Baked goods are given the small-batch treatment at Please & Thank You, a combination coffee house, eatery and record shop with two Louisville stores. At the NuLu location on Market Street, groovy tunes spun on a turntable provide ambience while patrons enjoy locally roasted Good Folks coffee and finely crafted sweets such as an exceptional chocolate chip cookie and this Derby Bar. —Wendy Pramik
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — “These boots are made for walkin’ …”
And that’s just what I’ll hear long after finding Nancy Sinatra’s hit at Mr. Friendly, a vintage record vault that opened last fall in the back of Please & Thank You, a small-batch bakery.
Along Louisville’s shop-lined avenues, I’m doing more stopping than walking.
Please & Thank You is wholesome and retro. The coffeehouse is a quaint addition to the Louisville neighborhood, providing patrons with a cozy environment. In addition to the café, there is a walk-up window and bakery called Hot Coffee; come here when you need your fix in a pinch. The bakery makes such delicious goods that Please & Thank You offers a BIY, or bake-it-yourself, option. Take home ready-to-bake mixes for their chocolate chip cookies, brownies, waffles, and more. And now, tasty treats aren’t the only thing you can take home; from the same creative minds that brought you Please & Thank You comes Mr. Friendly, a retro record store. The same music that creates such a stellar ambiance at the coffee shop can now be created in your very own living room.
Please & Thank You—In addition to locally roasted coffee by Good Folks and delicious breakfasts and lunches (try the savory Asiago, apricot, and jalapeno scone), this cafe-cum-record store boasts an impressive collection of vinyl, a self-service turntable, and a listening booth.
Hey everyone, HOT COFFEE is open! Check out this article written by Dana Mcmahon in the Courier-Journal/Velocity:
HOT COFFEE TO OPEN IN PORTLAND NEIGHBORHOOD
by Dana McMahan, Special to The Courier-Journal
NuLu bakery and coffee shop Please & Thank You (@plsthnks) will open a Portland location at 231 N. 17th St. next week. The shop, called Hot Coffee, will hold its soft opening Tuesday. A ribbon cutting and grand opening with Mayor Greg Fischer will take place Feb. 2 at 2 p.m., according to co-owner Brooke Vaughn.
"Our kitchen was way too small to accommodate our wholesale needs, and there's not a lot of room to grow in NuLu," Vaughn says. "And, especially, there's a price tag on it. With Gill Holland and his launch of everyone hopefully expanding west, he helped me find this building and secure a loan with Louisville Metro and we were able to get into what used to be a Butternut Bakery — quickly and affordably."
Why open a walk-up window in January? "I didn't want to open till after winter," Vaughn concedes, "but it feels selfish and people are curious … I have guys coming in asking to buy cookies." They've been giving away pastries for the last couple of weeks, she says.
Hot Coffee will serve as the P&TY bakehouse, plus offer a walk-up window with the same espresso drinks as the NuLu shop; pastries and to-go fare including waffles, oatmeal, breakfast panini and yogurt parfaits; and coffee service, including drip, pour-over, Americano and French press. "We're definitely selling a cup of coffee for under $2, which I think no one doing locally roasted does anymore," says Vaughn.
Vaughn is enjoying the additional space; the new space is some 1,300 square feet, "and it's all kitchen!" she says, while the entire NuLu shop is around 1,000, with five to nine people working all the time. "It feels very luxurious to have space," she says.
That space has allowed for some experimentation, and new pastries like Linzer cookies have shown up at P&TY. They've also been testing a Benton country ham and cheese hand pie. "We'll be a little bit more whimsical with our offerings because we can," Vaughn says. "I'm excited about what's coming." Soft pretzels with beer cheese are in the works, nachos are down the road, and, she says, "we got a soft serve machine I am super excited about — but I'm not doing it in January!"
Hot Coffee will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More information: http://www.pleaseandthankyoulouisville.com.
Looking spend three days and want to make sure they are perfect? Then you should read Hemispheres Magazine's "Three Perfect Days: Louisville." We were happy to read the little pull out below about Please & Thank You, although we are pretty sure they mean the "BEST chocolate chip cookie," not the "biggest" – we have definitely seen bigger cookies. Anyway, its all a good read. Click here for the full article.
"From (the track), you cab it to NuLu, a former industrial district that’s now a tangle of storefronts, galleries and cafés catering to the city’s artsy set. You settle in at Please and Thank You, an emerald-green coffeehouse and used-record store, and watch a bearded young man thumb through crates of vintage LPs, then order a toasted mozzarella and pesto sandwich, followed by the biggest chocolate chip cookie you’ve ever had."
It was a pleasure to see Travel & Leisure rank Louisville as one of their Top 50 places to visit in 2015... we like it too! Double-bonus points for the Market Street & P&TY shoutout!
Louisville has long been famous for its bourbon, and if it’s the dark stuff you’re after, there are almost two dozen distilleries happy to oblige with tastings. Most are in the surrounding countryside, but you no longer need a car to get your fix: Evan Williams, the first urban distillery since Prohibition, flung open its doors on Whiskey Row in November 2014, with seven other spirits distillers soon to join the newly coined Urban Bourbon Trail. The city center is also making room for five new hotels in 2015, including an Aloft. For a taste of Louisville’s most happening neighborhood, head to NuLu, about a mile from downtown and a case study in urban revival, with critically acclaimed restaurants (Decca, Proof on Main), concept shops (Please & Thank You, Scout), and its own hipster flea market. —Nikki Ekstein
Nice read by the Atlantic affiliated CityLab by Henry Grabar takes a look at (our East Market landlord) Gill Holland and the Portland neighborhood in West Louisville. Our very own Brooke Vaughn was interviewed for the piece, which is represented in full here.
Can the 'Godfather' of New Louisville Revive One More Neighborhood?
Gill Holland pulled off a stunning success in Louisville's East Market area. Now he wants to do it again, across town in Portland.
According to The Saga of Eric the Red, the eponymous Viking explorer called his discovery Greenland to entice his countrymen to settle its barren shore.
Gill Holland, a Louisville developer for whom the moniker is insufficient, employs a parallel PR strategy. He has set up his office on the far side of a waterfront neighborhood here called Portland, where he works out of a repurposed Boys and Girls Club.
When it rains, plaster falls from the ceiling. He is 16 blocks past what Louisvillians sometimes refer to as the "Ninth Street Divide"; 16 blocks past the place where lost drivers drifting west from downtown make panicked U-Turns on one-way streets.
The idea is to give a good name to the most distant quarter of this dilapidated neighborhood. Suddenly, 15th Street doesn't seem so far west—if Gill is at 25th.
When it rains, plaster falls from the ceiling. He is 16 blocks past what Louisvillians call the "Ninth Street Divide."
Holland, whose background is in film production, embraces the storytelling in urban development. When we speak about Portland, on whose revival he has staked his reputation, he peppers the conversation with bits of local history: the Devonian fossil beds of the Ohio River, Charles Dickens' visit to see the Kentucky Giant, and so on. It was here in Portland, Holland says, that a young Abraham Lincoln—raised in a log cabin 50 miles to the south—first saw human beings bought and sold.
History is part of Portland's appeal to him: "Great stories, great history, great old buildings."
In most cities, talk of exploration, discovery, and settlement in a neighborhood that predates the Civil War would provoke unpleasant accusations. That hasn't been the case in Portland. Its poverty is defined by abandonment and emptiness, not displacement and confrontation.
Unlike most of West Louisville, it is racially diverse and majority white. One in 10 houses is vacant or abandoned; the average home value is $15,500. The median income is $23,000, half the Jefferson County average. More than three in 10 adults don't have a high school diploma; less than one in 20 has a bachelor's. The evaporation of Louisville's manufacturing base—30,000 jobs lost in the 1970s alone—is evident in Portland's empty buildings.
Gentrification isn't a primary concern. Instead, the worry is that outside interest is a passing fad. "Portland and West Louisville have suffered greatly and disproportionately," explains Sam Watkins, the president of the Louisville Central Community Centers, a non-profit that advocates for the area. "They're hopeful it's not just a start and stop — that it will be sustaining."
Gentrification isn't a primary concern. Instead, the worry is that outside interest is a passing fad.
Holland hopes to raise $23.5 million for his Portland Investment Initiative, which has four components. Two aim to boost the neighborhood's commercial prospects: one focuses on its derelict industrial buildings, the other on its flagging retail corridor. The other two are intended to rehabilitate and expand the neighborhood's stock of shotgun homes. All told, Holland envisions that the number of jobs in the 80-block area will quadruple from 470 to 2,000.
A lawyer by training and a film producer by trade, Holland is not your typical developer. He'd never owned so much as an apartment until he moved here a decade ago with his wife, Louisville native Augusta Brown Holland. (His father-in-law, who died in 2011, had been the chairman of Brown-Forman, the company that makes Jack Daniel's and Southern Comfort.) But the city's worn old neighborhoods inspired him.
His first project was on the opposite side of downtown, in an area then known as Louisville's skid row. Beginning in 2006, he raised $13 million to renovate and rebuild several blocks of East Market Street. The transformation has been, by all accounts, stunning. The neighborhood has acquired a trendy nickname, NuLu ("New Louisville"), and added dozens of businesses and hundreds of jobs.
Holland's Green Building, which opened in 2008, was the first LEED Platinum-certified commercial building in Louisville. The renovated dry-goods store now has office space, a gallery, and a café. (Andrew Hyslop)
The papers here call him the Godfather of NuLu, but Holland reminds me more of a redeemed Bill Murray in Groundhog Day—a handy outsider dashing from one exploit to the next. "He always seems to be finding these tough challenges to overcome," Watkins says.
"He covers a lot of territory: music, art, urban landscape," observes Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. "I'm a big fan of his."
The papers here call him the Godfather of NuLu, but Holland reminds me more of a redeemed Bill Murray in Groundhog Day—a handy outsider dashing from one exploit to the next.
Holland's methods are sometimes unorthodox. Brooke Vaughn and Jason Pierce had never run a business when they approached Holland four years ago with plans for a café-record store on East Market Street. They were new in town. They didn't have collateral for a loan.
But Holland liked the idea, and offered to sign over the building as collateral. "It was a huge risk on his part," says Vaughn. Her dad did the contracting; the renovation was on a shoestring budget. When the plumbing code requirements changed mid-way, Holland footed the bill.
Today, Please and Thank You, like the rest of the East Market area, is thriving. "Twenty-eight places opened on Market Street within a year of us," Vaughn recalls. "I remember counting them one day and being like, 'Oh my god.'" Like the main drag in an old western town, the street is wide and flanked with low brick buildings full of restaurants, offices, and shops.
Its vibrancy is a symbol of Louisville's gradual evolution into a city that draws creative types from further afield. Between 2007 and 2010, only two other American cities—Chattanooga and New Orleans—recorded a larger increase in the share of jobs located downtown. Aaron Renn, who runs the Urbanophile blog, has remarked that Louisville has much better restaurants than its richer and larger neighbor to the north, Indianapolis. According to 2010 American Community Survey data, more young people with college degrees live near downtown Louisville than in central Indianapolis or Cleveland.
Between 2007 and 2010, only two other American cities—Chattanooga and New Orleans—recorded a larger increase in the share of jobs located downtown.
People here say the city, famous for bourbon, horses, and baseball bats, has a special openness. Please and Thank You, Vaughn boasts, teems with "silent introverts doing great things."
"If you can't make it here, you're not trying at all," observes Tim Faulkner, who arrived in Louisville from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. After starting his gallery in NuLu (before it was NuLu), he and gallery director Margaret Archambault now run it out of one of Holland's warehouses in Portland.
Portland's warehouses reminded Holland of DUMBO and Tribeca (staci myers/Flickr)
An arts festival last fall at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in a Holland-owned warehouse in Portland (Yelp Inc./Flickr)
Portland had been devastated by suspects usual (discriminatory federal housing policy, a highway that severed its connection to downtown) and unusual (two catastrophic floods, in 1937 and 1945). "This is a neighborhood that for 40 years has been ignored by the city,” said Faulkner. “I think the people here just got used to it."
But when Holland turned west for his second act, he came with fresh eyes. Portland's historic building stock gave him flashbacks to DUMBO and Tribeca, areas of New York where the landscape of defunct light industry had evolved into galleries, restaurants, homes, and offices. "The best advantage I had was being an outsider," he says. Like a modern-day de Tocqueville, he thought he saw something Lousvillians had missed: With a little pushing, Portland's blight could be undone.
In Portland, Holland has marshaled some 30 investors in a half-dozen LLCs specific to various projects. Together, they've committed about 10 percent of the $23.5 million Holland thinks it will take to revive the area. Already, though, there are signs of resurgence directly related to those efforts. The area's first independent restaurant will arrive in the spring, along with Vaughn and Pierce's new bakery, Hot Coffee. (Once again, Holland backed the couple's application for a loan.)
[H]e thought he saw something Lousvillians had missed: With a little pushing, Portland's blight could be undone.
Other entrepreneurs have been independently attracted by the same elements. Against the Grain, a local brewery, is expanding its production facilities nearby. "There's something to be said for operating in a space that has character, that has a story to tell," says Sam Cruz, one of the brewery's founders. "That's really what sets us apart from a larger corporate business."
Not everyone believes Holland is capable of a second rags-to-riches neighborhood story. Portland, whatever its potential, can't be DUMBO—because Louisville isn't New York City. It's still one of the most poorly educated big cities in the country, ranking fifth-lowest out of the 51 metropolitan areas with more than a million people. Rents are low, and the central business district is pockmarked with garages and surface parking lots.
A street of shotgun houses in Portland in 2007 (w.marsh/Flickr)
"I'm not buying it, myself," John Gilderbloom, a professor of urban affairs at the University of Louisville, says of Holland's plans for Portland. "I wish him the best, but I think there are problems there that he's not really focusing on." Eight neighborhoods in Louisville have historic preservation status, Gilderbloom says—and Portland isn't one of them.
Banks have shown similar skepticism. Getting a loan to renovate one of Portland's historic shotguns, for example, is nearly impossible without other assets. Even with $70,000 in renovations, a house in this part of town will still be appraised at $35,000. Holland is hoping to renovate dozens of the structures, and get architects to design 12 brand-new, modern interpretations to fill in the area's vacant lots.
Even with $70,000 in renovations, a house in this part of town will still be appraised at $35,000.
Mayor Fischer lauds those efforts. "There's no question he's put more time and attention into Portland than any person in decades."
But even if Holland succeeds in drumming up support for the area, Portland can't be a mirror image of NuLu: It's about 20 times the size.
"That's what excites me most about it," says Faulkner, the gallerist. "It's so big. It's much bigger than one person's vision. Gill's going to spearhead this, no two ways around that. But this is the largest neighborhood in the whole city."
We blushed a little when we read this article in AFAR Magazine by musician & Grammy winning producer Joe Henry. He writes of his time in Louisville during the filming of Pleased to Meet Me. Excerpt below:
In Good Company by JOE HENRY
Musicians Aimee Mann, Joe Henry, and Loudon Wainwright III gather in Louisville to indulge in raw oysters, dry martinis, and unscripted conversation.
We were en route to the shoot’s first location in Butchertown. My brother David was leading us to Please and Thank You on East Market Street.
David has lived in Louisville, Kentucky, for some 20 years, and he had brought us—me and fellow singer-songwriters Aimee Mann, John Doe, Karin Bergquist, and Loudon Wainwright III—to the city to appear in a feature film he had cowritten.
It was our first morning in town, and Please and Thank You (P&TY) was the perfect headquarters for those of us looking to shoehorn our way into the snug demands of the day, whatever they might be, and it provided our first insight into Louisville’s artisan bent and hipster funk.
P&TY not only makes excellent doppios and home-style baked offerings—including scratch doughnuts that rival those made at the Michigan cider mills of my youth—but also features along
one wall a seriously curated collection of vinyl records for sale. If a café pulls an exceptional, nutty-tasting shot of espresso, offers me baked strata of egg and roasted vegetables fresh from the farm stand, and serves them both while spinning Bringing It All Back Home in original Stereo 360 Sound, that place will own me for the duration of my stay.
At the close of day one of filming, the five of us, along with my brother (still kindly acting as our escort), gathered for our initial dinner together at Jack Fry’s on Bardstown Road in a neighborhood known as the Highlands...
read the full article here
Brooke Vaughn is the FACE behind Please & Thank You, a combination coffee shop, restaurant and music store located in NuLu on Market Street. This coffee shop owner only drinks a few sips of coffee a day, focusing instead on her main passion: cooking, baking to be specific. One taste of her chocolate chip cookies and you know why.
What do you do for a living?
I hustle legal stimulants and sell vinyl records.
Do you drink coffee all day?
No, but my husband does. I drink maybe a 1/2 cup of coffee a day, but I pour myself at least 3 cups. I’m pretty wasteful with it. I drink ice water allllll day.
When did you discover that you have a talent for baking?
I’m actually not sure that I have a talent for baking. I’ve always had a strong will, a fair amount of ambition and high standards. I feel like I can do a good job at anything I feel passionate about. And I feel stupidly passionate about chocolate chip cookies.
What is your specialty in the kitchen?
Chocolate Chip Cookies, DUH!
What do you take in your coffee?
I drink it black.
Where is your favorite cup of coffee other than P&TY?
I think Tommie at Cafe Classico has the best Americano in town.
What is your special talent?
I have a wicked spider sense. Its creepy and curious.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
Oh, I’m spoiled. My life balance and sanity is completely a nod to my husband, Jason Pierce. There is nothing he can’t and won’t do. He’s the most incredible human I’ve yet to meet. He is the breakfast maker, the champagne pourer, the flower giver, the dish washer, the dog walker, the bread winner, the listener, the navigator and on and on. And it’s not like he’s a stay-at-home Dad; he also owns and operates his own design firm, Mperfect Design. We are equal parts. And we are super creative together, even 10 years deep into this affair.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Let go and be loving.
Who is your mentor?
Funny, I’ve had mentors without ever knowing it. And I think that is the key–you don’t know you’re being schooled until you’ve learned the lesson, right? I try to surround myself with and employ people who inspire me: painters, restauranteurs, athletes, designers, bikers, writers, actors, rock n’ rollers and such.
What is best advice you have received in business?
Never enter a business partnership with someone you do not know and/or trust.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
It’s no secret. I want to run an urban B&B!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I own a gun.
Where is your favorite place to go for dinner?
It’s almost March Madness and we are a NCAA Basketball family. Naturally, Sportstime Pizza across the river is my place right now. The Breadsticks with Beer Cheese have to be my favorite weekly regret.
What is a treat or a luxury you allow yourself?
Sundays are my luxury! I spend Sunday afternoons working out to Jillian MIchael’s DVD’s, drinking bubbly and cooking with my BFF Alicia.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
Bathtubs, Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, and enjoying beating hot sun rays outside.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).
1.Everyseed Bagels with Roasted Cauliflower Cream Cheese from Little Goat in Chicago.
2. Blowdrying my daughter’s short hair.
3. Listening to REM and thinking about 90210.
Thank you to Brooke Vaughn for taking time out of her busy chocolate chip cookie baking to meet with us. For more information on Please & Thank You, click here.
A huge thanks to Adele Reding and her beautiful photography for our FACES of Louisville. For more information on Adele, please click here.
Thanks to the Louisville Courier Journal for this December 20, 2012 article about the Bake-It-Yourself line of products.
Bake it yourself with Please & Thank You
Coffee, treat and record shop Please & Thank You, 800 E. Market St., has launched a line of Bake It Yourself products, beginning with chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
“Everybody asks for the cookie recipe, but I’m not ready,” says co-owner Brooke Vaughn. “I’m married to a designer, and it’s a dream to do a cookbook someday. I don’t want to give my recipes away–but (the kits) are a way for people to confidently bake cookies at home.”
The cookie box comes with a dozen pressed-out rounds of refrigerated cookie dough. “It’s actually what we put in our ovens here,” says Vaughn. Also included are her tips for perfect cookies (the most difficult of which may be the instructions to wait five to 10 minutes after cookies come out of the oven before removing from the pan). Immediately, “I had someone buy 12 dozen for Christmas gifts,” says Vaughn.
The brownie box contains enough baking mix and Callebaut French chocolate chips for a dozen. “The chips are the kicker!” says Vaughn. The mix contains “Weisenberger flour, French cocoa, salt ? everything we use to make our brownies,” she says. “The box tells you everything you need at home before you leave the grocery store.”
“I knew this was gonna work when my mom did it,” says Vaughn. (Her mom has never cooked.) “I gave her the zucchini loaf package and told her to roll with it, and she made a successful loaf.”
The zucchini loaf, a pumpkin loaf and a funfetti birthday cake will be among future Bake It Yourself offerings.
The cookie box costs $15 (freshly baked, they’re $1.75 each in the store), and the brownies are $12 ($3 each fresh in the store).