Thursday, January 1, 2004

Restaurants want helping from levee


Around Northern Kentucky

Pat Crowley

Has a restaurant war broken out in Newport?

Tired of the publicity and business being generated by eateries at Newport on the Levee, three longtime Newport restaurants have launched a campaign to entice diners away from the riverfront attraction.

Pompilio's, Green Derby and York Street Cafe have run newspaper ads touting "Historic Newport off-the-levee" for the holidays. The stylish ads also take a shot at the levee's parking prices.

In the ads, each of the restaurants is depicted through an artist's rendering. Along the bottom of the ad is a drawing of the levee that features lines of cars and patrons, parking prices as high as $8 and a "closed" sign on the dormant IMAX theater.

"We figured we had to think of something to restore our customer base, so we're using the ads to talk about our great food, our long traditions and our free parking," said Green Derby owner Jack Haller. His family has operated the neighborhood restaurant for more than 50 years.

Frank Mazzei, who owns and operates Pompilio's with his brother, Pete, said the ad was not meant to slam the levee "but to remind people we are still here and that we've been here for 70 years."

"We're grateful and appreciative with what the levee and the city have created here in Newport," Mazzei said. "We just want to make sure we get our share."

Other than acknowledging the ad, levee marketing director Joanne Maley did not want to comment. But the restaurant owners said levee management did call to talk about the ad.

The specifics of those conversations aren't known, but it's safe to assume the levee pointed out that parking does not cost $8.

Valet parking can cost as much as $7, but parking in the garage - which is owned by the city - ranges from $3 to $5.

MCCONNELL MOVING UP? Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, already No. 2 in GOP leadership as Senate whip, apparently has his eye on the top leadership post.

McConnell, a Louisville Republican, was featured in a New York Times article last weekend. The article speculated that with Senate President Bill Frist, R-Tenn., not expected to seek re-election to leadership in 2006 McConnell is likely to succeed him.

University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato, an expert on Congress, agreed.

McConnell "is next in line, no question about it," Sabato said. "There is a lot of speculation that Frist will not only step down as Senate president in '06, but also resign from the Senate to run for president." McConnell wasn't available for comment.

THEY SAID IT: "The issue is never over." McConnell in the New York Times on the potential that opposition to campaign finance reform will re-emerge even though the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down challenges to the laws.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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