Staying on top of the Louisville restaurant scene is no easy feat. With a new, locally owned, uniquely inspired restaurant opening nearly every week, it’s easy to get lost in the fast-paced world of where to dine next. The late summer and fall of 2015 were no exception, with an impressive slew of dining establishments putting down roots in the always foodie-centric Highlands and NuLu neighborhoods, as well as more up-and-coming corners of the city like Portland and Schnitzelburg. Lucky for us, the flow of new places to eat, drink and see-and-be-seen will be anything but stymied in 2016. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, here are 10 restaurants, all less than six months old, you need to try in January and February, ensuring your schedule is clear for future restaurant hopping as the new doors of 2016 begin to open.
10 New Restaurants in Louisville
3400 Frankfort Ave. • (502) 895-2235
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m to 9 p.m.; closed on Mondays
We filled you in on the good news last year: the “hot chicken” craze has hit Louisville! Joella’s was first on the scene and came out swinging, their flavorful and hot-as-heck chicken an instant hit. The expansion plans for this fast-casual concept are aggressive to say the least, with new locations already in the works in Lexington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Test your taste buds for lunch or dinner — Joella’s is open Tuesday through Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
2011 Grinstead Drive, #104 • (502) 882-2507
Hours: Mondays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch, 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner; Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch, 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner; closed on Mondays
Talk about a beautiful transformation! It’s hard to believe that the sleek, upscale dining room of Fontleroy’s was once home to the Uncle Maddio’s casual pizza joint vibe. With a menu rooted in Southern favorites and a bar program that is gaining quick attention, Fontleroy’s seems to have cooked up a recipe for success in the heart of Louisville’s foodie mecca, the Highlands.
1359 Bardstown Road • (502) 822-3963
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays
We were sad to see perennial favorite Palermo Viejo close last year. The Argentinian restaurant had been a Highlands staple for years. The new tenants are showing great promise, however, and bring equally delicious global flavors to the table. La Chasse is French at heart, with a touch of Spanish influence thrown in for good measure. The dining room is elegant, while remaining approachable, ensuring the food is the true star of every experience. See for yourself Tuesday through Saturday when they open for dinner at 5 p.m.
732 East Market St. • (502) 690-6595
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays
Without question, the next time the craving for a margarita strikes, head directly to Galaxie Bar. Home to a bar menu unlike any other in town, this casual, NuLu neighborhood hangout slings what is easily one of — if not the — best margaritas in Louisville. It is the ideal libation to sip on while sampling their eclectic small plates, featuring flavors from the Middle East, India, Mexico and the Mediterranean. Order your margarita spicy when you visit Tuesday through Saturday when Galaxie Bar opens early and closes late from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
2300 Lexington Road • (502) 458-8888
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and 5 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and 5 to 10 p.m.
When it comes to decadence and taking things over the top, Le Moo earns top honors in this freshman class list of new dining spots. We enjoyed splurging on our own Le Moo steak dinner experience in November, our prime rib-eye and house-ground burger cooked and seasoned to perfection. Le Moo is currently open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and serves dinner every night of the week beginning at 5 p.m.
736 E. Market St. • (502) 919-7068
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays
Royals Hot Chicken opened just before the ball dropped ushering in 2016, turning out various levels of heat on their fried chicken, the spice mix and frying technique a year in the making and analyzed to perfection. Regular business hours are kicking off at the start of the new year (open at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday). Be sure to follow along on social media to keep up with the latest. Bonus news? They have soft serve! We can’t think of a better way to quell the burn after a hot meal at Royals.
1800 Portland Ave. • (502) 708-2505
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Being strapped for cash should not mean one is denied a healthful meal, and the owners of Portland’s newest eatery, The Table, have created a space where there is room for every Louisvillian. What a novel and noble concept: a restaurant where you pay what you can. Those who find themselves unable to pay at all are able to work a shift to compensate for their meal, which is crafted using locally sourced ingredients. The best part? The food is delicious, especially the smoked chicken sandwich and the Parmesan fries! The Table is open Monday through Friday, serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1036 E. Burnett Ave. • (502) 742-6564
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 to 12 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays
It was a long wait, but Monnik Beer Company finally welcomed eager and beer-thirsty Louisvillians into their dining room and bar. Samples of their various brews are on offer in five ounces, a full pour or growler sizes, enabling you to taste through the portfolio and take home a jug of your favorite flavor. The food is on point, as well, their thin and well-charred burgers a highlight, in addition to the various french fry dishes they have. Monnik Beer Company currently opens at 4 p.m. every day except Monday.
1076 E. Washington St. • (502) 742-8315
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday brunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; upstairs open Wednesday and Sunday 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the much-anticipated Butchertown Grocery back in October, and were very excited to see the trio of developers’ visions come to life with the official opening in November. The community can now sample the housemade gnocchi, pasta and rotisserie chicken of Chef Bobby Benjamin in the first-level dining room before moving upstairs to the bar and intimate performance venue, where late-night snacks and drinks aplenty are available. Butchertown Grocery is open for lunch and dinner beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with the upstairs lounge opening at 8 p.m.
1321 Herr Lane, Ste. 130 • (502) 708-2196
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12 to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 8:30 p.m.
The speed at which local restaurateurs Fernando, Cristina and Yaniel Martinez open new restaurants is mind boggling. The fact that each restaurant is a raving success is astounding, given the large and varied scope of each project. Artesano is no exception and may very well be their best creation yet. The Spanish tapas restaurant’s design is stylish and impressive, the ideal setting for the exceptional cuisine being turned out by Chef Mark Ford. Alas, Artesano does not take reservations, so you will likely have to grab a cocktail at the bar before being seated. We promise it is well worth the wait. Artesano is open every day of the week for lunch and dinner.
We raise our glass to what was a delectable 2015, and we toast what is sure to be a year of good eats and strong drinks in 2016!
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