'River House' on River Road is now open - WDRB 41 Louisville News

'River House' on River Road is now open

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Owner and executive chef John Varanese Owner and executive chef John Varanese

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The space once known as River City Boat Marina is now an elegant seafood restaurant with a southern flare.

"We have east coast and west coast oysters, live lobster, king crab -- a lot of great seafood," said owner and executive chef John Varanese.

He hoped to have it open many years ago, but faced a financial setback.

In the meantime, he opened Varanese on Frankfort Avenue but never gave up on his original dream.

"It's just so many things about this property that, for me, makes it a for-sure win,” said Varanese. “It's on the river and has a great view. I have accessibility, interstates in Louisville, they kind of all tie into one. And my backyard is one of the wealthiest communities in the state."

Varanese said he wanted to make sure this restaurant stood out from the rest, spending years working on a unique design and captivating detail.

"We built a river house -- or the river house -- inside. We had an opportunity to get some reclaimed wood from the Germantown Lofts," Varanese explained.  "We have our 20 foot tall, 40 foot long stone water wall. It's very romantic, I think, in here. We took a large space and made it feel intimate."

With a private dining room and breathtaking views, the restaurant will soon have a new neighbor.

Varanese's second concept, ‘Levee,’ will share kitchen space with River House, but will offer a completely different menu featuring small plates like steak sliders, crab and green chili, fried ravioli, and tuna ceviche.

“I had a lot of comments this weekend that people felt like they were in a venue in Vegas or just somewhere outside of Louisville,” said Varanese.

The official grand opening for River House is Monday, March 7.

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