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Jun 7, 2004 04:36 PM

I-65, Chicago to Nashville

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Thursday evening, friends and I begin a journey from Chicago to the Manchester, TN, for several days of camping, music, eating, drinking, and I’m not quite sure what else. I’m not sure how much room our itinerary leaves us for stops along the way, but I aim to be prepared.

My specific request is for a late night BBQ stop in southern Indiana or northern Kentucky.

The plan is to depart Chicago on Thursday night at about 7:00. We should be in Louisville by midnight and arrive at the campground sometime before sunrise. Our route will pretty much follow I-65. I would love to find a Kentucky BBQ pit open around midnight Thursday night/Friday morning. I’m not hopeful, but if anyone has any recs, please pass them on. Any other tips are appreciated too, but we’re not going to be doing any fine dining. A good 24-hour diner (or reasonably late-night diner) with stellar country ham would be great too. Since we’re leaving relatively late, and hopefully on full stomachs, well, time will be the most difficult variable to satisfy, but we’re open to all sorts of food, especially if we can get it quick and take it on the road.

We will be driving back on Monday, same route, during the day, and likely stopping in Bardstown, so I’m happy to take recs that aren’t related to late-night dining for the return leg, again with an emphasis on good BBQ close to I-65. And if anyone has good Bardstown recs or a preferred distillery to visit, or even a great liquor store where we can stock up on bourbon, that’d be great too.



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  1. Aaron--
    Good luck on finding decent BarBQ in the northern KY area--despite the Cincinnati area being described by the Sterns as the food Mecca of the Midwest, BarBQ is one of those weak areas. A new place called Smokey Bones opened up on Ohio Pike in eastern Cincinnati (about 1/4 mile inside the I-275 loop at the Beechmont Exit) that is pretty decent for a chain--it's kind of like a semi-sports bar (about 5 different screens with audio at your table)--hope you get some better recommendations.
    Years ago, I toured the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, KY, not far from Bardstown. It's a great little place that makes incredibly good whisky with largely a wheat mash. They hand dip every bottle in hot red wax (limited edition 101 proof has gold wax)and let it drip down and dry so every bottle is different. They will even hand dip a small empty bottle for a souvenir. I doubt that things have changed that much--might be worth a short side trip.
    Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville is listed in the new Roadfood book and is often noted as one of the more unusual, eclectic places to eat, although I've only been there once. Maybe some locals there could give you some better ideas. If I was anywhere close to Harrodsburg on I-65, i would go to the Beaumont Inn and try their ham--probably the best for several hundred miles.
    Let us know where you went and what you thought.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KyMikey

      Thanks, KyMikey, I ended up at Smokin' Ed's in Smyrna, TN. Very enjoyable pulled pork sandwiches. We ended up stopping neither for food nor drink in Kentucky. By the time we were close to Loretto, the Makers distillery tours were finished for the day. But there will be other opportunities. Thanks for your input.


    2. About Lynn's Paradise Cafe: it's O.K. but has gotten touristy
      (you walk through a gift shop for example to enter the restaurant). There are far better places in Louisville.

      1. Nothing in Northern Kentucky but try Whitt's BBQ in Nashville. Just drive or wal up service and several locations. My fav!