Welcome to One Year In, a feature where Eater chats with chefs and owners of restaurants celebrating one year anniversaries.Photo courtesy Susan Seiller
It's been about a year since Susan Seiller, former owner of Jack Fry's, opened Relish on a stretch of River Road once dominated by Stop-Lite Liquors and the rusting hulk of the Big Four Bridge. Partially drawn out of retirement by a need to find a healthier diet for her post-heart-surgery father, Seiller saw Relish as a way to "a healthier lifestyle, without eating health food." Eater checked in with Seiller about the business, the bridge, and how River Road differs from Bardstown Road.
So how are things going after one year?
Susan: Fabulously. We opened without dinner service, but we have it now. We're also introducing cocktail service.
How are you making cocktails "healthy?"
Susan: We make our own juices. So there's some vitamin C in there. And one or two cocktails a day is always good for you, isn't it?
Have customers declared any dish a "must-have?"
Susan: Tom Kha soup. People say it's the best they've ever had—some of who have been to Thailand, or work in Thai restaurants. It's aromatic, mysterious, yet comforting—it's like Asian "Chicken Soup for the Soul."
What's it like being on the riverfront right now?
Susan: It's exciting, it's wonderful. This corridor has so much positive energy. The park offers so many amenities, the botanical gardens are coming, there's so much excitement watching this corridor change. It reminds me of the days I was on Bardstown Road in the mid-80s.
Any difference between your start with Relish and Jack Fry's?
Susan: The competition. I would imaging the number of restaurants has doubled since I started. There are so many great restaurants. Diners have so many choices. It's great for our community, it's a great attractor. Competition is great because it makes everyone better at what they do.
Anything you would have done differently?
Susan: I probably would have paid more attention to the importance of technology and social media. And probably having a marketing plan would have been a good thing. I hate to say "when I was young," but when I was young you didn't need a social media strategy. Usually word-of-mouth was sufficient. Fortunately, I have a great staff here, young people on staff who are taking charge of that.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
Susan: I'm looking forward to welcoming the people from Indiana when they open their side of the bridge. And walking over there and exploring their side as well.
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