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Apr 1, 2013 07:30 AM

Australians in Louisville - Please critique


We will be coming down to Louisville for a couple of nights in April. We are Australians in our early 30's and love farm to table or local flavors/modern or ethnic with a southern twist (like Milkwood).

I would really appreciate if you could please critique my itinerary or provide other suggestions.

For Breakfast/lunch i was thinking Toast on Main and Hilbilly Tea. I know Hillbilly tea has received knocks for plate size but that doesn't bother me too much.

For lunch we wanted to try the hotbrown at the Brown hotel and undecided on the other lunch spot the next day. We like local flavors and small hole in the walls would be good. Any ideas?

For dinner i have a reservation at Milkwood? Any chowhounders have an opinion? I am not sure where i should go the next night. I was recommended to go to Proof on Main but i am not so sure, reviews seem a bit iffy. Also had recommendations to hit Jack Frys. Any ideas?

Drinking! I really like cocktails and small/local bars. Any suggestions? I heard about Meat and would really like to visit there. Any other ideas? Or some great bars that i can hop around?

Finally! We are planing to drive out to Bardstown the day we leave any ideas? We wanted to try Burgoo.

Thanks for reading i love the chowhound community. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


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  1. About 7 years ago we ate here: and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the Burgoo and can't comment on the "Authenticity" of it but I liked it.
    Keep in mind that Burgoo is really just a hunter's stew. Whatever was shot/trapped in a pot with potatoes and veggies. So the "rules" are pretty loose.

    You may be interested in this: It's about a half hour out of town in Indiana.


    1. Sounds like good plans so far. Milkwood is a good choice. The hot and sour soup and potatoes with octopus bacon are both very tasty. I also had the 2 day veal which had great flavors but the presentation made it somewhat difficult to eat and the textures seemed a little disjointed. Still looking forward to going back soon. The "Milkwood" cocktail is also very nice.

      Proof is really nice but I haven't been since the new chef took over. Sounds like it is still very good or even better. Probably more expensive than Milkwood but more typical fine dining atmosphere if that is what you're wanting. Actually it isn't far from Milkwood and you could drop by Proof for drinks at the bar and hit St. Charles exchange as well which is just a block away from Proof. Also Doc Crow's is just 2-3 blocks away from Milkwood and has a nice bar.

      If you're looking to do some bar hopping just a few blocks to the east is Nulu district which is closer to Meat. Here I would stop by Bistro La Coop if you can find room at the bar and maybe hit Rye for "the shit" cocktail with some raw oysters if you're so inclined. The food at La Coop and Rye are also very good but dinner only. Hammerheads and Game restaurant may also be worth considering for dinner.

      Lunch at Harvest (in Nulu) is another option and they have burgoo on the menu at the moment. I haven't been for brunch but it sounds like Garage bar and Silver Dollar are doing brunch now. Mussles and Burger Bar also serves a good lunch but is on the east end of town hidden in a shopping center.

      Hope you have a fun trip!

      2 Replies
      1. re: etonian

        Thanks so much for your comments. Particularly the Bar recs. Have you been to Jack Frys? Do you rate the other restaurants you mentioned over it?

        I am very excited to visit. We aren't doing anything museum/attraction wise we just want to beat the pavement and experience the city.

        1. re: Kangagirl83

          I'll take great food and drink over museums any day. Incidentally, however, if you have any interest in modern art Proof is actually just next door to the 21c museum. You have to walk through the museum to get to the restrooms and the restaurant typically has various 21st century artwork on their walls which rotate throughout the season.

          Its been a while since I've eaten at Jack Fry's so its kinda hard for me to say with much certainty but I would expect it to be similar quality. It has been around much longer than a lot of other restaurants and is a local favorite for sure. That area of town is more densely packed with local bars and hangouts than most other areas in the city and can make for an interesting evening in its own right.

          Let me know how it goes!

      2. a great place for a lunch would be Taco Punk.. great innovative tacos and great guac...also The Mayan Cafe is extremely good for dinner, if you go..get the lima me on this one. Also down in this area is Decca, great spot, great food. if you go to Meat, know that the gastropub The blind pig is on the first floor and they are wonderful for a meal. On Bardstown Rd. we have quite a few great restaurants, like La Gallo Rosso for Italian, Seviche for high class Mexican, a few good Indian places and some good sushi bars, Palermo Viejo for Argentinian.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LouisvilleFoodie

          I tell you what i think the Mayan Cafe looks like a winner.

          Maybe i should swap Jack Frys for it or go for lunch on Friday.

          What do you guys think?

          1. re: Kangagirl83

            Just make sure you get to Jack Fry's. I've been visiting Louisville for years and trying all the best places in town, and Jack Fry's is the best I've been to. I posted a detailed report of my recent dinner there, at

            1. re: Kangagirl83

              Mayan Cafe is a winner - then walk over to Decca or Rye for a cocktail!

            2. re: LouisvilleFoodie

              What is the status on Taco Punk? I remember either reading or seeing on the news that they we in financial trouble?

            3. Thank you all. Well one thing i have learnt is making choices in Louisville is tough!

              You guys have a great scene and to be honest it was completely unexpected. Lousiville was intially just to break up a drive to Nashville i didnt really know much about the city but now i am really excited.

              I think i will run with Milkwood and need to decide on Jack Frys or the Mayan Cafe the 2nd night.

              For lunch a Hot Brown and Taco Punk though maybe i can do lunch at Mayan Cafe on a Friday?

              I want to stop by Proof for a cocktail and bourban sampling as well as Bistro La Coop and Rye and Meat.

              Thank you every one. Any final thoughts? I will come back and tell you how i went.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kangagirl83

                >> need to decide on Jack Frys or the Mayan Cafe the 2nd night.

                That's an easy choice. Jack Fry's for sure!!! It's fantastic, the best place in Louisville IMHO. Mayan Café is pretty good, but really, if you enjoy terrific food, go to Jack Fry's. I posted a detailed report of my recent dinner there, at Make a reservation in advance, as they get busy during dinner hours, even during the week.

              2. Just a couple of other thoughts to confuse you even more. Decca which is a block or so from Rye/la coop/mayan cafe has had a band playing in the basement bar area the times I have been there on weekends if you're interested in music. I believe they have always been bluegrass bands most times.

                If you have any interest in beer the Louisville Beer Store is also right this area as well and offers bar service as well as retail sales. They sell only craft/ non mass produced beer from the US and around the globe. They also have a gastropub, Holy Grale, which is just a couple blocks away from Jack Fry's which has plenty of interesting beers on tap.


                1 Reply
                1. re: etonian

                  If you go to the Holy Grale, you must try the beer cheese & pretzel bread.