In the Local Palate‘s 2023 Restaurants Issue, our state-by-state guide highlights the new restaurants that have emerged since 2022. Local expert, Robin Roenker, shares 9 new restaurants near cultural hub, Louisville, Kentucky.
The Kitchen Table | Clermont
Nestled in the picturesque campus of the Jim B. Beam Distilling Co., The Kitchen Table welcomes visitors like family. Just 30 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky, this restaurant acts an inviting space to refuel before or after a distillery tour, but is worth the trek on its own.
Chef Brian Landry, a New Orleans native, created the restaurant’s menu in close partnership with Fred and Freddie Noe, the father-and-son Beam descendants who serve as the brand’s seventh- and eighth-generation master distillers. “The menu itself consists of a lot of dishes that are either family favorites or have some connection to the family’s past,” says Landry. Case in point: the restaurant’s specialty wood-fired pizzas, with crusts made using the same proprietary yeast strain that has gone into Jim Beam bourbon since the 1930s.
While giving a nod to Kentucky’s bourbon heritage, Landry’s culinary team has also embraced Kentucky’s rich barbecue culture. “We have this awesome outdoor smoker where we’re smoking briskets and chickens and pork butts,” says Landry, cofounder of QED Hospitality, which operates several restaurants in New Orleans and Nashville.
“People come to the Kitchen Table for all different reasons—from locals who live nearby to families from across the US and Canada who come to experience the bourbon tradition here,” says Emery Whalen, QED Hospitality’s CEO and fellow cofounder. “We want everyone who comes to feel warmly welcomed, and that they were able to make a connection to the Beam and Noe family’s heritage here.”
Can’t Miss at The Kitchen Table
Paying homage to Jim Beam bourbon and boasting flavorful smoker skills, there’s space for everyone at The Kitchen Table.
Your visit should include creole-seasoned duck breast bites wrapped around pickled jalapeño before being wrapped in bacon and drizzled with cane syrup gastrique.
You can’t go wrong—even on warm days—with a hearty bowl of the Bluegrass State’s signature stew of pork, beef, chicken, corn, and potatoes.
There are only good choices among the restaurant’s signature options—choose from smoked margherita, wild mushroom, pepperoni, sausage, or your own creation.
Jim Beam Highball
Say cheers to the Beam heritage with this blend of white-label bourbon, carbonated water, and grapefruit. Or sample a signature flight of bourbons for a wider taste of the Beam legacy.
Kentucky Restaurants On the Rise
Eight new restaurants not to be missed in or around Louisville, Kentucky
The food—and the setting—are endlessly Instagrammable at the colorful new location of Guacamole Modern Mexican, now in the heart of Louisville’s NuLu district. Start with housemade, traditional, or Yucateco guac, followed by a trio of sopes, grilled mahi mahi tacos, or cooked-to-perfection carnitas or enchiladas.
Sip from a long list of bourbons, tequilas, and whiskeys, or sample an innovative craft cocktail—or mocktail—in this new Highlands-area gathering hub. Graze on gourmet popcorn and other charcuterie fare while sampling elevated creations like Bugs Bunny’s Gold Tooth, a rum blend with “corngeat” and lime, garnished with a carrot shrub.
Pick from an extensive list of creative cocktails and Southern comfort foods at this Black-owned business recently relaunched in a new downtown Louisville location. Choose from soul-satisfying “like-Grandma-used-to-make” dishes, including fried green tomatoes, catfish, fried chicken, and mac and cheese. Or go lighter with an order of Cajun salmon and Rasta pasta.
La Cosa Nostra | Danville
Fine Italian comes to downtown Danville—home to Centre College and the popular annual Great American Brass Band Festival—in the form of classic dishes like chicken saltimbocca (lightly fried chicken topped with prosciutto, spinach, mozzarella, and marsala sage sauce), cacio e pepe, and scratch-made spaghetti and meatballs. There are pizzas, too.
Stella’s | Paducah
Situated in the historic 19th-century Cohen Building—one of this Western Kentucky city’s most notable (and supposedly haunted) downtown properties—Stella’s specializes in craft cocktails and elevated comfort foods. Chase a tower of Guinness-battered onion rings with cornmeal-crusted catfish, served with local greens and a hot-n-sweet chow chow relish.
Add Peruvian cuisine to the growing list of international fare available in Kentucky horse country, thanks to this new dine-in and carry-out spot earning rave reviews. Enjoy traditional favorites like chaufa de pollo (Peruvian fried rice with roasted chicken) or lomo saltado (sautéed beef with rice and onions).
Kentucky Restaurants On Our Radar
New restaurants set to open soon in Louisville, Kentucky:
James Beard Award-winning chef Edward Lee is bringing a modern Korean steakhouse to Butchertown, paired with a takeout noodle shop.
Two female-run (and competing) bakeries have joined forces to open this all-vegan bakery, which also offers specialty cake supplies and includes a gift shop.
- by Tate Jacaruso
- by TLP's Partners