We say Kentucky, you say fried chicken. But the gastronomic scene in the Bluegrass State is so much more than that. On the plate, the locals do a good line in both progressive Southern cuisine and farm-to-table food so there’s plenty of choice for curious foodies. From rooftop bars to bourbon bistros, Louisville and Lexington are your best bet to get your culinary kicks. This is how to do epicurean delights, Kentucky-style.
Housed in the historic Gratz Park Inn is this classic Lexington restaurant that finds the perfect balance between fine dining and farm-to-table food in its artful Southern cuisine. The focus is on the freshest ingredients, removing anything unnecessary to make sure that it’s the Southern flavours that take centre stage on the plate.
One for the Bourbon fans; over 300 rare and domestic bourbons wait behind the bar at this Lexington favourite (OBC stands for Old Bourbon Country). The menu is eclectic and locally-focused with everything from oysters and smokey shrimp to ribs and steaks, while the old barn-like interiors add an aptly rustic atmosphere.
Lexington’s Country Club takes the American art of smoking meats (a.k.a barbecue) to the next level with its creative fare. It exacts a careful science of hardwoods and low temperatures to apply flavour to its meaty dishes, all produced from Kentucky-raised cow, hog, goat, sheep and chicken.
PROOF ON MAIN
This acclaimed restaurant in the heart of the 21c Museum Hotel may just be the hottest table in Louisville. The slick interiors feature a revolving exhibition of contemporary art pieces while the food itself appears like culinary works of art. The menus are dedicated to local farming and change with the seasons, but think appetizers of Kentucky Catfish dip, Bourbon Barrel Pickles and Bison burgers served with a Jezebel sauce and you’ll get the picture.
Everyone who’s anyone in Louisville likes to be spotted in this history-laden, circa-1933 bistro bar. Housed in a former saloon it serves-up Southern fare and cocktails with cool live jazz. Photos of Derby jockeys, boxers and baseball players crowd the walls, giving a nod to Kentucky’s sporting greats, and the atmosphere here always comes with plenty of character and southern style.
If you’re planning on going al fresco then our motto is make sure you’re doing it on a rooftop. Luckily 8UP provides with its 4,000-square-foot open-air bar and kitchen found (you guessed it) eight floors up. Here you can sip on sophisticated craft cocktails and sup on their take on progressive American food against a panoramic backdrop overlooking downtown Louisville.