EDITOR’S NOTE: As we continue to move through the pandemic’s various re-opening phases, it’s important to remember that operating hours and mask-wearing rules can change quickly. Please check with the restaurant you intend to visit beforehand to ensure that you have the most current information.
Whether you’re in search of a new breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner destination, we have you covered. These five new Louisville restaurants recently opened, adding exciting new dining options to this nationally recognized foodie city.
5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try
Black Jockeys Lounge
630 S. 4th St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 587-0526
Hours: Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday
Open for indoor dining and carryout.
When COVID-19 forced Louisville entrepreneur Tawana Bain to pivot from planning a traditional award show to creating a virtual rooftop event, she had no idea it would lead to rebranding her then-restaurant, Encore on 4th. “I had been doing work around the Derby as it relates to driving unity and making an impact,” she says. “One of the organizations that we partnered with for our awards program is called PPAATH, which stands for Project to Preserve African-American Turf History. They built this mobile museum of artwork that would keep the legacy of the Black jockey alive.”
Tawana was so inspired by their work, she initially decided to partner with PPAATH to rebrand the award show. Although plans changed, she decided to have the organization help build the virtual rooftop event, anyway. She was blown away by their work — so much so that she was inspired to rebrand her restaurant. “I was in awe of how beautiful and elegant [it looked],” she recalls. “Before a person even spoke a word, you were in an experience.”
Since Encore on 4th wasn’t a fine-dining establishment, Tawana and her team had to completely revamp everything in the restaurant — from centerpieces and decor to the dinner and drink menus. After several months of work, Black Jockeys Lounge opened in February 2021, serving up everything from sushi and shrimp and grits to jerk chicken and prime rib — and no meal would be complete without a cocktail named after a former jockey.
“What a lot of people don’t know … [is] we were a sit-in location years ago,” Tawana adds. “I am the first Black owner of the facility, and we sit right on the civil rights trail in Kentucky … It makes it really unique that you go from sit-ins to owning it — that is really cool history that really gelled with me.”
1991 Brownsboro Road, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 742-4596
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday
Open for indoor dining, carryout, and delivery through Grubhub and DoorDash.
Six Forks Burger Co. owners Troy King and Selena Johnson came across another interesting restaurant concept during a trip to California, but they kept the idea in their back pocket for several years. “We just really didn’t know if Louisville was ready to have a restaurant that focused only on French fries,” Troy says. But after they discovered a French fry that was made specifically for delivery — the “tin roof fry,” which is shaped like a tin roof and can hold its crunch for 40 minutes — they decided to go for it. Fry Daddy’s — named after Troy, a father of six — opened in February 2021, serving up fries with steak, chicken, lobster, crab, crawfish, vegan chicken and more.
In addition to the plethora of protein options, Fry Daddy’s also offers 13 different sauces to add a little extra flavor to any fry combination. “Our most popular [sauce] is probably lemon garlic, [which] goes well on the seafood,” Troy says. They also offer mango habanero, Caribbean jerk, honey mustard and a house-made buffalo ranch, to name a few. “You really can pick these sauces, and you can make a different meal every day,” he adds. “I’ve tried to figure out how many different combinations you can do with the different sauces and the different proteins — and it’s like, thousands.”
Hog Father Pizza Shop
1301 Story Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 409-6180
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Open for indoor and outdoor dining, carryout, curbside pickup, and delivery.
Andy Blieden didn’t plan to open a restaurant amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But when an ideal building became available, he took advantage of the opportunity and opened the doors of Hog Father Pizza Shop in February 2021. “I would have rather opened a pizza place not in the middle of a pandemic,” he laughs, “but that really wasn’t an option because the pandemic would not go away … It’s a long-term decision. The pandemic hopefully will be gone soon, and you know, we want to put people to work.” Andy says layoffs in the industry due to COVID-19 worked out in his favor. “Professionals who were available were like the cream of the crop,” he says, and under normal circumstances, the team he has would have likely taken years to develop.
The name Hog Father Pizza is an homage to the Butchertown neighborhood in which it sits, and there are several menu items — creations by Chef Crosby Reasor — that also pay tribute to Louisville’s original meatpacking district. The Hogfather pizza is topped with the shop’s red sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, pepperoni, shop-made sausage, city ham and pork belly. There’s also the Hog Father Smash Burger, which is comprised of a one-third pound beef patty, griddled onions, American cheese, bread and butter pickles, and a special sauce.
In addition to offering a variety of pizzas, sandwiches and sides, Hog Father Pizza Shop will also eventually open a 4,000-square-foot bar as well as a deck with ample outside seating. “We’re going to open [the bar] as soon as we can … as soon as it’s OK,” Andy says. “We’re [also] doing a 1,600-square-foot, two-story deck out back overlooking the soccer stadium so that people can social distance and be outside.”
1722 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 830-9500
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. closed Monday and Tuesday
Open for indoor and outdoor dining, carryout, and curbside pickup.
Geoffrey and Emily Heyde, husband-and-wife co-owners of upscale American cuisine restaurant Fork & Barrel, opened a new brunch spot in December 2020. When their brunch business at Fork & Barrel tripled amidst the COVID-19 in-person dining shutdown, and a Louisville eatery down the street permanently shut its doors, the Heydes decided to open a second restaurant and move their brunch menu to the new place.
“We did not have plans to open during the pandemic,” Geoffrey says. “When I heard North End [Café] closed and wasn’t reopening, I inquired about the location. It was a natural selection to do breakfast, lunch and brunch, as that is what the space was really known for.” Geoffrey says although opening during the pandemic has been a challenge, he believes the biggest risk is not taking one. Striving to make brunch an everyday experience — rather than something reserved for Sundays — the Heydes offer various holiday specials at Morning Fork, as well as occasional themed brunches.
The short rib benedict with a hash brown base and béarnaise sauce has been especially popular, but the full brunch menu boasts a plethora of other savory items, too, such as the corned beef hash with sweet potatoes, and the veggie breakfast burrito. There are also a variety of choices to satisfy every sweet tooth, from the liege waffles with various optional toppings or the brioche French toast with lemon ricotta, strawberries and blueberries.
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5600 National Turnpike, Louisville, KY 40214 • (502) 742-9027
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for ice cream and dessert only; closed Monday
Open for indoor dining, carryout, and curbside pickup.
Week-End Burgers started as a food truck in 2018. Finally, Mueamer “Moe” Hasecic decided to expand to a brick-and-mortar space, opening his new restaurant in January 2021. “We wanted to expand the menu and make it more comfortable for us to work,” he says. “The food truck was just really, really hot [in the summertime] and really, really cold during the wintertime. We were limited on how much we could do.”
The new space may provide additional opportunities, but Week-End Burgers’ signature style remains the same. “We strive to use fresh ingredients, and we make the burgers the old-school way,” Moe says, adding that he has had multiple customers tell him his burgers bring back childhood memories. “A lot of people [get] teary-eyed,” he says. “Emotional, you know — happy.”
Moe says double cheeseburgers and fresh-cut fries are the biggest sellers, but Week-End Burgers also serves Philly cheesesteaks, mozzarella sticks, cheddar peppers, tots, chocolate eclairs, ice cream and more.
In addition to giving diners a trip down memory lane, Moe also tries to help new customers in need. “We have a program that we offer to the less fortunate,” he explains. Guests can donate $5 to the program, and Week-End Burgers adds $2.50 to the donation, providing enough funds for someone to have a free meal. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be somebody who’s homeless,” he adds. “It could be a mom and a daughter … who don’t have the money to buy lunch that day. I don’t look back in a negative way on anybody who is coming in to [use the program].”
Enjoy your dining adventures, Louisville!
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