That building, now downtown’s newest addition, Shandies — a two story homage to Southern cooking with international flare — doesn’t only house a restaurant, but now is home to some of the newest progressive music Paducah has to offer.
“The whole feel of being downtown and getting to have a good meal is one thing,” Karla Lawrence, Shandies co-owner, said. “But we want to support downtown, and have people connect music and relaxation to this place.”
Restaurant co-owners Lawrence and David Jones, along with their music coordinator Tony Foo Yong, have brought progressive music back to their historic building. The music, which is set both in an upstairs lounge and during dinner in the downstairs dining area, features everything from ‘80s cover bands to folk, jazz and funk to good old fashioned rock.
“Paducah’s demographic isn’t what it used to be 10 years ago,” Foo Yong said. “It’s now an eclectic medley of people from around the country.”
Lawrence agreed, adding that the music the restaurant is bringing in covers all genres.
“Yes, there’s a very wonderful, bluesy, jazzy thing going on in the restaurant,” she said. “But eclectic is the right word. We have a little of everything.”
Foo Yong, who got his first guitar at age 15 and has been playing in bands and touring the country as a DJ ever since, has set out to make Paducah’s music scene fresh and fun. His band choices are simple: They must have their own sound and style, and be original and listenable.
“People in Paducah are ready for something fresh, stimulating, and original,” he said. “Whether it’s the offerings on the menus downtown or the bands and musicians they can see when the work day is done.”
Lawrence and Jones have used Shandies’ prime location on Broadway to their advantage. On summer nights, they open the big picture doors and allow music outside to, as Lawrence puts it, “float in.”
“This is definitely a great place for new artists to play or even come check out other music,” Foo Yong explained. “It encourages them in their quest to find their own style and sound.”
The entire revitalization project brought in a fantastic lineup throughout the Memorial Day weekend, but will feature music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, along with some weekdays in the dining area. Their efforts are all part of a major effort.
“Underneath the sidewalks, there is a pulse,” Foo Yong said. “This pulse has been getting stronger with all the efforts others have been giving to make Paducah a unique city, with its own style, and a distinct vibe.”
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652.