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Brewpub may help save floundering downtown

My Opinion
Alan Stewart, Staff Writer

In the Disney Pixar animated film ‘Finding Nemo,’ there’s a scene where several pelicans are watching as another pelican ‘ stay with me here ‘ is being choked by two fish inside his mouth. Nigel, one of pelicans who is watching, says, ‘Reckon somebody oughta help the poor guy,’ as the other pelicans voice their agreement and nod in approval to Nigel’s assessment of the situation. The only trouble is those who agree sit and do nothing as one of their own flops and flounders on a boat dock, struggling to breathe. ‘Well, don’t everybody fly off at once,’ Nigel says, as he flies off to try and aid his friend.
It’s no secret downtown Corydon is losing traction when it comes to being the place to be. People en route to the I-64 corridor to do their shopping casually cruise past places they could just as easily purchase their wares in favor of the big box store or head to a national chain restaurant to eat. So, in many ways, this town is a lot like that choking pelican.
Everyone knows and agrees and wants something done, but, in reality, no one wants to be the bloke who tries to rescue it.
Recently, it was revealed that Nathan Blank and a group of investors may open a micro-brewery/brewpub and brick-oven pizza restaurant where Magdalena’s Restaurant and Caf’ on the Square is currently located along Beaver Street south of the Corydon town square.
Like the place, or not, losing Mag’s is unfortunate. It hurts the town in much the same way that other Corydon staples Jocko’s and Granny’s Ideal Restaurant did when they went out of business. You don’t run a local establishment for two decades without establishing relationships and doing something right. Magdalena’s will be missed. (Jenny Rog, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Peter, has indicated they may relocate.)
That said, Blank’s plan sounds like something that could have legs and could give a shot in the arm to help make downtown Corydon a hub of activity.
First, it keeps an eatery downtown, with an added bonus of not being a chain restaurant and offering unique food fare.
Second, it marries entertainment (a factor sorely lacking downtown when Hayswood Theatre isn’t in session) with alcohol, something Harrison County wineries already do and something Blank already does with his incredibly popular Southern Indiana Uncorked wine-tasting festival held each year at the Harrison County Fairgrounds.
Third, people can’t get premium quality, hand-crafted beer brewed, cellared, and served on the premises anywhere else locally. They’d have to drive to New Albany or Louisville to the east or Evansville to the west. Being unique is a good thing.
Aesthetically, the place should be wonderful. Blank says the first-floor dining space would be family-friendly and feature an Irish pub d’cor with primarily wooden elements, rich paint colors and areas of exposed brick. The second-floor dining area would have a mostly open floor plan that flows into the bar area at the north end of the building. On one end of the second floor would be a stage for local and regional talents to perform.
There’s no real way to tell if Blank’s plan is going to work, but he deserves a tip of the cap for stepping out and trying something out of the norm.