I always knew Louisville would be a foodie city, but I had no idea how great the food would actually be. I see Louisville restaurants making a splash in magazines around the country and Kentucky inspired recipes on my favorite cooking shows. Louisville proved to be “all this and a bag of chips” on a visit with my daughter, Taylor. Here are four delicious foodie finds in Louisville that will please your palate.
1. Royals Hot Chicken, 736 E. Market Street
Royals Hot Chicken is a hipster counter-service restaurant in the heart of the ever-popular NuLu district of Louisville. The mural on the outside of the restaurant should be enough to draw you in to try the food, but the taste will keep you coming back for more. Royals Hot Chicken has a casual atmosphere with several communal tables, white subway tiles, and fresh flowers on the tables. Damn, this is some excellent jumbo fried chicken tenders!
Taylor and I shared the Baked Pimento Cheese (served in a cute little cast iron skillet with bacon jam and Ritz crackers) and Cheesy Chicken Poppers (Y’all the side of Mississippi Comeback sauce is the best!). These are two items you must try! Taylor tried the Chocolate Shake and gave it props, too. You can add a bourbon shot for $2 more. Are you a dipper? I certainly am. The Nashville style hot chicken was a great vessel for my favorite part of the meal, homemade Alabama White BBQ. Yum!
2. The Brown Hotel, 335 West Broadway
Louisville is synonymous with the Hot Brown. Chef Fred Schmidt created the legendary sandwich at the Brown Hotel for guests bored with late-night fares such as ham and eggs. They had worked up a hunger after dancing into the wee hours of the morning at the landmark Brown Hotel, circa the 1920s, so he wrote a recipe that is still a hot dish 100 years later. The open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and a delicate Mornay sauce is a favorite Southern dish, replicated in restaurants around the country.
Save your time at all others and go directly to the historic Brown Hotel’s Lobby Bar to savor this amazing dish for yourself. Not only is it incredibly decadent and rich, so are your surroundings. The lobby bar is gorgeous, and at times, a pianist will entertain you on the piano. Service is near perfection and you will feel like you are celebrating a special occasion by merely walking through the doors. Don’t want to try the Hot Brown? How about the ooey-gooey Lobster Mac & Cheese. I shudder as I write, thinking about how yummy it was.
3. Wild Eggs, 121 South Floyd Street
Fancy a memorable and palate-pleasing breakfast, brunch, or lunch? Wild Eggs has got you covered. Try one of their innovative dishes such as the Potato Casserole (Hashbrown potatoes baked with sour cream, onions, spices, cheese, sausage, tomatoes, poblano peppers, mushrooms, and an egg your way). OMG, it was a comfort food dish that will definitely make it to my Top Eats of 2017 list!
Taylor opted for her usual, Buttermilk Pancakes (with chocolate chips) and Crispy Bacon, both of which were incredible! Wild Eggs waitstaff and hostesses were friendly and attentive, plus the restaurant’s color scheme and decor are charming. Wild Eggs is a fun and tasty place that will lift your mood and fill your belly with quality food and drink before or during a hard day at work. Don’t miss the fresh-squeezed orange juice or the sweet or savory crepes. The sweet tea was on point, too.
4. Mussel & Burger Bar, 113 S 7th Street
While I find mussels and burgers to be an unlikely combination, in this restaurant, it is merely the best of the best dishes that they serve. Some come for the fresh mussels (holy goodness, blue cheese beer pancetta mussels), some for the wide variety of burgers (more than beef burger combos here!), but premium seafood and meats and top quality ingredients are certain.
The Mussel & Burger Bar menu also features Chef-inspired “pub grub” sandwiches, steaks, salads, and impressive appetizer selections, all with a gourmet twist. Taylor ordered a marvelous plate of goodness-their take on Mac & Cheese-with four kinds of cheese, smoky bacon, and a topping made of bacon brown butter crumbs. Yum!
My pick was, of course, a burger, but not just any ole burger. The Southern Bell (fried green tomatoes, remoulade sauce, and pimento cheese on a pretzel bun) is paired with sweet potato fries and a smoked pineapple dipping sauce. Did I die and go to heaven? Gracious, this is a remarkable dish! Mussel and Burger Bar also grind their meat in-house daily.
L is for Lip-Smacking
Louisville, Kentucky, should definitely be on your foodie bucket list. Three of the four restaurants listed above are in TripAdvisor’s Top 10 restaurants from a mere 1,453 to choose from. Louisville is a food lover’s city, and these local eats are something to write home about.
Have you eaten at any of my four tasty spots on your travels to Louisville?
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