Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Horse meat restaurant may just be pulling our leg

By Sheila McLaughlin
Enquirer staff writer

LOVELAND - There's something fishy about a restaurant that's supposed to be "coming soon" to this East Side community.

"The Red Derby," featured in a full-page ad in a community newspaper and in at least one radio commercial, purports to feature "the pounder," made from a pound of horse steak covered with four slices of cheese. All for $1.49.

The ads have generated curiosity and phone calls to city officials.

"We have no information that suggests it's coming to Loveland. There are no building permits, and nobody has contacted us for the necessary assistance in opening a restaurant," Assistant City Manager Tom Carroll said.

Mayor Brad Greenberg wondered if it's a hoax.

Locally, nobody's admitting anything.

"Let me pull up my sheet that tells me what to say," offered graphic designer Matt Mooney, reached at Signal US Communications, a downtown media company linked to the ad campaign.

He referred the Enquirer to the Red Derby's Web site, which, for the most part, is "under construction." And his boss? Mooney said he was out of town and unavailable. WEBN and Loveland Herald advertising officials didn't return calls.

WEBN radio personality Jay Gilbert denied he and local ad man Jerry Galvin were involved. The duo are known for a month-long bogus "Plummet Mall" campaign they created for the Greater Cincinnati Broadcasters Association in 1984 to gauge the effectiveness of radio advertising.

"I really don't know anything about it. But, I can tell you ... if it is a scam, they are going to a lot of trouble," Gilbert said.


E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com

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