Recently, one of my favorite bloggers, Katrina, posted a tagged meme about her five favorite local restaurants. Although she didn't tag me, I found the topic intriging and decided to blog about it myself. Louisville, Kentucky, is my hometown and unlike some folks who can't wait to leave their hometown, I love it. Oh, I would be open to moving wherever God may take me, but Louisville will always be my home. It's a unique town - not too southern, not too northern - just right. And, our food selections here are quite diverse given our somewhat non-metro feel. I'm including restaurants that I frequent, since there are oodles of higher level local restaurants that I visit periodically that I love. Let's just say, we eat out a lot in Louisville. Without further ado...here we go...
1. Kayrouz Cafe - The Kayrouz family has operated restaurants since the 1920s here in Louisville. For as long as I can remember, my Mom and her friends would go to the St. Matthews restaurant for lunch and have Benedictine sandwiches. Then, many times, my family would go there for Sunday brunch after church. It was nothing spectacular in it's decor, but the food was wonderful. The restaurant closed in 2003 and we were left with no Kayrouz touch on the local food scene. Then in 2006, the Kayrouz Cafe was born. The son of a Kayrouz opened this cafe, also in St. Matthews, and it's by far one of my favorite places for a good light meal and great conversation. The outdoor seating is glorious when the weather permits. It doesn't hurt that there is a Graeter's Ice Cream shop across the street.
2. WW Cousins - This is a local burger place that makes the juiciest burgers around. You place your order in line and give them your first name and when your order is ready, you pick it up. One of the crazy things my friends and I used to do was give a fake name just for grins. "Amelia, your order is ready, Amelia." The menu here isn't huge, but they do offer chicken and other items, but I can't pass up the burgers. Plus, they have a bakery in the store where they make their own hamburger buns that is just about as good as the burger itself. And, with the bakery comes the ability to buy homemade cookies and treats. The restaurant is located near the cheap-o theater in town (I'd call it the Dollar Movie House, but it's more like $3 now) so it makes a nice quick place to grab some grub before a movie.
3. Kingfish - For the seafood lovers, you can't beat Kingfish. The first restaurant opened on Derby Day 1948. Being on the Ohio River, you have to locate your seafood establishment riverside, which they did. Since that time, the original restaurant at 4th and River has closed but they have a riverview location on Zorn Avenue and one across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Whitefish, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, and the greasiest onion rings you'll eat are all included on the menu. I frequent the non-river location on Blankenbaker Avenue and the food is just as good.
4. J Gumbo's aka Gumbo a Go Go - This Cajun hole in the wall is one of my favorite places for two reasons - the food is excellent and the price is right. All the "Big Bowl" favorites are $5 and include Jambalaya, Etouffee, and their house specialty, Drunken Chicken. What started as a little place on Frankfort Avenue (home of a thousand great local eateries) has grown to seven locations across the city.
5. Homemade Pie Kitchen - Like most of the places on my list, this started out as a one-location wonder that has blossomed into multiple locations. With the original location in the Highlands, a visit to this kitchen full of sweet treats during the warmer months usually meant a long line - but it was well worth it. Everything is homemade there, from the pie to the cookies to the ice cream. And the beauty is you can eat it there or take it home. Nothing spells lovin' like a slice of their signature Caramel Dutch Apple Pie with a dollop of ice cream.
Honorable Mention: Qdoba - This Mexican Subway isn't unique to Louisville, but it is by far my favorite restaurant, above all. I am completely convinced that there are Qdobas in Heaven, right next door to a Starbucks and a bookstore. But, I digress. If you've never eaten at a Qdoba, find one near you on their site. Fresh ingredients, delectable seasoned chicken, and even tortilla chips with a splash of lime make this restaurant stand out. And after you buy 10 entrees, you get the next one free. All the more reason to visit often.
I could go on, but visit Louisville Originals, a site dedicated to many of the original restaurants located in the great city I call home.