Serve Up the New Taste of Lower Town in Paducah’s Award-Winning Artist Relocation Program
Not only are Craig Kittner and Denise Gordon bringing beautiful works of art to Paducah’s growing Lower Town Arts District, they’re also adding a little European flavor. Café Minou opened in the summer of 2003 and has quickly become a favorite dining experience for locals and visitors to the Downtown and Lower Town areas. With a bowl full of planning and a healthy dollop of passion, Craig and Denise have cooked up something special amidst the leftovers of an architectural era gone by. “We could feel the life come back into the building,” Denise says. “When we first got here it was a dead and dormant building. Now it feels like there is something going on.”
Indeed! The husband and wife team has turned a formerly condemned antebellum house into a center for creative activity in the culinary, visual, and musical arts.
Chef Denise Gordon’s experience and creativity are deliciously evident in each item she creates. She specializes in New American Cuisine, which fuses different culinary traditions into fresh and innovative dishes. Denise writes Café Minou’s menu daily and uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Vegetarian and other healthy choices are available.
The café serves lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 to 2:00. Dinner service is available Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30. On Thursday and Friday evenings the café offers an a la carte menu (each item priced separately) of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, and desserts, take-out is available on these evenings. Saturday evenings are dedicated to the best in fine dining, offering a prix fixe menu (set price per person) of three courses with four selections per course served in an elegant atmosphere. Menus can be previewed on the café’s website.
Craig Kittner is an abstract painter whose studio lies adjacent to the café. His paintings are influenced by natural forms and energized by complex juxtapositions of color and texture. They are displayed throughout Café Minou, lending a beautifully unique atmosphere to one’s dining experience. The café doubles as a gallery as all the work on display is available for purchase.
The first week of each month the café holds a live musical performance. “The New Sound of Lower Town,” as the evening is named, features regional bands and singers/songwriters. The café serves a Friday style menu during the performances that run 6 to 9 p.m. There is a $5.00 cover charge.
Craig and Denise are proud that their talents have enhanced the revitalization of Lower Town provided by the award-winning Artist Relocation Program. Craig states, “The City of Paducah and Paducah Bank have shown an extraordinary quality of leadership in making this program possible. Program Director Mark Barone’s vision and dedication to enhancing Paducah’s quality of life is a constant source of inspiration for us. Everyone at Paducah Bank has exhibited respect for the small business owner, and our dealings with them have made us better entrepreneurs.” He goes on to point out that Café Minou was the seventh art related business to open under the program. In the year since, six more businesses have opened; an additional five should open by the end of October with more to come in the following year. Since their relocation from Washington, DC, in November 2002, Craig and Denise have watched Lower Town change from a blighted neighborhood to a fascinating arts district filled with hospitality.
Café Minou is located at 329 N 5th Street. Dinner reservations can be made by phoning 270.443.0331. Their website at www.cafeminou.com contains information about the history and philosophy that formed the café, a sampling of Craig’s paintings, and announcements of upcoming events. Lunch menus are updated every morning by 9 a.m. and dinner menus are updated by 5 p.m. each Wednesday.