Driving down into Louisville, we’re quickly enamored with the old buildings lining the Ohio River. Headed West on Main Street, just passed the hoppin’ downtown scene, we find Restoration Werks with the front door open to all. It’s an overhead door, up and revealing hand-picked antiques, a vintage Gilera, and a steel table displaying a selection of new moto tees. Look farther into the space, passed the custom shop lights made from salvaged glass and metal, and you’ll see a Vincent, a Brough Superior and an assortment of engines that have a special place in motorcycle lore.
Stephen Pate and Jacqui Van Ham are the mechanically-minded creative duo who run the shop, often accompanied by a scampering Dachshund. We stopped in to their open house event dubbed, The Speed Union, to show our support and see what they had on the lifts and hanging on the walls.
If those brown block walls could talk; this building has machine-shop roots as well as some off-the-record history as a speakeasy. There’s an alluring mood surrounding the place, probably unique to the northernmost Southern city in the States (or the southernmost Northern city depending on your perspective).
Vintage stockers and garage-built customs rode in on a perfect Fall evening. Guests were treated to RC Cola and Moon Pies with curbside access to the mobile Holy Mole gourmet taco truck. Friend-of-the-show, Larry Fletcher from Chicago, pulled the Legendary Alehouse traveling pub right up to one of the two loading docks on the East side of the building.
Jacqui is a picker with a good eye for vintage Americana. Much is for sale, identified by creatively written hang tags and fair prices. A lot of the shelving and fixtures have been picked or built from found objects.
We’ll be checking in on Stephen and Jacqui from time to time, to see what kind of special projects have begun and if there are any new old items for sale. Word is they’ll have some choice consignment bikes on the floor soon and expand their service offerings for the kinds of classics found in their shop today. Keep an eye on Restoration Werks and stop in if you’re in the neighborhood; their already well-established reputation will surely lead them to a fun and fruitful future.
Tune in to Good Spark Garage for a video-feature on Restoration Werks down the road.