New restaurant invents fresh finds, local connections

Joanna Graham, of Bowling Green, pours a College Heights Ale beer for a customer Friday, Aug. 26 at Patent Pending. Patent Pending has been open since February and refer to themselves as, a curious eatery and bar. Matt Lunsford/HERALD

Madison Martin



f you haven’t been to the Square since arriving back in BG, you may still be missing out on one of the latest local restaurants for dedicated foodies and cocktail lovers.

Patent Pending Curious Eatery & Bar, nestled on East Main between the Capitol Arts Center and Morris Jewelry, is a pop culture reference-fueled gastropub, owned by local entrepreneurs and worked by WKU students and alumni.

The space used to be a European-fare establishment known as Verdi, but after selling and transferring ownership, the current partners decided to renovate and rebrand the eatery into what it is today. The restaurant was purchased by four partners, with Cody Turner, an adjunct faculty member at WKU, being one of them.

The restaurant was renovated in the beginning months of 2016. Turner says he handbuilt the tables and created their stain, as well as crafting the light fixtures.

The notion was to create a restaurant with an “Edison-style vintage look,” which is how the name Patent Pending was chosen as their identity.

“It fit the theme that we wanted which is scientific, the throwback to that time period,” Turner said. “And then also we get to infuse a little bit of nerd into it.”

Tessa Norris, the restaurant’s director of operations and a WKU alumna, has been working at the restaurant since its opening in February. She found that her ideals blended well with the partners’ passion for “food, bourbon, high-end cocktails” and knew she wanted to be a part of it.

Last Friday night, the restaurant threw an event to support the Center for Courageous Kids, a camp for children with life-threatening illnesses, according to their website.

In a competition deemed “Food Fight,” Patent Pending and White Squirrel Brewery challenged each other to see who could raise the most sales, with 20 percent of proceeds to be donated to the organization.

Norris said the restaurant schedules a fundraising night once a month for local charities. They’ve used different themes in the past, like 90’s Night and A SpeakEasy Affair.

“The love and time and effort that was given back was just astonishing. I love that about Bowling Green and the Western community, how much they’re willing to give, you know, just for a good cause,” Norris said. “We’ve been really fortunate and I’m very appreciative of how wonderful the response has been from the community.”

The restaurant typically hosts live music on the weekends, with performances by local artists and bands. A DJ was invited on Friday, Aug. 26, as well as new brews from WKU’s College Heights Brewing.

Kelsey Morris, a Bowling Green senior and server at the restaurant, said she’s noticed how in recent years the Square has brought in more local businesses that appeal to the college crowd, although she thought Patent Pending seems to attract people from all walks of life.

“It’s just a really good solid mix of everyone there,” Morris said.

Morris said the restaurant likes to work with other businesses to ultimately build up the downtown and local business community of Bowling Green.

“I think local is so popular right now, and I hope and pray that it stays that way,” Morris said. “More people are wanting to have that experience that they’re not going to get anywhere else.”

The restaurant’s menu is filled with references and puns, with items like a Golden Snitch cocktail and a Kermit’s Revenge pulled-pork sandwich. Some staff recommended the wings and burgers, along with a “sleeper success” that couldn’t be left out.

“We’ve got a club sandwich you should not eat around your mom because you might slap her; it’s that good,” Turner said.

The restaurant is in the process of editing and phasing in additions to its menu. Turner said they’d like to be working on offering seasonal dishes and using farmers market ingredients.

“It’s really important to us not to stay stagnant, you know,” Norris said. “We constantly want to be innovative and changing and offering something new, you know, as much as possible.”

Reporter Madison Martin can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @missmadielaine.