The Gatti Group Guide to Good Eats
Welcome to Louisville Kentucky! This city has tons of wonderful restaurants to fill your belly. I typically much prefer to enjoy one of the many unique Louisville neighborhood restaurants over any resemblance of a chain eatery. After all, the local restaurant scene is a perk of our wonderful city. Whether your home is in Downtown Louisville, Highlands, St. Matthews or any of the surrounding Louisville areas, there is sure to be a unique dining spot close by with scrumptious dishes. Here are some of my favorites to check out next time you are looking for a great place to eat around town.
Downtown LouisvilleMussel and Burger Bar If you are craving a burger, you have found your destination! This is a great location for a plethora of inventive burgers and don’t forget your sweet potato fries. There is also a nice selection of mussels and beer. Great offering for an upscale twist on the neighborhood bar food. (There is also a second location in Jeffersontown).
Jeff Ruby A Louisville landmark originating from Cincinnati Ohio. This upscale steakhouse is perfect for any special occasion or just an evening to treat yourself. It’s all about the “experience” at this legendary steakhouse. The atmosphere is fancy with a fun and vibrant twist. The hardest part of your dinner will be deciding between a steak that melts in your mouth or any of the raw bar options…wonderful sushi! If you aren’t in the mood for a steak when visiting, the duck is a delightful alternative.
Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse Another great restaurant for beers and a burger (their burger makes my top 5 list) and you can catch a baseball game since this yummy food stop is attached to Louisville Slugger Field. Fresh brewed beer flows from the taps at this low key eatery that also specializes in BBQ and plenty of apps. You can’t go wrong with the beer pretzel, pork belly on a stick, nachos or the wings!
Wild Eggs I could go on and on about Louisville’s exceptional and tasty local restaurants but there is a reason why Wild Eggs has 4 locations in our great city (usually all with a wait to get a table). This brunch spot seems to be a Kentucky favorite with locations also in Lexington and Bowling Green. Enjoy the friendly and peppy atmosphere while devouring their Kalamity Katie’s Border Benedict or the Mexico City Marie’s Chilaquiles. They also have plenty of appetizing options to satisfy any sweet tooth and a lunch menu that is far above average. This one also appeals to the little munchkins with a yummy kiddo menu and an extensive display of artworks from past little boy and girl customers. Like any great brunch restaurant, Wild Eggs knows its specialty so don’t wait until too late in the day to please your taste buds. This great spot closes everyday around 2:30/3:00.
NULUToast on Market One of my favorite spots to grab brunch in Louisville. What’s not to love about Toast…service with a friendly smile, scrumptious food, fun atmosphere and call ahead seating but shhhhh! Don’t tell everyone that little trick because this Louisville restaurant tends to stay pretty busy especially on weekends. If you make a stop by for brunch, make sure to sample their hash brown casserole, one of their specialty pancakes and a mimosa (or a bloody mary). Oh and just a little tidbit, this lovely Louisville hot spot is closed on Mondays so those cravings will have to wait until Tuesdays.
Mayan Cafe You are in for a treat! Right in the heart of the walkable NULU neighborhood, you can take a trip south to the Yucatan peninsula (at least for a wonderful dinner). This innovative farm to table restaurant is lead by renowned chef Bruce Ucan. Start with the ceviche and empanadas but leave plenty of room for the Chocinita Pibil with the fried plantains and Tok-sel lima beans. I actually don’t care for lima beans but these are the exception. This cozy restaurant typically has full tables and there is a reason why it’s sought after for catering for those who want a step above for their taste buds!
Germantown, Schnitzelburg and ButchertownHammerheads Don’t worry about being underdressed in this cozy basement smokehouse that churns out everything yummy. The atmosphere is simple but the food is simply delicious. This hidden gastropub has a healthy selection of craft beers and don’t forget your mac and cheese balls, PBLT, Duck Tacos, Truffle fries, any of their delectable burgers and I could go on and on. Just don’t venture over on a Sunday…the doors will be closed until Monday.
Comeback Inn Travel down to the end of Hammerheads block for a local award winner. This low key Italian eatery will fill your belly. This one is an easy pick for me…the Gorgonzola Pasta dish. Its perfection in a bowl! Just a note, don’t plan to start your week at the Comeback Inn because they are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Butchertown Grocery Formally a family owned grocery store around the turn of the century, the restaurant name is very fitting. The vibes of this cool eatery mirror the neighborhood perfectly…a little raw, a little polish and a lot of warmth. 2 floors and typically 2 separate menus and some very enjoyable specialty cocktails. Begin with the Gnocchi, French Onion Soup and the Pecan salad. I know you are probably full at this point but leave a little room for the Chicken and Waffles or the Steak Frites. The upstairs boasts an intimate dining room if you need to book a private event. There is also a huge upstairs bar and lots of cozy seating nooks and banquettes. Perfectly fun local for dinner and drinks and don’t forget brunch!
Eiderdown German comfort food is the theme and beer taps are plentiful. The only negative is trying to select only one entree from the menu. Start with the duck fat popcorn or the pretzel and any entree shouldn’t disappoint but make sure to get a side of the potato salad. It’s a first come first serve establishment (reservations are only for parties of 10 or more) and Mondays are a no go.
Monnik Beer Company This neighborhood brewpub focuses on 2 things-quality food and quality beer. Try out the donder fries and spiced pepitas and enjoy a local beer in the chill atmosphere. You might get lucky and catch some live music if you time your visit during a show…check their website for event details. The weekends also offer a traditional English fry-up in the late morning/early afternoon and Mondays are the closed day.
B-Town Pie Co Visit Copper and Kings Distillery for a tour and maybe a little brandy but make sure you find the orange trailer with the smell of deliciousness flowing from the open air windows. The flaky pastry shell of the meat pie is scrumptious and if the Hawaiian is on special make it your selection. You can’t go wrong with spud chips and I prefer the Ginger beer soda. If you are in the area, this is a great quick lunch spot (or just an afternoon snack)!
HighlandsThe Eagle Yum! Only 2 words to describe this eatery…Fried Chicken. I imagine you are already sold but if you are still on the fence, this restaurant is a refreshing combination of old fashion southern cooking with a trendy flip. Technically this one falls in the category of a small chain restaurant but you won’t get that feeling in your dining experience. There is fried chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes and even the sweet tea which you have been forewarned is incredibly sweet. There is a little magic happening back in the kitchen with the secret brine and breading and make sure to get a side of the mac & cheese. No traditional desserts but the sweet potatoes are the way to go if you are craving a little sugar after your meal. P.S-don’t forget their Spicy Honey sauce if you like a little kick
Jack Fry’s From the moment you walk through the door of this cozy Louisville landmark, this restaurant exudes the traditions of the derby city. Walls covered in a plethora of photographs tell a great story and the food shows you why this place has remained a mainstay since the 1930s (minus a brief time in the 70s). The list is long of publications throwing praise at this Louisville staple and the favorite menu items are the staples…the burger and the filet. Whether a business lunch or a special dinner, Jack Fry’s delivers (and sometimes with live Jazz)!
Louvino Small plates and wine are their specialty! Your palate will be pleased with over 70 wine options by the glass and you can taste the Southern marks on all their dishes filled with lots of local ingredients. The brussels sprouts salad with steak and the bacon wrapped dates are among my favorites. You also can’t go wrong with the fried green tomatoes. There is also a location in Middletown and in Indianapolis.
Yummy Pollo Priding themselves on no frying and no freezing, this lunch hot spot has delicious slow roasted chicken! They close up each weekday at 6:30pm and 3pm on Saturday so dinner is probably out. Yuka fries are a must and you really can’t go wrong with anything else. This restaurant is just YUMMY!