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Foodography: Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House opens today downtown

When Dixons Downtown Grill shuttered last Labor Day, it left an enviable plot of restaurant real estate in its wake. Numerous restaurateurs and chefs eyed the behemoth space -- which has since been divided into two separate entities -- but luck was on the side of a Louisville-based restaurant called Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House. Owner Brendan McManus leased 4,800 square feet of the 9,200-square-foot restaurant, located at 1610 16th Street, gave it a fresh, urbanized makeover, including a spiffy lounge with leather sofas and chairs and a mozzarella bar that peers over the open kitchen, which pimps a gorgeous brick pizza oven. And the convivial bar is cosmopolitan, too, complete with a craft beer lover's nirvana of tap handles.

And the food? The kitchen is overseen by chef Joe Troupe, who worked with chef and restaurateur Dave Query -- he who commands the Big Red F restaurant group -- and Troupe definitely has chops. My favorite dishes from his menu? I loved the fried kale leaves and kale salad, the Bruges pizza fluttering with roasted Brussels sprouts and the Napolitana strewn with tongue-searing chiles. Herewith, the food porn.

Southwest pizza smeared with San Marzano tomato sauce and topped with Fresno and poblano peppers, chorizo, garlic, mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Sliced and fanned duck breast, glazed with ginger and paired with golden raisin faro. Mussels pooled in a Pernod, crème fraîche and roasted garlic broth. Bruges pizza, roofed with shaved Brussels sprouts, sliced apples, pistachios, mozzarella and fontina cheeses and ribbons of prosciutto. Roasted trout accompanied by oven-roasted broccoli and fingerling potatoes, beets and cauliflower. Crispy-fried kale leaves. From the mozzarella bar: Fresh mozzarella with Benton's smoked ham, grilled bread and fig gastrique. Napolitana pizza, topped with spicy salami, roasted garlic, smoked mozzarella and Calabrian chiles. Kale salad tossed with sliced red onions and bacon and cloaked in a creamy peppercorn dressing. Lucky Pie isn't just about food: It's about craft beers, too, and the selection, which includes one of my favorites sours, is impressive.

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