to Main Street's appeal, and offer beautiful settings for diners.

Argentine Executive Chef Norberto Piatonni and Sous Chef Christianand Uruguayan Sous Chef Pia Morosini bring a commitment to fire-based flavors and to ultra-fresh local ingredients. They promise to offer memorable food.

Craft cocktails featuring carefully handmade syrups, bitters, and flavorings have no present toehold in central Kentucky, so Bour-Bon can distinguish itself behind the bar, too. Frame it all with art and performance, and—economy willing—a lot of curious, hungry people may soon be entering "616 Main Street Paris KY" in their navigation systems.

Yes, yes to all that, with particular encouragement for the focus on local ingredients. Bour-Bon general manager Glenn DeLong said during a tour that the restaurant plans to buy many ingredients from producers close to the restaurant—Cane Ridge Cattle Company's wagyu beef, for example.

The Gentleman Distillery's website offers similar promises:

We believe in giving back to our community and world.  Our intention is to use as much grain and fruit from our surrounding area as possible and then return the spent grain back to the farms from which it came from to complete the cycle.  

Perhaps the new distillery's owners read a recent Punch story: Can Craft Cockails Push Spirits to Be More Sustainable? Bourbon itself (here's looking at you, julep) comes in for some questioning.

Every ingredient choice matters. Every menu matters. Every plate of food matters. Every bite matters, not just for health and flavor, but for economic and agricultural health and well-being. We applaud all the efforts on Main Street in Paris to stoke the local sustainable agriculture economy and bring Kentucky's flavors to our plates and glasses.

Bonus for reading this far: Here's new Bour-Bon Chef Norberto Piattoni doing a short cooking demo in Uruguay. Whether you speak the language or not, you will understand the message of good ingredients, simply and inventively prepared, and, most likely, you will feel just a bit hungry at the end.

Andrew Buchanan