A lot has been made of Paducah's "Midtown revival." With the construction of Independence Bank's landmark branch, the resurgence of the historic Coca-Cola plant and the popularity of Midtown Market, there was one, very noticeable thing missing: a restaurant.
Owner Paul Nielsen and Executive Chef Channing Langston, the pair behind the newly opened Broadway City Pub, hope to change that.
The restaurant, located at the confluence of Midtown landmarks, used to be the Star Neighborhood Bar & Grill. After it closed, Neilsen was looking to get into the restaurant business, so he started renovations on the building last July. He opened The Star Bistro with a business partner, who also served as the head chef, in October. Within weeks, Neilsen realized it wasn't the right fit.
"I have never been in the restaurant business before, and I misjudged (the chef's) ability and knowledge," Neilsen said. "I gave people too much say. So I backed up and regrouped. I had put almost $300,000 into the project already and was watching the comments on the Internet, so I knew we had to revamp the restaurant."
That's when Neilsen met Langston and Robert Carter, Broadway City Pub's general manager. The pair had extensive restaurant experience and wanted to guide the building back to serving the niche neighborhood.
"We aren't on the Interstate 24 path of restaurants," Langston said. "This is a local place, a neighborhood spot. We wanted to give people something casual, easy, simple and a lot of fun."
So the Broadway City Pub was born. With an outdoor patio that overlooks the Midtown scenery, engaging music and a sleek new menu, the three are hoping the pub has staying power.
Langston, who has worked in several other Paducah restaurants, finally gets a say on the food she gets to cook. The result is an eclectic menu, with everything from pub-staple bangers and mash to Reuben potato skins. The group even created a burger requisition form, where patrons can check off the specialized, cook-to-order concoction of their food dreams.
"I originally wanted to be a pastry chef, but as I got older I found that I just wanted to make people happy," Langston said. "When I am happy, the food is better. We play music, laugh a lot. There's a cliche that the food is made with love, but there's some truth to that here."
The restaurant started with a soft opening last week - no advertising, no marketing. But word got around fast, and Broadway City Pub's open sign drew in customers.
"Friday, we were totally swamped," Neilsen said. "People understand it's the first week, and there are those opening glitches. But I have heard a lot of positive feedback. Everyone is telling me that people around town are talking about it. We just want to thank everyone for allowing us another go-round."