In October 2021 Horse Soldier Bourbon officially broke ground on its new $200 million Horse Soldier Farms Distillery in Somerset, Kentucky. Now, Horse Soldier has announced the addition of a new full-service restaurant in downtown Somerset. The new restaurant venture will follow in the footsteps of their original restaurant The Urban Stillhouse that opened in 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Horse Soldier Bourbon has purchased the 5,000-square-foot Goldenberg Furniture building and will open a smart-casual dining and cocktail bar. It will be modeled after The Urban Stillhouse, the company’s ultimate Horse Soldier experience in the warehouse arts district of St. Petersburg, Florida. Construction crews are now visible daily at the iconic yellow Fountain Square building.
Construction on the building began in March, and Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority (SPEDA) President and CEO Chris Girdler said activity will soon begin on the distillery project at the former Waitsboro Hills Golf Course property.
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“Investing in downtown has always been a part of Horse Soldier Bourbon’s plan to bring a distillery experience to Somerset-Pulaski County, and I’m excited to see construction begin,” Girdler said. “This is just another example of the shared values between our community and this outstanding company. These legendary men and women see the importance of a thriving downtown. So many of us want to see something unique in this beloved building and it is certainly coming. The Urban Stillhouse concept will be an excellent addition to downtown and will provide a dining experience that is second-to-none in this region.”
The Urban Stillhouse in St. Petersburg — owned by Meredith Koko, daughter of Horse Soldier Bourbon President John Koko — offers robust brunch, dinner, and drink menus complete with tasting flights and signature drinks. Details and additional renderings of the Somerset Urban Stillhouse will be shared in the coming months.
“I am so excited to see the next level of Horse Soldier’s investment in our community start to take shape,” Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said. “When our conversations first began, the Horse Soldier team quickly embraced our bold vision to revitalize downtown through economic development, art, music, and food. As that vision has become a reality, Horse Soldier has become an integral part of our story, and us of theirs. I am grateful for their presence and commitment, and I can’t wait for others to experience the culinary excellence this restaurant will bring to Somerset.”
To say that The Urban Stillhouse in St. Petersburg is a popular place is an understatement. The restaurant is open Thursday through Friday and takes reservations for the restaurant and bar via Open Table. A quick look at the seats shows that the first available open reservation is about a month from now. They do offer countertop seating along the upstairs railing that is available on a walk-in basis and offers appetizers and cocktails.
That commitment, first made in 2019, came to fruition in October when Horse Soldier Bourbon broke ground for its $200-million distillery experience in Pulaski County on 225 acres overlooking Lake Cumberland. The team’s love of country and craft is woven throughout the Horse Soldier Farms project, which will bring 400-plus jobs to Somerset-Pulaski County’s already robust tourism industry.
In addition to a sustainable distillery that will pay homage to the Horse Soldiers’ military story, the site will include a village that offers both spirits- and non-spirits-based activities — events, festivals and concerts will fill the family-friendly venue’s schedule while shops, community rooms, a chapel and event center, and health and wellness opportunities will be available to residents, visitors and veterans. Horse Soldier Farms will also include a luxury lodge, cabins and serve as a premier culinary destination.
Horse Soldier Bourbon was founded by a band of brothers who retired from the military, traveled the world and discovered a passion for making bourbon. Their story began in the weeks following 9/11, when a small group of U.S. Army Special Forces entered Afghanistan on horseback. Their clandestine mission marked the first time U.S. troops rode to war on horseback since WWII. The hand-selected detachment of 12 Green Berets from the 5th Special Forces Group would later become known as the “Horse Soldiers.” The 2018 action war drama film 12 Strong is based on their story.
That story now continues in Somerset, Kentucky, as they prepare to build a legendary distillery and downtown dining experience.
“Somerset almost immediately felt like home to us when we started this journey in 2019,” Meredith Koko said. “When we walked downtown’s streets, we could feel the excitement about this community’s bold transformation, and we wanted to be a part of that. We hope as residents watch changes being made to this building downtown, that it symbolizes the values we share and illustrates the immense pride we have to be here. We can’t wait to share The Urban Stillhouse experience with you.”
A Day on the Trail: Horse Soldier Bourbon Breaks Ground on 227 Acre Distillery, Paddock, Cabins & Chapel Destination [Renderings]
Horse Soldier Bourbon is ‘Coming Home’ with New $200 Million Distillery Destination on Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland