Louisville, Kentucky is gaining a reputation as a great food city. From casual cafes to fine dining restaurants, you have many great options to choose from. My top finds include:
Butchertown Grocery is a fine dining restaurant in an historic building from the 1800s, that was a former grocery store. It has a fun bar/lounge upstairs, Lola, that is reminiscent of an old speakeasy. I was there for dinner and highly recommend it. It serves New American fare and artisanal cocktails. 1076 E. Washington.
Harvest Restaurant: This is an excellent restaurant featuring locally sourced ingredients and over 70 varieties of Kentucky bourbon. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience along with a great conversation with Jim McArthur, one of the owners, who is delightful. 624 E. Market.
Proof on Main: Make sure to visit Proof on Main which is the restaurant in the 21c Hotel. It is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Esquire Magazine named it one of the Best New Restaurants in 2006. 702 W. Main.
Jack Fry’s: Jack Fry’s, at 1007 Bardstown Rd., was established in 1933 by Jack Fry and his wife Flossie. It was a popular local sportsman’s hangout. It was open until 1972. After being vacant for several years and then another concept, it was re-established as Jack Fry’s in 1987. It continues today as a staple of Louisville’s culinary scene and has been featured in a number of national magazines and newspapers from the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Southern Living.
I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch there. The shrimp and grits were perfect. The dining room with its old photographs is a classic as well.
Milkwood, 316 W. Main: Famed Louisville chef, Edward Lee merges Southern food with Asian ingredients at this hip restaurant and bar. I enjoyed dinner with a local friend. I had a wonderful grilled eel dish as well as ramen noodles in a coconut broth with lobster, a catfish cake and mushrooms.
610 Magnolia: This is Edward Lee’s fine dining restaurant in the Old Louisville Neighborhood. It features innovative/modern Southern cuisine. They offer a four-course and six-course tasting menu with or without wine pairings. Chef Lee has been a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest. The restaurant has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, Saveur, Southern Living, Esquire, Wine Enthusiast and many other national publications.
Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe, 2868 Frankfort Ave.: This is a local bakery and cafe featuring their own artisan breads and pastries. I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with smoked salmon tartine with boursin and cucumber along with a wheat berry salad.
Silver Dollar: Located at 1761 Frankfort Ave., this is a great spot for lunch or dinner. It is also considered one of the best whiskey bars in town. I loved having brunch there including fried green tomatoes and a perfect biscuit.