News and Tribune

Homepage

August 17, 2013

A SEAT AT THE TABLE: Restaurants ready to capitalize on Big Four Bridge’s impending opening

JEFFERSONVILLE — When the conversion of the former railroad bridge crossing the Ohio River began, the concept was that residents of Southern Indiana and Louisville could have easy access to the amenities on the other side of the river.

It would be a way to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise and grab a quick bite to eat.

A number of restaurateurs had the same idea. And when bicyclists and pedestrians are able to finally cross the Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge, the options available to them will have substantially expanded.

Right at the foot of the bridge will be Pearl Street Treats, a frozen yogurt shop. Walk to the end of Chestnut Street and you will have your option of a gastropub and a fast-casual restaurant with a host of craft beers on tap. Round the corner onto Riverside Drive, and a Mediterranean restaurant with a riverfront view is available for walkers.

“I think its great they’re coming to downtown Jeffersonville,” said Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street, Inc. “It’s going to contribute to the whole area around the Big Four Bridge.”

BIG FOUR BURGERS + BEER

One of those new places will be Big Four Burgers + Beer, which is moving into the former Third Base Tavern building on Spring Street.

The new operators of the restaurant are busy renovating the nearly 8,000-square-foot space, which includes about 1,700 square feet of outdoor space via a deck that climbs the three stories up the side of the building.

Jerry Becht, the property owner, said he bought the building through the Clark County sheriff’s sale because of the location, the river view and because the building had a lot of square footage.

“I buy and sell houses and rent property and stuff, so this is a little out of my realm of expertise,” he said. “[But] I took a chance on the property. I think it had a lot of potential. It needs someone like Matt to take it to the next level.”

Matt McMahan is developing the concept for the business that will become Big Four Burgers + Beer. The restaurant and bar will be his seventh food service venture; he also operates Irish Exit in New Albany.

To pay for the renovations, McMahan is putting an estimated $100,000 into the property, along with a $50,000 forgivable loan from the Redevelopment Commission and a $10,000 Jeffersonville Main Street facade grant.

He explained the concept is to have fast-casual dining on the first floor with a walk-up counter. There will be a large amount of outdoor seating on the patio adjacent to the building.

The second floor will include a bar and game room, with another area for sit-down dining. McMahan said the only space in the entire building that will be 21 and older is the bar, where he plans to have about 30 beers on tap. There is also space upstairs to host live entertainment.

The third floor will have limited access and likely only be open for private parties and special events like Thunder Over Louisville.

But the most impressive feature of the building is the three-story deck and its view.

“I think it will be one of the best locations that I’ve ever had,” McMahan said. “I think it’s the best of both worlds from a restaurant standpoint.”

He said the concept would fill a void in downtown Jeffersonville, allowing people to walk across the Big Four Bridge, grab a burger and be back on their way.

“You can walk over to a park over in Louisville and over here you get all of the shopping and dining,” McMahan said.

He and Becht are counting on that.

“The new bridge, I think is really going to help,” Becht said. “I wouldn’t say it was the most important thing, but it helped play in my decision to buy.”

The business partners hope to be open in October.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
04_19_schimpffs_3w.jpg

5-year-old Nicholas Garrison is handed a lemon drop, while 6-year-old Thomas and 4-year-old Walker Sturgeon, try theirs at Schimpff's Confectionery Friday afternoon in Jeffersonville.

LATEST NEWS POSTS
SOUTHERN INDIANA SPORTS

LOCAL OPINIONS
LOCAL FEATURES
EVENTS CALENDAR
e-EDITION
Thunder Over Louisville slideshow


Click on any image above to purchase these photos and more.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
SEASONAL CONTENT
Rauch Foundation's 2014 Imagine Awards
Facebook
Must Read
Twitter Updates
AP VIDEO
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
MARQUEE TEXT ADS