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Downtown Shelbyville filled with fresh options

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Restaurant, music store fill empty spots

By Todd Martin

Downtown Shelbyville again is abuzz with fresh paint and remodeling efforts.

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Two new businesses are planning to open soon in areas that had recently been vacated. Another restaurant is planning to move into 535 Main Street, where Southern Table closed last month, and a new music store is opening at 522 Washington Street, which used to house the Cotton Blossom quilting shop.

The restaurant will be an offshoot from the owners of Los Azteca, a Mexican eatery that has locations on 4th Street and on Bardstown Road in Louisville.

“It’s name will be La Cocina de Mama,” co-owner Miguel Hernandez said. “We’re going to cook real Mexican food. Everything will be homemade and very fresh.”

Hernandez said there is no real timeframe for the restaurant to open, but said he hopes it will be in the next few weeks. Work is being done on the facility.

“It all depends on the permits,” he said.

Hernandez, who lives in Shelby County, is bringing his work back after spending 11 years at Claudia Sanders Dinner House before going out on his own.

“I think Shelbyville needs a place for great Mexican food,” he said. “I was out there for a long time, and I think it’s a good location.”

Hernandez said the restaurant would have a fresh look to go with the fresh food.

“We’ve remodeled the kitchen, we’re changing the flooring and the walls, everything,” he said. “It looks awesome. It’s going to be totally different.”

Records and recording

Behind the restaurant on the Washington Street side, Lewis Mathis has been hard at work, revamping the former quilting store to house a multifaceted music shop.

Mathis, a Shelbyville music icon, is planning a store that not only would service beginners with lessons and instruments but also seasoned pros with a recording area.

“We’re going to have used instruments and recording by the hour,” he said. “But hopefully it can also be a place for people to kind of hangout. We’re going to have jam sessions and drum circles, and maybe we’ll do some podcasts with different artists that I’ve worked with.”

Mathis said the ideas for the store are still emerging.

“I’m kind of fishing right now, feeling things out, seeing what floats,” he said. “We’re also going to offer vinyl for sale. Records are so much better than digital downloads. We’re going to have a record shop with instruments or an instrument shop with records, however you want to look at it.”

The impetus for opening the store, he said, falls behind trying to simplify his life.

“Tonight [Wednesday] I’m going to play at Phoenix Hill [in Louisville] with my boys, and we’ll go till about 2:30 [a.m.], and then I’ll get home about 3:30 and be up at 7 to go clean carpets,” he said. “I’m too damn old to be carrying on like that. This is just a way to change my life, simplify my life and be around my kids more.”

Good location

He also said he believes the city’s location among Louisville, Frankfort and Lexington can help bring some bands looking to record.

“The upstairs is where we’ll teach lessons and offer a recording space,” he said. “Kind of a boutique-style recording studio.”

Although he said he believes his shop can fill a void in the music offerings of Shelbyville, he also knows it will fill a void for him.

“I can’t do anything else but music, I’ve tried,” he said. “It’s all I know.”