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New Louisville riverfront restaurant 15 years in the making

Renowned Vananese Restaunt chef opening spot in former boat storage facility

A rendering of River House planned along the Louisville riverfront.
A rendering of River House planned along the Louisville riverfront.

Louisville, Ky. – The chef and owner of Varanese Restaurant on Frankfort Avenue today announced the start of construction on a new major project. The opening of his new restaurant, River House, will fulfill John Varanese’s long goal of opening a riverfront dining option in Louisville.

River House is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016 as a premier riverfront dining destination. Construction begins this week on the 27,000 s.f. space located at 3015 River Rd., which was formerly used for boat storage.

Varanese first signed an intent to lease the building in 2001, and went as far as getting architectural renderings for his concept in 2004. But, despite his best efforts to push the project forward, the timing was not right. Varanese was an unknown in the Louisville community at that time, and he had not yet proven himself as a business owner. In addition, the economy was working against him.

As a result of these setbacks, Varanese realized he needed to scale back his plans, thus creating his namesake on Frankfort Avenue. Even while working to make Varanese successful and unique, John was never able to let go of his original plan, and he kept close watch on the property at 3015 River Road to ensure it was still available.

Fast forward fifteen years. Varanese has a strong reputation in the local community and the support of several investors. River House will give guests the sense of a charming “house like” feel when they arrive at the front entryway featuring an indoor waterwall (a signature feature at Varanese restaurant as well), then proceed into the main dining area with a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the back courtyard and riverfront. Seating will also spill out onto the back terrace overlooking the river, providing options for both upscale casual diners and the boating community.

The menu will feature regional cuisine with a Southern seafood and steak focus and a raw bar element. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and approximately 100 jobs will be created to staff the operation.

While River House will encompass 12,000 s.f of the building, Varanese has long-term plans to utilize all 27,000 sq. ft of the facility (11,000 sq. ft of which is located on the second floor).