My husband and I spent a month road-tripping Tennessee, and finished up in the Land Between the Lakes region. I hadn’t been there before, and was very curious about Patti’s 1880’s Settlement, whom everyone I encountered raved about. I knew I had to visit. After spending a day at Land Between the Lakes, I could kick myself for not having gone many years ago. It is incredible! Then, at the very tip-top of the LBL area, on the Kentucky side, is this welcoming little slice of Americana with one main feature: Patti’s 1880’s Settlement. What a treat we were in for.
We parked our truck in a centrally located downtown parking lot when we arrived in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. We sat out on foot to see the inns, dairy barn, antique stores, and other enthralling bits of scenery. Then, just in time for a very early dinner, we entered the door of Patti’s.
A One-Of-A-Kind Attraction
Patti’s Restaurant is a 44-year-old recreated historical log cabin village with a restaurant offering a country club-like menu and great meal options. Patti’s runs the gamut from gourmet pork chops to steaks and salads to a Kentucky Hot Brown, the state dish. We had to wait about ten minutes for a table, but they give you a pager that will let you know when your table is ready. You can wander the property while you wait. Reservations are strongly suggested.
Note: Hours of operation are 11 AM to 8 PM daily. Patti’s is open 352 days of the year, minus December 24, 25, and 26th.
When our table was ready, we made our way back to the hostess stand. We were taken past several dining rooms, eleven in total at the restaurant, and seated in the Crown Room. Each dining room at Patti’s is uniquely decorated and gorgeous.
Many of the rooms were already decorated in their fall attire, and one was gearing up for Christmas. Our server promptly took our drink order and left us to peruse the visually stunning menus.
I drove all this way for for Patti’s Kentucky Hot Brown. A Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey and Black Forest ham sandwich with crispy strips of bacon, tomato slice, and usually a delicate mornay sauce.
Patti’s version has a cheese sauce instead of mornay, and is topped with house-cut and fried potato chips. I enjoyed it very much.
I’ve eaten a Hot Brown all over the state of Kentucky (and several places outside of the state), and besides the Brown Hotel in Louisville, where it originated, Patti’s was the best.
My husband (Eddie) chose a specialty Apples Delight pork chop, which Patti’s is known for. You can choose between one-inch or two-inch chops and between several recipes, including glazed baked apples, tropical, and a pork filet wrapped in bacon.
You have your choice of side dishes, and he picked a side salad (homemade raspberry vinaigrette) and a baked potato. Patti’s also has hot bacon dressing, and if you’ve never tried it, OMG, you are in for a treat!
Flowerpot bread came with the meals and made a great starter. It came with both whipped strawberry and plain butter. If you’ve never experienced strawberry butter, it’s lip-smacking good.
Fun Fact: Patti’s serves 138,620 pork chops annually.
Impressive Food and Dessert
Don’t stuff yourself because this is one place you will not want to miss the tempting and sinfully delicious dessert options. Patti’s must have some bakery fairies that whip up all these goodies because it seemed like every dining guest and those in the gift shop were buying up sliced pies and cakes, plus whole ones, as fast as they could.
Eddie picked the layered coconut cake, an absolute Southern classic. He loved every bite of it. I passed on dessert because I was too full, and later regretted that decision. Lesson learned—always save room for a good, homemade dessert. Other options included butterscotch pecan pie, sawdust pie (recipe is on their website!), Bill’s Boatsinker pie (dark chocolate fudge with coffee ice cream), and meringue pies.
Need dairy-free options? Gluten-free options? No worries, Patti’s has special menu pages just for you.
The Awesome Property
Food isn’t the only reason to come to Patti’s, though reason enough for many of my readers to chime in that they have driven seven-eight hours just to have a meal there. It is that special of a place.
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement has a collection of local boutiques to shop at, or you can make an overnight of it at the hotel, bed and breakfast (Rose of the Lake), or campground. I browsed several stores, including Little Lambs (children’s clothing and toys), The Pink Tractor (junior’s boutique), Reflections (home decor), and Wagon Wheel (collectibles and home decor).
Then, I drooled over the lovely displays and items at River Birch Mercantile, but realized I currently live in an RV and there is no room for anything else.
The Christmas store wasn’t open just yet, but there was an excellent sampling of the merchandise in Yesterday’s, which you could seriously look through for an hour. This is also where you will find Patti’s pies and desserts to take away, fresh fudge, sauces, seasonings, and signature cookbooks.
And speaking of Christmas at Patti’s, they were a contestant on The Great Christmas Light Fight with their Festival of Lights display back in 2018. The festival is lit between 4 and 10 PM daily starting November 5th through January 16th.
Activities around the property include gold panning, mini-golf, and viewing the beautifully landscaped gardens.
Who is ready for a road trip to visit Patti’s 1880’s Settlement? If you already know about this gem, cheers to you. I’m now a big fan.
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement
1793 J.H. O’Bryan Ave.
Grand Rivers, KY 42045
Phone: 270-362-8844 (Gen Info/Reservations)
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