I can hardly believe it's time for the spring issue already; time does fly by when you're having fun. I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you who helped and supported us through our redesign. You will notice some new things in this issue, as we continue to grow. This brings me to my thoughts for our spring issue.
Downtown Paducah is always evolving, it is alive with passion, art and culture. I first traveled to Paducah back in the late '90s. One of the highlights of my visit was lunch in historic downtown.
As we drove on the brick Market House Square road I was filled with chills. I had always loved traveling to historic places with my family. I would imagine the ghosts of those who had lived there long before. But in Paducah it was not hard to imagine the people from way back then still there walking the streets. Better yet, I imagined being back in the time when the square would have been a hustling, bustling marketplace. I could almost smell the freshly baked bread, hear the horsedrawn carriages, fish mangers, and old ladies haggling over money. It was magical!
We entered the Moss Rose Cafe located in one of the oldest buildings in Paducah and had a wonderful lunch. I think I had chicken salad on a croissant - and I knew I wanted to live in this quaint town. Since then Moss Rose has changed names and owners a few times. For the past five years it has been home to JP's Bar and Grill, named after the owners Jorge Matinez and Paul Gourieux.
The duo are not new to this charming area. Their first offering opened back in 2000, and that is where this story begins.
Recently I sat down with Paul to find out more about their newest project, "Hotel 1857," but first I wanted to know why they originally chose Paducah. The answer is a story close to many of our hearts â “ family.
Paul's mom was in the hospital, so he came home for a visit. It was during that visit he remembers heading downtown for a stroll with his sister Nancy Gourieux.
They had traveled to town so many times when they were kids, especially around Christmas.
He reminisced fondly, as many native Paducahans do, about when downtown was "the place" to shop. But this was the late 1990s and things were a little more quiet.
It was during this visit Paul entered one of the historic buildings, which housed an antique shop on the first floor, a bed and breakfast on the second, and the shop owner's residence on the third. Paul was hooked.
Knowing that he had to do something with this great space he convinced Jorge, who had been in the restaurant business for many years and living in Detroit, to move to this great little town. And so it began. In early 2000, just in time for Paducah's annual Quilt Show, the newly renovated building opened with Tribeca on the first floor and the 1857 Guest House on the second and third floors.
Fast forward to 2015. With the success of their two restaurants and the very popular Guest House, the timing was right for a new project. Because of the 1857 Guest House having to increasingly turn people away, real estate being available and the fear of losing another historic building, Hotel 1857 just seemed to be the obvious next venture.
Located in close proximity to both Tribeca and JP's Bar & Grill on Kentucky Avenue, Hotel 1857 is composed of two historic buildings that share an interior wall.
The decor in this boutique hotel is on point for a newly renovated historic building. A must-see are the light fixtures in the hallway on the second floor, as they were the initial inspiration for this space. I would describe them as antique-commercial exposed bulb lighting.
The rooms are a mix of old and reclaimed brick walls, local art from a local group of artists called the "Wastelanders," sleek and modern high style bathrooms, some with soaker tubs, and perfect bed linens. In total there are 10 well-appointed guest rooms, two of which are handicapped accessible. All are available for reservations seven days a week.
The hallway is also adorned with local art and areas for lounging. As you walk in the front door there is a wall to the right that holds Paul's father's old oil lamp collection and a curved wall with more pieces created by local artists. As you move down the hall you enter the hotel bar and event space. You will feel as though you may have either left Paducah or 2016.
There are large windows, more great lighting fixtures, an old commercial warehouse/barn door embellished with fiber art and a beautiful brick fireplace. The hotel bar will be open to guests Wednesday through Saturday. They are planning evenings of live music for guests to come enjoy music and conversation with their friends and family. The event space with stage is available for everything from weddings to corporate events.
Historic Downtown is changing all the time, but it is also staying the same. I think this is what I like most about Paducah. I'm excited to think what the next project on Paul and Jorge's list might be and Paul's last words to me may gleam some insight: "Though renovating old buildings can be overwhelming, our concern has always been another old building being taken down, and we are dedicated to the livelihood of historic downtown. We always have ideas and there are a few buildings out there right now that are of interest." n
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