Thursday, March 13, 2014

O tempora, o mores ...

Times change, Martini Italian Bistro carries on
Voice-Tribune review by Robin Garr

Spaghetti and meatballs at Martini Italian Bistro.
"Oh, times, oh customs." as the ancient Roman philosopher-politician Marcus Tullius Cicero said. (Well, okay, actually, Cicero said "O tempora O mores" in the original Latin, but that's another story for another day.)

Cicero's ringing phrase tells us, simply, that as time passes, things change. Consider, for example, the shopping mall. Throughout much of the Baby Boom generation, the enclosed mall seemed to take us about as far as we could go.  What was not to like about a climate-controlled, clean well-lighted place where we could shop, dine and hang out with our friends without having to endure winter frost or summer heat?

But suddenly, around the turn of the millennium, O tempora O mores: things began to change. The mall we will always have with us, but it is oh so '70s now.  Behold the new "power center," the trendy 21st-century place to shop, dine and hang out with our friends. It abandons the mall structure in favor of a landscaped, architecturally consistent ring of stores and central plaza, surrounded by acres of parking so you can roll right up to your destination.

Louisville's Paddock Shops, called The Summit when it opened in 2001, was one of the city's first entries in this new genre. At its central plaza we were presented two new fine dining restaurants: Mitchell's Fish Market and Martini Italian Bistro, both properties of the small but growing Cameron Mitchell chain from Columbus, Ohio.

Of course, corporate chains dominate malls and power centers; all of the dozen eateries on the property were franchised. Until November 2011, that is – O tempora, O mores – when after 10 years on the property, Martini's management team bought its way out of the Cameron Mitchell chain and went local.

Read my full review on LouisvilleHotBytes.comand click to it in this week's Voice-Tribune.