The Bluegrass State may be known for horses and bourbon, but Louisville is also recognized as a foodie destination — and despite challenges due to COVID-19, new eateries continue to pop up in Kentucky’s largest city. Some celebrate the South with traditional dishes, while others cater to more niche audiences. Either way, one thing is certain: they all have something unique to contribute to Louisville’s restaurant community, and each one offers a new and exciting dining experience. Here are five recently opened eateries to try.
5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try
CASK Southern Kitchen & Bar
9980 Linn Station Rd., Louisville, KY 40223 • (502) 614-6499
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday
Open for carryout, curbside pickup, and indoor and outdoor dining.
Ashley Sayler and her former partner opened a new restaurant in November 2019. But when the pandemic hit, she knew she had to pivot. “We were at a higher price point, and would never have survived,” she explains. With a new baby on the way and so much on the line, she decided her best option was to buy her partner out and create a new dining concept.
After some remodeling and a rebrand, Ashley opened CASK Southern Kitchen & Bar in July. “Cask is actually another name for a bourbon barrel,” she says, “and the reason we did that is that we have a good amount of bourbon; my husband loves bourbon.” The space’s updated decor reflects its new name and more casual feel; cask blueprints adorn the walls, and bourbon barrels connected with rope line the outdoor perimeter.
The new restaurant is what Ashley describes as “truly Southern,” with a menu that boasts everything from chicken and waffles to fried okra. A popular pick is the shrimp and grits — slow-cooked Weisenberger grits served with Gulf shrimp, tasso ham gravy, and a side of Southern greens. CASK also offers fresh-smoked dishes, including smoked meatloaf, which is available as a sandwich or served as a “big plate” with house BBQ sauce and a brown sugar glaze. Regardless of which entrée guests select, they can also enjoy complimentary cornbread made with pimento cheese and topped with smoked tomato butter.
“We went to a lower price point to do more volume sales — and it makes it a little more approachable for families,” Ashley says, adding that their weekly specials include CASK Burger Night Tuesdays, Wingsday Wednesdays, and Dollar-on-the-Half-Shell Thursdays.
Christmas Morning Café
2359 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 614-7409
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday
Open for carryout and outdoor dining.
The holidays came early in Louisville’s Clifton neighborhood, thanks to Craig Bishop’s Christmas Morning Café on Frankfort Avenue. Craig acquired the space of a former Italian restaurant earlier this year, opening his doors to spread Christmas cheer on August 5.
“It’s a really tiny building,” he says of the roughly 500-square-foot eatery. “We’ve decided to call it a food truck without wheels.” The affectionately named café specializes in all-things-Christmas — from holiday-themed breakfast and brunch menu items to red and white decor and nonstop Christmas music.
“I’ve been a Christmas lover since I was a kid,” Craig explains. “I’ve always decorated. Wherever I lived — sometimes as early as August — I would start, and just keep decorating all the way up until Christmas. In the last couple of years, I just never took anything down.” He estimates 90% of Christmas Morning Café’s decor is comprised of items he already had in his collection, including a four-foot animated Santa, a ceramic nativity scene, fiber-optic holiday bears and a Christmas teacup set.
Every menu item is also appropriately themed. Favorites include “Jingle All the Waffle Sticks,” “I’ll Be Home for Omelets,” and “All I Want for Christmas Are My Three Breakfast Tacos.” Guests can call ahead to place a takeout order or enjoy their yuletide meals under the outdoor umbrellas or pergolas while listening to Christmas tunes. “We have Bluetooth speakers out there, and we play Christmas music all day,” Craig says, adding that if he happens to hear anything other than previously approved songs playing, he’s quick to make that fix.
Though the initial idea for Christmas Morning Café began as a way to provide supplemental income, Craig says he’s glad he was able to create a happy space for the community amidst the pandemic. “It’s joyful for people to have good food,” he says, “and I’m just one of those guys that loves Christmas. If people are around me long enough, they’re going to love it, too — they just don’t really have a choice.”
Matt Winn’s Steakhouse
750 Central Ave., Louisville, KY 40208 • (502) 636-4888
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m., Closed Sunday through Tuesday
Open for indoor dining.
Named after a renowned horse racing pioneer and innovator, and featuring a unique bourbon room, Matt Winn’s Steakhouse is a true Kentucky restaurant. “We’d been talking for several years about a year-round restaurant at Churchill Downs,” says Executive Chef David Danielson, explaining that previously, all the dining options at Churchill Downs were only open during live races. “We’d just heard from so many people over the years that they would really want a dine-in destination [here] year-round.” Construction began last year, and the steakhouse’s doors finally opened in August.
“We really wanted to create a truly unique dining experience in food quality, service and atmosphere,” David says, referring to the sixth-floor space that boasts floor-to-ceiling glass and overlooks the racetrack, giving guests a prime view while they dine. Though it is a steakhouse, he emphasizes the menu also offers a selection of seafood and other dishes.
“We really try to showcase some of the local fare and prepare it to tell that story about local Kentucky agriculture,” he says. “We’ve got amazing farms supplying all kinds of different ingredients, whether it’s produce, cheeses or meats.” Many of his dishes have a Bluegrass State twist — from the Freedom Run Lamb Rack en Persillade, served with crushed pea salad, dijon mustard, and mint; to the Bourbon Smoked Dry-Aged Pork Chop, which comes with Weisenberger grits and country ham jus.
As for drinks, Matt Winn’s extensive selection includes more than 700 different wines and a room with vintage bourbon and some of the world’s rarest bourbons. “We really wanted to put together a very high-end, luxe dining experience for our guests,” David says.
Moya’s American Kitchen
10000 Linn Station Rd., Louisville, KY 40223 • (502) 496-6692
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Open for carryout, curbside pickup, and indoor and outdoor dining.
Restaurant owner Prasad Kaza had been preparing his new eatery for quite some time and was finally ready to open its doors in March 2020. He completely refurbished both the interior and exterior of his new building, keeping its original structure but restaining the wood to emote a warm, old-fashioned feeling. “He’d been working on this restaurant for three or four years,” explains Moya’s American Kitchen General Manager Chris Cunningham. COVID-19 had other plans, halting their grand opening just two weeks before launch. The team shifted gears, finally welcoming patrons on June 12, 2020.
A grand wooden staircase greets guests just inside the front doors, which Chris likens to the one in Titanic. It leads to an upper level, which adds to the robust seating options at Moya’s. With socially distant arrangements, all the restaurant’s tables can accommodate up to 80 people inside, 40 on the covered patio, and 50 on the lakeside deck.
Prasad’s nieces and nephews came up with the restaurant name — “moya” means “uncle” in their native tongue — but it in no way reflects the cuisine served there. “He just wanted to do good old, American comfort food,” Chris says. That includes a selection of six different half-pound burgers, appetizers like chicken and biscuit sliders, and more than a dozen dessert offerings.
Moya’s also boasts a large bar set in the middle of the space; surrounded by glass, it’s separated from the rest of the restaurant and is an ideal place to take advantage of their daily happy hour, which runs from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Swizzle Dinner & Drinks
140 N Fourth St., 25th Floor, Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 252-2500
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4:30 to 11 p.m.; Closed Sunday and Monday
Open for carryout and indoor dining.
On the 25th floor of the iconic Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, a modern-day supper club recently opened its doors to locals and visitors alike. “We’re trying to bring back the heritage and the history of the city,” says Scott Shoenberger, President and CEO of AJS Hotels, which operates the Galt House. “I wanted to do a throwback restaurant that is a supper club.”
Occupying the space that was once home to a formal, white-tablecloth restaurant, Swizzle Dinner & Drinks — which is named after a supper club that was located just a few blocks away decades ago — offers a more casual, approachable atmosphere with locally produced hardwood tables, and not a tablecloth in sight. Its entrance features wood walls with the texture and feel of bourbon barrel staves; blue herringbone floors lead to maple flooring in the main area.
Though the room seats 200, the tables are generously spaced, with eight feet between the back of one chair and the next. “That’s the way it was designed,” Scott explains, “so you could sit at your table and have a conversation — and the person behind you is not going to hear what you’re saying.” He drew inspiration for Swizzle from his childhood. “It has some throwback feel to it,” he says. “It’s a place like when I was growing up … where we would go out for dinner and it was conversational and relaxing.”
Whether guests are enjoying a cedar-plank roasted salmon filet with crispy broccolini, or the carnivore platter — which includes filet, New York strip, and rib-eye steaks with accompanying house-made sauces — they are guaranteed a unique sight from Louisville’s only waterfront hotel. “Wherever you’re sitting, you can have a different experience,” Scott says, explaining Swizzle also boasts an exhibition kitchen, private dining rooms, and specially designed wine display areas. “No matter where you’re seated, you have a view.”
Enjoy your dining adventures!
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