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Unique dining in Louisville, KY

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I am new to the Louisville area and I am seeking a unique dining experience. I favor independently owned, moderately priced establishments with a little groove to them (any cuisine). I am also seeking a gourmet market recommendation (aside from Whole Foods and Wild Oats). Any ideas?

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  1. Try looking around the Bardstown Road area (The Highlands).
    There are several small places in that area.

    Cafe 360 had great Hot Brown. Very trendy place with with a great menu and great prices. They had Hookah(sp?) pipes with herb tabacco... maybe other chowhounds can help me out here.
    I can't wait to go back there.

    Cumberland Brews on Bardstown Rd. is one of my favorite for local micro brew.. the Nitro Porter & Pale Ale are my two favoites.They have a small menu as well..fun happening place.
    Check out the upstairs... relax and chill!

    Jack Fry's is a local favorite there we haven't tried yet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kelomaki

      Thank you, this is fantastic. Any ideas on a specialty market...I am really stumped. I keep hearing that "there are none in Louisville" but I refuse to believe it. I am hopeful!

    2. Go to Creation Gardens downtown. They started as a restaurant-only produce vendor and opened a storefront in order to sell odd bits from opened cases at the end of the day. They've expanded over the last few years cheeses, meats, bulk foods and spices, etc. Even better, their prices are great.

      Burger's Market is locally owned--it's on Ray Avenue at Grinstead Drive in the Highlands.

      Lotsa Pasta is on Lexington Road in St. Matthews--near Rainbow Blossom (local health food store). Lotsa has a tremendous assortment of cheeses, a great deli, and many, many frozen pastas, pizzas, calzones, etc.

      Doll's Market is on Brownsboro Road near Chenoweth Lane. It's probably the largest of the local "boutique" groceries.

      My favorite ethnic market is AM-PM on Gilmore Lane near Preston Highway. They have vats of fresh feta cheese (usually 4 or 5 varieties) and olives (usually 8- 10 varieties), plus a mind-boggling assortment of condiments, raw ingredients, cheeses, meats, breads, and confections. GREAT prices! French feta is $3.99/pound.

      Just down Gilmore Lane toward Preston Highway is the Oriental Supermarket. Exactly what the name implies.

      There's a newly remodeled Value Market (local grocery chain) at the Mid-City Mall on Bardstown Road in the Highlands. Great, diverse, locally owned and operated store.

      The Courier-Journal has an online directory of local ethnic and specialty markets, if you're looking for anything specific. http://www.courier-journal.com/kyguid...

      1. In season, you can get great stuff at farmers' markets around town--watch the newspaper for opening dates and locations.

        1. My favorite moderately priced Louisville restaurant is the now-closed Mayan Gypsy; however, the owner is reopening The Mayan Cafe on Market Street this Thursday. Their menu is online--http://www.themayancafe.com/

          Havana Rumba (St Matthews), Shiraz (Frankfort Avenue), Maido (Frankfort Avenue), Santa Fe Grill (3rd Street near Central Avenue), and Vietnam Kitchen (Iriquois Shopping Center) all have great, local, reasonably-priced ethnic food.

          Baxter Station (Payne Street near Baxter Avenue) is good, slightly upscale-d pub food. Come Back Inn is stellar (it's on Breckinridge Street at Swan Street near Germantown). Stevens and Stevens is a great lunch spot (it's in the back room of Ditto's on Bardstown Road near Grinstead).

          That's just what I can think of at the moment. If you're looking for something specific, I'll try to help out!

          3 Replies
          1. re: mamaciita

            Wow...perfect, thanks! Any ideas on a Thai restaurant?

            1. re: krenton

              Thai is probably my favorite ethnic cuisine. . .

              My favorite is Thai Smile 5--5800 Preston Highway (across from Indian Trail shopping center). Ph. 961-9018. The family that owns the restaurant are usually all there--including their two grade-school age children, and they're some the most friendly and welcoming restauranteurs I've met in years.

              1. re: krenton

                Not exactly Thai, but my vote for best value in Louisville bar none is Vietnam Kitchen in the Iroquois Manor Shopping Center just off Third Street. Some people just go for their Clay Pot Catfish, but I think their whole menu is fabulous.

            2. Sorry--once I got started thinking about food shopping. . .

              Nuts-n-Stuff on Preston Highway (across from Value City, near the Watterson) is a locally owned bulk food store.

              Paul's Fruit Market (various locations) has great produce and some gourmet and local seasonings, salad dressings, cheeses, etc.

              Day's (Bardstown Road at Edenside) has the best coffee in town, in my opinion.

              August Moon (Lexington Road near Grinstead) is good, upscale Chinese, and its sister, Asiatique, (Bardstown Road between Speed and Maryland--you have to be looking for it!) has good food and a great downstairs lounge.

              1. Oh, yeah--Jack's Lounge (Sears Avenue in St. Matthews) is a pretty great place to kick back. Most every seat is comfy and leather-covered. A little bit clique-y, especially during University of Louisville games, but sooooo relaxing. Great food and drinks, too.

                And if you want to splurge, try Le Relais at Bowman Field (Taylorsville Road). Delicious, atmospheric, and decadent!

                1. If you want funky, and good, food, try Lynn's Paradise Cafe.

                  Robin Garr is the best source of local info. Here is a link---go to his top 100 list.

                  http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/

                  1. Lilly's is my favorite...great menu and uses a lot of local stuff.

                    http://www.shoplateda.com

                    1. If you don't mind the drive.. go up to Cincinnati and hit Jungle Jims.. you can google it... it's a store like nothing you've ever been in before.. they have like 100 differant butters from all over the world, the first thing you see when you walk in is a sushi bar, then a hotdog cart selling boars head hotdogs, over 700 cheeses from all over.. it's amazing...not only does Cinci have Jungle Jims, they also have a Trader Joes.