John Varanese Rolls on the River: The Next Act for Stage One’s Andrew Harris


Both of my guests this week are living a dream that was hatched in their minds long ago. Chef John Varanese is among the most respected chefs in the city. 15 years ago he found the ideal spot for what he thought would be a perfect restaurant. He ran into a bunch of roadblocks on the way to River House, the $4 million riverfront project that just opened on River Road.

Andrew Harris didn’t get the part when he auditioned for the Wizard of Oz in his hometown of Oak Ridge, Tenn. Nor did he get selected after his second audition. But eventually he did get a part, and now he’s built a fantastic career directing plays for Stage One. The current production of Harold and the Purple Crayon is really special, as you’ll learn from our interview.

In other news, this week marked the launch of a new podcast for the Jeffersontown Chamber, which you can find on This weekend marks the public grand opening for the Speed Art Museum, and I recap a wonderful Breakfast of Champions.

Andrew Harris. Photo by Bill Brymer
Chef John Varanese at River House. Photo by Bill Brymer