Louisville’s food scene always offers something new and interesting, from schnitzels and steak tacos to burgoo and banana pudding gelato. Check out these five eateries that recently opened their doors in Derby City.

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated May 2022)

Common Haus Hall

134 Spring St., Jeffersonville, IN 47130 • (812) 590-1243
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday

A Bavarian-inspired beer hall and event space opened on May 1 over the bridge in Jeffersonville. Owner Joe Phillips says Common Haus Hall is inspired by both his and Chef Jonathan Exum’s history and travels. “Jonathan was an army brat,” he explains, “and I traveled a lot, and Jeffersonville had a lot of German heritage, so we’re just bringing it back … This place is approachable, and it’s really community-focused to get people back together again.”

In addition to a few traditional dishes, Chef Jonathan is also whipping up some progressive street-style fare. Customer favorites include schnitzels, pretzels, and of course, German beer. “The German beers were a hit out of the gate,” Joe says, adding that the Hacker-Pschorr brews have been especially popular — and Common Haus Hall is the only place around town that offers such a wide selection!

Beer at Common Haus Hall, a new Louisville restaurant

Do you love German beer? Run, don’t walk to Common Haus Hall in Jeffersonville. Image: Common Haus Hall

Food spread from Common Haus Hall

Diners can expect elevated takes on classic German street fare — pretzel, schnitzel, sausages, and more. Image: Common Haus Hall

Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant

4000 Dutchmans Ln., Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 919-7014
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After Louisville welcomed its first location in March 2021, Felipe Farias of Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant opened a second spot in St. Matthews this past January. The eatery replaces Señor Iguana’s in a roughly 4,000-square-foot space and offers a similar menu to its Lime Kiln restaurant.

Felipe and his team are serving up fajitas, carnitas, burritos, and various other chicken, steak, and seafood dishes. Try the Jalisco-style birria tacos made with melted cheese and covered in birria consommé and served with cilantro, onions, and lime on the side. Or, opt for the El Molcajete Maya, dubbed an “all the world combination” of carne asada steak, chicken, chorizo, fresh cheese, pearl onions, and cactus. Wash it all down with beer, bourbon, a cocktail, or one of the restaurant’s many margarita and sangria options.

Three tacos from Felipe's Mexican Restaurant, a new Louisville restaurant

The new location of Felipe’s is offering up much of the same delicious Mexican comfort food that Louisvillians already love. Image: Facebook

Lime tilapia and drinks from Felipe's Mexican Restaurant

Beyond popular beef, pork, and chicken options, Felipe’s also offers seafood options, like the lime tilapia pictured here. Image: Facebook

Shack in the Back

10706 W. Manslick Rd., Fairdale, KY 40118 • (502) 363-3227
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday

After operating out of a 900-square-foot space for more than a decade and then a food truck for nearly two years, Shack in the Back reopened in a newly renovated building earlier this month — and it can hardly be called a shack. The barbecue joint’s new digs are located just down the street from its original location, but they now have more than 4,000 square feet to work with.

The former bank building features ample indoor seating on the ground floor, a few tables in an upstairs loft area, and pet-friendly seating options on the patio. Shack in the Back now has a bar, too, currently offering beer, wine, and bourbon.

The restaurant’s drink selection may have changed, but owner Barbara Sivells assures her Shack fans that all their regular menu items — including baby back ribs, burgoo, and turkey ribs — are still being served just as they have been from the very beginning. “We slow cook our meat the old-fashioned way,” she says. “We do not cut any corners as far as quality and quantity, and we really enjoy serving the community.”

BBQ sandwich, coleslaw, and mac and cheese from Shack in the Back, a new Louisville restaurant

BBQ sandwich, coleslaw, and mac and cheese — could this be the perfect plate? Image: Shack in the Back

Three plated meals from Shack in the Back

Owner Barbara Sivells assures Shack fans that all the old menu favorites are still available at the new location, slow-cooked with the same attention to detail. Image: Shack in the Back

Spotz Gelato

109 E. Main St., La Grange, KY 40031 • (502) 682-3750
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.; closed Monday

After opening their first location in Versailles, KY, in 2019, husband-and-wife team Philip Enlow and Beth Richardson are now bringing their locally made gelato to the Louisville area with a Spotz Gelato store in La Grange, which opened earlier this month. The couple started off serving their creamy creations out of trucks, wagons, and bikes in 2013; today, they maintain eight mobile units and have six brick-and-mortar spaces.

In addition to scoops and pints, Spotz offers shakes, floats, Italian sodas, and sundaes. More than a dozen topping and sauce options are available, too. Garnish your cup with sprinkles, gummy worms, cherries, or brownie pieces, then add a drizzle of fudge, raspberry, or bourbon caramel. If you find yourself torn between vanilla, chocolate, banana pudding, and peanut butter, try the Spot Sampler, which comes with your choice of four small flavors. Hanging out with a big group? The sundae board is a large version of the sampler — it’s served to share and includes five toppings.

“We make everything [ourselves],” says Beth, a Louisville Native. “We’re a Kentucky Proud business. Everything is manufactured on our farm in Scott County, just outside Lexington.”

Jars of gelato toppings from Spotz Gelato, a new Louisville restaurant

Spotz offers a wide variety of topping options so that you can create your favorite combinations! Image: Karrie Bickett

Person holding a cup of gelato with a whipped cream from Spotz Gelato

Can you think of anything better on a hot summer afternoon? Image: Karrie Bickett

Watch Hill Proper

11201 River Beauty Loop, Prospect, KY 40059 • (502) 230-1982
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; closed Monday

Whiskey lovers will want to take a trip — and consider acquiring a membership — to Watch Hill Proper, which opened in Norton Commons in April. The venue is owned by Tommy Craggs and Josh Howes and boasts more than 1,500 American whiskeys.

The club is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, offering a menu suitable for more than just bourbon and whiskey enthusiasts. Choose your own cheese and meat for a build-your-own charcuterie board, or order a dish from the regular food menu. Try the 48-ounce porterhouse, served with green peppercorn, brandy cream, shallot crumb, and fine herbs, or try the scallop crudo with banana whiskey miso, sea salt roasted pepitas, sesame, lime, and mint.

Only members can make reservations, and they are allotted seven guests to join in on the fun. Members also receive a discount on bourbon, whiskey, and cocktails — they are also invited to 50 events per year and have access to tastings, single-barrel offerings, and more.

Chef preparing meal at Watch Hill Proper, a new Louisville restaurant

Watch Hill Proper offers an impressive selection of over 1,500 American whiskeys and a selection of upscale dinner fare. Image: Facebook

Charcuterie board and wine from Watch Hill Proper

For cheeseboard enthusiasts, Watch Hill Proper is a must-visit. Image: Facebook

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Published April 2022
Written by Lennie Omalza

There’s so much more to Louisville food and drink than hot browns and bourbon. Derby City has you covered whether you’re searching for a Thai-inspired lunch, a decadent Italian dessert, or a family-friendly brewery to spend an afternoon. Here are five new spots to check out this spring.

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated April 2022)

All Thai’d Up

211 S 5th St, Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 653-7437
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Kathy Aphaivongs moved to Louisville in 2017 and began teaching clients how to cook Thai food in their homes. Soon after, she started her food truck, All Thai’d Up. After five years — in February 2022 — Kathy opened a downtown brick-and-mortar location on South Fifth Street. The 2,600-square-foot space is a massive step up from her truck, which only allowed for a handful of menu items. Katherine has since expanded her authentic, spicy Thai food offerings with a full kitchen and nearly two dozen tables.

She is now serving a variety of small bites, noodles, rice bowls, and grilled dishes served with sticky rice and papaya salad. All ingredients are fresh, and each dish is prepared with recipes from her childhood, using products that have been sourced locally or imported from Thailand. The yellow food truck is also still in operation; it’s available for catering and parties and appearances at various community events listed on the website.

Pad See Ew from All Thai'd Up, a new Louisville restaurant

Authentic Thai dishes at All Thai’d Up, such as this Pad See Ew, stem from recipes from Kathy’s childhood. Image: Facebook

Glass of Thai boba tea from All Thai'd Up

Thai Boba Tea | Image: Facebook

The Fox Den

3814 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 742-0068
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Jared Fox Matthews, owner of Equus & Jack’s Lounge/Black Rabbit and Lou Lou Food + Drink, was a longtime bartender/manager at Diamond Pub & Billiards. He has since taken over the Diamond space and converted it into The Fox Den, which celebrates its grand opening on April 22, 2022.

“We’re trying to put some new life in that building and … be really good neighbors in the St. Matthews community,” he says. He also adds that the most noticeable changes visitors will notice are renovations to the interior and exterior. The Fox Den boasts a new parking lot, new flooring, a fresh coat of paint, refurbished pool tables, new outdoor furniture, remodeled bathrooms, and more.

The menu is revamped as well; it’s now full of options Jared refers to as elevated, gastropub-style food. Offerings include a Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, ham, and mustard aioli; Korean meatballs covered in a made-in-house Korean barbecue sauce; seasonal salads; and Beyond Burgers. Former Diamond customers who were fans of the quesadilla need not worry — the popular pick will remain on The Fox Den’s new menu.

The Cuban Sandy from The Fox Den, a new Louisville restaurant

The Cuban Sandy: slow-roasted pork, grilled ham, toasted buttered hoagie, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles | Image: The Fox Den

Mexican street corn shrimp taco from The Fox Den

Mexican street corn shrimp taco with lemon coleslaw, pickled onions, and topped with sriracha aioli | Image: The Fox Den

Mercato

10640 Meeting St, Prospect, KY 40059 • (502) 690-3200
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday

Mercato Italiano, formerly a full-service Italian restaurant in Norton Commons, closed its doors in December 2021. Owner Peter Pagano took six weeks to rework the restaurant concept and reopened it in February 2022 as Mercato, a European-style market offering fresh ingredients for lunch and dinner.

Peter still offers made-in-house pasta and sauces, but he now serves them in a way that allows his customers to be the chefs of their own Italian meals. All of Mercato’s fresh pasta  — from fusilli and orecchiette to rigatoni and spaghetti — comes with instruction cards. Lasagna and meatballs are available daily, with other special dishes offered throughout the week. There’s chicken parmesan on Tuesdays, eggplant parmesan on Wednesdays, chicken cacciatore on Thursdays, a fish special every Friday, and pizza dough on Saturdays.

Dine-in is an option as well; various protein choices, different lettuces, and made-in-house dressings are always available at the salad bar. There’s also a dessert cooler full of tiramisu, black and white cookies, cannolis crafted with made-in-house cream, and other sweet treats for both dine-in and carryout. “It’s a quick, easy lunch and dinner spot to pick up [a few dishes] to take home,” Peter says.

Pan-fried salmon cake with house-made remoulade from Mercato, a new Louisville restaurant

Pan-fried salmon cake with house-made remoulade | Image: Mercato

Squash alla vodka sauce with radiatore pasta topped with pecorino, fried sage, and caramelized walnuts from Mercato

Squash alla vodka sauce with radiatore pasta topped with pecorino, fried sage, and caramelized walnuts | Image: Mercato

Noble Funk Brewing Company

922 S. Second St., Louisville, KY 40203 • (502) 755-2739
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 8 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday

The vision of husband-and-wife team Dominque and Jonathan Shrader came to fruition when they opened Noble Funk Brewing Company in January 2022. The huge building in Old Louisville, formerly occupied by Kroger, is now the Noble Funk taproom, catering kitchen, and pizza concept. With a variety of seating options — including indoor chairs and sofas as well as outdoor picnic tables — the space comfortably accommodates more than 200 guests of all ages. Dominque stresses that it’s a kid-friendly space; all are welcome to partake in bocce ball, ping-pong tables, and board games. Furry family members are even welcome outside.

Customers have access to made-in-house brews, a full bar, and a selection of appetizers, salads, and pizzas. Each pie includes a house four-cheese blend of mozzarella, provolone, asiago, and Romano. A commonly ordered item is the Date Night pizza, which comes with dates, spinach, bacon, red onions, and a spicy aioli drizzle. “We’re all about quality ingredients, affordable prices, and delicious pizza and beer,” Dominique says. “And a great environment. … It’s a fun atmosphere to relax.”

"Citra" Double IPA from Noble Funk Brewing Company, a new Louisville restaurant

“Citra” Double IPA | Image: Noble Funk Brewing Company

Channing-Tato-um pizza from Noble Funk Brewing Company

Channing-Tato-um: garlic oil base, four-cheese blend, roasted red potatoes, bacon, shredded cheddar, butter, sour cream drizzle, and green onion garnish | Image: Noble Funk Brewing Company

VinBun Vietnamese Bistro

12422 Shelbyville Rd, Middletown, KY 40243 • (502) 708-1470
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Monday

Husband-and-wife restaurateurs Vinh Nguyen and Dieu Dinh — both born in Vietnam — began bringing authentic Vietnamese cuisine to Middletown at VinBun Vietnamese Bistro in March 2022. The 1,100-square-foot-space in the Evergreen Station strip mall (formerly occupied by Subway) now boasts artwork by Indiana-based artist Carrie Johns, including a large mural of a Vietnam street scene and a smaller mural depicting Nguyen cooking with his daughters.

To keep the guest experience as authentic as possible, all the cooking is done solely by Nguyen and his mother. The couple also insisted on dine-in and carryout only, as delivery could alter the food quality. The VinBun menu features noodle soups, vermicelli bowls, rice bowls, appetizers, salads, Bahn mi sandwiches, and beverages, including everything from Vietnamese ice coffee and unsweetened green tea to avocado and taro smoothies.

Com Suon Cha Trung and sunny side egg from VinBun Vietnamese Bistro, a new Louisville restaurant

Com Suon Cha Trung and sunny side egg | Image: Instagram

Slow simmer with spice served over rice noodles and pho vegetables from VinBun Vietnamese Bistro

Slow simmer with spice served over rice noodles and pho vegetables | Image: Instagram

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Published March 2022
Written by Lennie Omalza

It has been said that if you dined at two Louisville restaurants every day for a month, you’d still cover only a fraction of the city’s culinary scene. That’s easy to believe, as new eateries are popping up in Derby City all the time. Here are five new ones to consider for your next culinary adventure!

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated March 2022)

Goodfellas Pizzeria

642 Baxter Ave Suite 102, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 398-5704
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Lexington-based pizza joint Goodfellas Pizzeria opened its first Louisville location with limited hours in December 2021. Now operating seven days a week, the mafioso, rat pack-vibe eatery is serving up New York-style pizza made with fresh, hand-tossed, baked-off-the-stone dough.

Alex Coats, a Lexington native who co-owns Goodfellas with business partner Eric Boggs, says that they pride themselves on the slice concept — unlike most other pizza parlors, customers can always count on the option to walk away with a single slice of their favorite pie. The daily lunch special, which is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes one slice, one side item, and a soda for $8. Sides include everything from a salad or dessert to meatballs or a 22-inch breadstick, and soft drinks can be substituted for beer for only $1 more. Goodfellas also offers a full bar with specialty cocktails, which can also be ordered from 5 p.m. to closing in the Wiseguy Lounge, a speakeasy-style area of the restaurant with a Roaring Twenties feel.

Pepperoni pizza and breadsticks in front of door a Goodfellas Pizzeria in Louisville, KY

You can always count on the option of ordering pizza by the slice at Goodfellas. Image: Facebook

Al Pacino Meatball Sub from Goodfellas Pizzeria, a new Louisville restaurant

Diners can also choose from classic sandwiches like the Al Pacino Meatball Sub, pictured here. Image: Facebook

RELATED: Best Brunch in Louisville: 12 Must-Try Spots

Guaca Mole Modern Mexican

900 E. Market St., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 212-8225
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday

Chefs and co-owners Fernando and Yani Martinez closed their former restaurant — Guaca Mole Cocina Mexicana — in East Louisville to open a bigger and bolder space on East Market in NuLu. The new eatery, Guaca Mole Modern Mexican, boasts three floors and roughly 10,000 square feet. Massive colorful murals on the exterior are complemented by bright decor inside, including photos and illustrations by Frida Kahlo, neon signs, a wall of pink flowers, and more. Guests also have a plethora of seating arrangements to choose from, including bright yellow benches and egg chairs suspended from the ceiling.

A few of Guaca Mole’s unique menu items include Tah-Ketos, keto-friendly mini tacos with a melted cheese shell; the La Catrina salad, made with organic mixed greens, poblano honey dressing, heirloom carrots, beets, avocado, fried Oaxaca cheese, and sesame seeds; and Cochinita a La Leña, a roasted pork dish cooked with mole rojo, plantain purée, tomato avocado salad, carrots, radish, cilantro, and lemon vinaigrette.

Customers with a sweet tooth will enjoy the Chocolate Tres Leches, a key lime sandcastle dubbed the Mayan Riviera, or the Pan de Elote, a Mexican sweet corn cake. The restaurant also features dozens of tequila selections, frequent live music, and DJ sets on the tequila rooftop bar as well as in the indoor-outdoor Tulum Room.

Second-floor dining room at Guacamole Modern Mexican in Louisville, KY

Bright colors and creative lighting set the scene at Guaca Mole Modern Mexican. Image: Olé Hospitality Group

Tah-KETOs from Guacamole Modern Mexican, a new Louisville restaurant

The Tah-Ketos are a clever, keto-friendly twist on street tacos, as the name suggests. The grain-free shells are made of cheese! Image: Olé Hospitality Group

Jackdaw Coffee & Bourbon Bar

120 South Floyd St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 977-4590
Hours: Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

With the opening of Cambria Hotel Louisville also came Jackdaw Coffee and Bourbon Bar, an Irish eatery serving breakfast, small bites, and (as its name would suggest) bourbon. “It’s Irish-based cuisine with a touch of Americanized, modern food,” says food and beverage manager Gustavo Lopez. “[We don’t serve] full entrées … it’s more like finger food.”

The Jackdaw menu features items such as Irish Toast and Jam, made with soda bread; the Jackdaw Brekkie Burrito, stuffed with corned beef, potatoes, cheese, and scrambled eggs; and the Top O’ the Mornin’ Breakwich, which features Irish bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg on brown toast. Though breakfast burritos and sandwiches have been some of the most-ordered items, Gustavo wants to be sure customers know that Jackdaw is more than a coffee bar. “We’re also a bourbon bar,” he says. “It’s a unique spot, with a boutique style … you can have a cocktail and a coffee.”

Guests can even mix the two with a coffee-based cocktail — like the Louisville Handshake, made with bourbon, espresso, Angostura syrup, and half-and-half on the rocks, finished with a twist of orange. Alternatively, you can opt for a more traditional Irish coffee, ending your visit with a pick from the dozens of bourbons and Irish whiskey options.

Bourbon cream latte from Jackdaw Coffee & Bourbon Bar

Order from a variety of boozy coffee options, like this bourbon cream latte! Image: O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC

RELATED: 3 Fun Itineraries for a Louisville Staycation

Everyday Kitchen Café

204 S. Hancock St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 805-7346
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The in-house bistro at Lodgic Everyday Community — formerly known as Clever Moose Café — relaunched on March 16 as Everyday Kitchen Café. The revamped restaurant offers modern comfort food for breakfast and lunch, as well as a full coffee bar with additional alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage selections. The breakfast menu features items such as a goetta hash with berbere potatoes and pickled peppers; coconut overnight oats; fresh, made-in-house pastries, and more. For lunch, guests can choose from a selection of salad, soup, and burger options.

“[We’re creating] an approachable daytime experience to our modern comfort food,” says Mike Wajda, the senior executive chef at both Everyday Kitchen Café and its sister restaurant, Everyday Kitchen. “Menu items like classic breakfast sandwiches and shakshuka toad-in-the-hole with zaatar exist on the breakfast menu. Lunch carries our crowd favorite, the Everyday Kitchen burger, and sandwiches like fried mortadella with Kenny’s white cheddar, house giardiniera, and dijonnaise. Plus, there are multiple fresh salads with local greens from Groganica. All of these dishes feature local farms and the best of the Ohio River Valley for an approachable experience with a sense of discovery.”

Everyday Kitchen Café also offers Farmhouse Meal Kits to-go. Each kit feeds four and includes a freshly roasted rotisserie heritage chicken, three sides, Grainwright bread with cultured butter, and salted chocolate chip cookies.

Burger and potato wedges from Everyday Kitchen in Louisville, KY

The Everyday Burger is a crowd favorite. Image: Everyday Kitchen Café

Cluster of pastries from Everyday Kitchen

A variety of house-made pastries are available daily! Image: Everyday Kitchen Café

Magnum Moon Hayloft Bar & Grill

120 South Floyd St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 509-0042

Another new spot in the Cambria Hotel Louisville is Magnum Moon Hayloft Bar & Grill, an American-style eatery with a nod to the Derby. “The name actually comes from one of the owner’s partners,” says food and beverage manager Gustavo Lopez. “He raised a horse [that was] in the Derby, and Magnum Moon was the name of the horse.”

The restaurant currently serves breakfast and dinner, with most of the dinner menu consisting of sandwiches, steak, and fish options. Gustavo says that the White Egg Omelet is popular with the morning crowd, whereas customers coming in for dinner prefer the Louisville Slugger Burger: a beef burger topped with pulled pork and fried onions. Magnum Moon also boasts a hand-picked selection of local craft beers on tap, as well as specially crafted cocktails made with well-known local bourbons.

“Even though it’s the hotel’s restaurant,” Gustavo says, “everyone is welcome. We have a full bourbon bar, and we have specials and happy hours all the time. We just want to spread the word and let everyone know that we’re here.”

Horseshoe bar at Magnum Moon Hayloft Bar & Grill

A horseshoe-shaped bar lends itself to the Derby theme at Magnum Moon. Image: O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC

Louisville Slugger Burger with fries and beer

The Louisville Slugger Burger, topped with pulled pork and fried onions, is a favorite among the dinner crowd. Image: O’Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC

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Published February 2022
Written by Lennie Omalza

Offering brand new breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert destinations, Louisville has you covered with fresh options for every meal of the day. These five new eateries are lending even more local flavor to our vibrant, nationally-recognized culinary scene. Check them out!

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated February 2022)

Big Bad Breakfast

984 Barret Ave., Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 289-8227
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

James Beard award-winning chef and New Orleans native John Currence has expanded his love for the most important meal of the day with the opening of Big Bad Breakfast in Louisville. With 10 other locations spread throughout the South, this is a first for the Bluegrass State. In partnership with founder & CEO of Endeavor Restaurant Group Steve Ritchie, John opened the new location on February 8, prepared to serve up fresh biscuits, custom-created meats, and locally roasted coffee drinks by Sunergos.

Though many of the eatery’s staples — like biscuits and gravy or steak ‘n eggs — are consistent from one location to the next, the Barret Avenue store is bringing Derby City character into a few Louisville-specific menu items. The Big Bad Hot Brown, for example, is the BBB version of a Kentucky classic; it’s made with a crumbled buttermilk biscuit, roasted turkey breast, Chef John’s signature roasted tomatoes, cheesy Dijon mornay, and Parmesan cheese — all baked to a bubbly golden brown, then topped with a fried egg and Tabasco-cured bacon.

Breakfast spread from Big Bad Breakfast, a new Louisville restaurant

Choose from one of three big, bag breakfast scrambles on the menu! Image: Big Bad Breakfast

Woman pouring syrup over chicken & waffles

Savory, sweet, and packed with flavor, chicken and waffles is always a good choice. Image: Big Bad Breakfast

The restaurant’s interior also offers a nod to the city, with a mural featuring several of Louisville’s famous faces, from Muhammad Ali to Jennifer Lawrence. “What we really try to do is make each one of our stores completely different,” John says. “No two stores are exactly the same. We strive to try to make them feel like they’re part of the community they’re in; it’s an organic space.”

Salad from Big Bad Breakfast, a new Louisville restaurant

Salad for breakfast? Don’t mind if we do! Image: Big Bad Breakfast

RELATED: The Best Mardi Gras King Cakes … Shipped!

Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

1121 E Washington St., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 561-0267
Hours: Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday

A new rooftop eatery has opened on the third floor of the Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery in Butchertown. Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant was created to demonstrate how American Brandy inspires modern cocktail culture and its deep connection to food.

With a kitchen led by Josh Lehman — who brings with him two decades of culinary experience, including time spent in well-known Louisville restaurants such as Holy Grale and Harvest — the restaurant’s menu is inspired by Kentucky’s seasonal fare. Offerings include everything from country-fried mushrooms and salmon tartine to sesame scallion pancakes and an umami burger.

Cured salmon with cocktail

The salmon tartine is just one of the various flavorful menu options. Image: Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

Umami Burger from Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant, a new Louisville restaurant

The umami burger features 3D Valley Farm beef, smashed with onions and melted cheddar. This tasty concoction is served up hot on a brioche bun. Image: Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

Tomato salad from Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

The tomato salad is as colorful as it is flavorful. Image: Copper & Kings Rooftop Bar and Restaurant

Of course, a restaurant above a distillery wouldn’t be complete without a variety of draft and alcohol-free cocktails, a selection of straight pours and wines, as well as rotating seasonal beers. Its bar program also features barrel-aged grape and apple brandies, small-batch barrel selects, and distillery exclusive releases including absinthe and brandies aged in bourbon, new oak barrels, and more.

Happy Belly Bistro

1020 E. Washington St., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 290-6820
Hours: Monday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Owner and chef Ashlee Northington started Happy Belly Bistro as a food truck and is now serving her rotating menu of fusion foods as a permanent kiosk inside Ten20 Craft Brewery. “We have serving counters, and we do in-person orders and run food to the tables,” explains General Manager and Event Coordinator Tatiana Cartwright. She adds that they offer a rotating menu, so customers always have something new to try. On any given week, offerings might include fried chicken, mac and cheese, birria tacos, sweet corn cakes, or veggie pasta.

menu items from Happy Belly Bistro

Happy Belly has evolved from a food truck to a bistro, and the menu is divine! Image: Happy Belly Bistro

Cook putting toppings on tacos from Happy Belly Bistro, a new Louisville restaurant

If tacos are available during your visit, don’t miss them! Image: Happy Belly Bistro

“We keep the favorites and then we’ll switch out [seasonal items],” she says. “Like in the wintertime, we have soup. We do a rotating menu just to keep up with the seasons and the demands of what’s going on. Soccer season’s about to start [and] people come in big groups, so we have a nacho platter and a taco-tray platter as well.”

A current customer fave is the All-American Burger, made with grass-fed beef from Foxhollow Farm, greens, onion, tomato, American cheese, and mayo, served with Cajun fries. “We try to make everything vegan-modifiable, gluten-free modifiable, and vegetarian modifiable as well,” Tatiana adds. “That way, everybody can come in and get a happy belly.”

All-American Burger and French fries from Happy Belly Bistro

Make your belly happy with Happy Belly’s All-American Burger. Image: Happy Belly Bistro

RELATED: 13 Beautiful + Instagrammable Bars in the South

Hip Hop Sweet Shop

1805 W. Jefferson St., Suite 3, Louisville, KY 40203 • (502) 409-6156
Hours: Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday

After launching as a food truck in 2018, owner Lafesa Johnson eventually opened a brick-and-mortar location for her business, Hip Hop Sweet Shop. Renovations of the Russell neighborhood shop this past summer led to a space that has more than doubled in size; the remodeled 1,600-square-foot location now features graffiti artwork and colorful seating arrangements.

An ever-changing menu means there’s always a new treat to try, whether it’s a shake, slushie, cookie, cupcake, brownie, pie, or parfait. Lafesa also offers seasonal and holiday treats, as well as custom cupcakes — both regular- and jumbo-sized. Most menu items feature fun names with hip-hop references, such as Diddy’s Cheesecake Shakes and Foxxy Brownies.

Hennessy Pies from Hip Hop Sweet Shop

The Hennessy Pies are a gooey masterpiece! Image: Facebook

Strawberry cheesecake milkshake from Hip Hop Sweet Shop, a new Louisville restaurant

The strawberry cheesecake milkshake is one surefire way to soothe your sweet tooth! Image: Facebook

La Pana Bakery y Café

1001 Logan St., Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 936-0307
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Monday

Diego Hernandez, Paco Garcia, and Josh Gonzalez — the owners of Mexican restaurant Foko — opened La Pana Bakery y Café in Logan Street Market in December. The only store in the market with an outdoor walk-up window provides easy access to a variety of pastries that feature elements of traditional Oaxacan baking.

In addition to seasonal items, the bakery’s standard menu includes apple strudel, blueberry scones and chocolate croissants. Their regular menu also features Mexican pastries like lechilla donuts — cinnamon-and-sugar-coated donuts filled with Oaxacan vanilla custard and rol de canela con leche — flaky puff pastry cinnamon roll filled with Oaxacan vanilla custard and pecans. You’ll also find savory items like egg or pork burritos. Finish your café orders with coffee and espresso drinks from Safai Coffee.

Chocolate croissants from La Pana Bakery y Cafe, a new Louisville restaurant

Chocolate croissants come topped with a dusting of powdered sugar. Image: Facebook

Rol de Canela from La Pana Bakery y Cafe, a new Louisville restaurant

Rol de Canela, or cinnamon rolls, are a menu winner. Image: Facebook

Chocolate Abuelita con bombones from La Pana Cafe y Bakery

Chocolate Abuelita con bombones will warm you up and satisfy even the most intense hocolate cravings. Image: Facebook

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Published January 2022
Written by Lennie Omalza

There’s never a shortage of new restaurants to try in Louisville. In addition to being the home of boxer Muhammad Ali, the Kentucky Derby, Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and more, Louisville is home to a robust dining scene! Try one of these recently opened eateries the next time you’re looking to mix up your rotation.

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated January 2022)

The Grainwright

1001 Logan St., Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 450-4284
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Baking sourdough bread became a widespread activity over the last couple of years, but former chef James Bridges was ahead of the game. “I’ve baked bread — mostly as a hobby — for eight or 10 years,” he says. “When everyone was heavy into sourdough during the pandemic, I was doing the same.” His daily baking was producing way too much bread for his family of four to consume, so James started giving loaves away to family and friends. They suggested he sell his wares — and from there, The Grainwright was born.

James began operating out of Highland Coffee Company’s commercial kitchen in September 2020. By October 2021, he and his wife Claire opened a permanent spot in Logan Street Market, offering European-style bread, pastries, and bread-based dishes. “I’m originally from the United Kingdom [and] my wife is British,” James says, “so there’s very much French, Italian, German, and English influences in all of the bread and pastries that we do.”

Croissants from The Grainwright, a new Louisville restaurant

At The Gainwright, you’ll find a variety of breads and pastries, most of which are influenced by various European cuisines. Image: The Grainwright

Most of the breads on offer are long-fermented sourdough, he says, explaining that they’re crusty, rustic loaves. His favorite loaf is the Malthouse, which is made with spent grain from a local brewery. “What we’re doing here is a throwback,” James says. “Most bread that you buy today is mass-produced. All sorts of things that don’t really belong in bread. Bread, at its core, is three ingredients: flour, water, and salt — and that’s what all of our bread is based on.”

Loaf of bread from The Grainwright

Crusty, rustic sourdough bread loaves are a specialty at The Grainwright. Image: The Grainwright

RELATED: The Culinary Trail You Haven’t Heard About

I Love Tacos

3550 Springhurst Commons Dr., Louisville, KY 40241 • (502) 749-6847
Hours: Monday 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.

The first I Love Tacos opened in April 2020. Since then, two more locations have popped up, with the most recent restaurant welcoming customers since November 2021. The newest space is also the largest; with 4,500 square feet and a patio, the newest location in Springhurst has a full bar and can seat about 150 people.

Local and family-owned, the eatery fuses flavors from Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, with a menu full of appetizer, torta, taco, quesadilla, burrito, salad, and dessert options. Favorites include the birria tacos, made with brisket, onions, cilantro, melted cheese, and birria broth; the battered fish tacos, with grilled or fried Corona beer-battered fish, pico de gallo, pickled cabbage, and chipotle mayo aioli; and the tofu tacos, which are made with fried tofu, corn, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, ginger, Asian mayo aioli sauce, and crème — a great choice for vegetarians.

Tacos from I Love Tacos, a new Louisville restaurant

I Love Tacos has options for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Image: Facebook

Sangria and margaritas from I Love Tacos

The newest location of I Love Tacos has sangria and margaritas on offer at their full bar! Image: Facebook

Melt 502

6318 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40291 • (502) 594-8570
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday

When Reinaldo Murphy and Jamel Smith were just teenagers, they dreamed of owning a restaurant. Fast forward to June 2020, and the lifelong friends began selling sandwiches out of their home. Before long, they were operating a food truck, and in January 2022, they opened the first brick-and-mortar location of Melt 502 in Fern Creek.

“All of our sandwiches and all of our items are based on hip-hop culture references or pop culture references,” Reinaldo says. A couple of their signature sandwiches: the Hot Boy, a buffalo grilled chicken sandwich with cream cheese, ranch, and mozzarella on sweet Hawaiian bread, and the Bossalinie, which is made with ground beef, ground turkey, Italian sausage, pepperoni, cream cheese, tomato sauce, noodles, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese on garlic Italian toast.

Hot Boy sandwich from Melt 502, a new Louisville restaurant

The ‘Hot Boy’ is a Buffalo grilled chicken sandwich with cream cheese, ranch, and mozzarella on sweet Hawaiian bread. Image: Melt 502

The hip-hop theme carries throughout — a 12-foot graffiti sign boasting the restaurant name adorns the stage, while the bar is wrapped with 300 hip-hop album covers. “You’re not going to find anything like this in Louisville [in regards] to our creativity within our menu and our organic, unique flavors,” Reinaldo says. “You may not even find anything like this within the state of Kentucky, as far as our concept. When you come here, we want you to have an experience.”

Melt Fries from Melt 502

Get a load of the ‘Melt Fries’ from Melt 502. Our advice? Come hungry. Image: Melt 502

RELATED: Your Updated Guide to Butchertown

North of Bourbon

935 Goss Ave., Louisville, KY 40217 • (502) 749-3305
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; closed Sunday and Monday

A new bourbon bar and restaurant, dubbed North of Bourbon, rang in 2022 with its grand opening on New Year’s Eve. A group of four friends are running the eatery, which received its name from its location north of both Louisiana’s Bourbon Street as well as the bourbon capital of the world, Bardstown, Kentucky. Its flooring and tables are crafted from repurposed wood from an old rickhouse, and the booths are designed to look like giant bourbon barrels.

Executive Chef Lawrence Weeks, whose family is from New Orleans, is serving up dishes like seafood file gumbo, peppered catfish nuggets, crawfish boudin balls, pickled shrimp, and more. In addition to a beer and wine list, there’s a specialty cocktail menu featuring more than two dozen concoctions, including hand-shaved ice. And, of course, the bourbon choices are plentiful. From Kentucky’s Maker’s Mark to Heaven’s Door out of Tennessee, there are more than 150 options to choose from.

Food and drink spread from North of Bourbon, a new Louisville restaurant

Chef Lawrence Weeks is serving up New Orleans-inspired cuisine at North of Bourbon, from gumbo to catfish nuggets. Image: Facebook

Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café

605 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 749-1683
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday

Wiltshire restaurants have been around for more than 30 years, with its newest location — a bakery and café in downtown Louisville — opening its doors on January 3, offering breakfast, lunch, pastries, desserts, grab n’ go options, and an extensive list of espresso drinks and teas. The new spot is much more spacious than the Highlands café, which is currently open for takeout only. “It also has a little lounge area with sofas and [other] soft seating, where folks can relax and put their feet up,” says owner Susan Hershberg.

She adds that like her other restaurants, the downtown location is chef-driven. “Each of our locations has an independent chef that’s able to create their own menu,” she explains. “We focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, so all of our salads and sandwiches based around what we’re able to get from local producers.”

Of course, Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café’s breakfast and lunch options include a plethora of pastries and desserts. “We have a bakery production kitchen that does classic traditional French pastries like croissants,” Susan says. “They do production in a separate facility and deliver to all of our different locations, so we have fresh breakfast, pastries, and also specialty desserts.”

French Toast Special from Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café

Behold, the French Toast Special! It comes with lemon curd, blackberry-lemongrass syrup, and hibiscus sugar. Image: Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café

Grilled sweet potato salad from Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café, a new Louisville restaurant

This grilled sweet potato salad with coriander crème fraîche and pomegranate vinaigrette is packed with texture and flavor. Image: Wiltshire Pantry Bakery & Café

The latest location also comes with an elevated coffee program. “We’ve always served lattes and delicious coffees,” Susan explains. “But we now have a barista who is specifically in charge of developing seasonal specialty drinks and making all of our in-house syrups. So, we’ve really elevated our coffee game down on Main Street.”

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Published December 2021
Written by Lennie Omalza

It makes sense that the biggest city in Kentucky would also be a foodie destination. More than just the home of Derby and Muhammad Ali, Louisville offers a seemingly endless supply of restaurants. Next time you’re looking for something new, try one of these recently opened eateries in and around town.

5 New Louisville Restaurants to Try (Updated December 2021)

Bocce Bowl

125 W. Chestnut St., Jeffersonville, IN 47150 • (812) 725-7778
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday

The owners and operators of Union Restaurant & GameYard opened a new concept, dubbed Bocce Bowl, just next door. “We brought in the bocce ball courts, which we always wanted to have at Union, but ran out of space,” explains operating partner Levi Donaldson. “[The name ‘Bocce Bowl’] is a combination of the two concepts: bocce ball courts and the bowls [of] food.”

The eatery opened in November, offering a handful of sides and five different bowls, each inspired by a particular area of the world. “They’re regional, worldly, and specific,” Levi says. “There’s Hawaiian, Korean, Mediterranean, all-American, and Mexican.” Each bowl can be made with a base of greens, quinoa, or rice. Toppings vary with the five selections, with the Hawaiian bowl being a popular pick. Made with marinated raw tuna, edamame, cabbage, carrots, avocado, cucumbers, crispy won ton strips, and spicy aioli, Levi says it’s reminiscent of a poke bowl. “We are very much a health-centric place,” he adds. “We’ve got eco-friendly materials, and we don’t serve sodas — and our food is amazing, regardless of it being healthy.”

Korean bowl from Bocce Bowl

Enjoy a game of bocce ball and a Korean bowl at Bocce Bowl. Image: Bocce Bowl

RELATED: 8 Louisville Bars With Games

Jeff’s Donuts

6401 New Dutchmans Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40205 • (502) 365-3299
Hours: Sunday through Saturday, 24 hours a day

After serving Jeffersonville, Indiana, for more than two decades, Jeff Brown opened his first Louisville location of Jeff’s Donuts in November. Jeff started his bakery career while in high school in the 1970s, and today, both his stores offer more than 40 varieties of donuts, all made from scratch. Customers south of the Ohio River can now get their donut fix 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Aside from the 25-cent donut holes and the $8 extra-large Texas donuts that must be ordered 12 hours in advance, every other donut is $2 each. A variety of options — both glazed and unglazed — are available with various fillings, toppings, and icings. There are also several types of Long Johns, as well as a handful of menu items listed as “not donuts,” which include fried hand pies, donut cake sticks, twists, and honey buns.

Donuts from Jeff's Donuts, a new Louisville restaurant

Get your donut fix 24 hours a day at Jeff’s Donuts. Image: Instagram

Donuts from Jeff's Donuts

And they offer more than just donuts at Jeff’s! Image: Instagram

The Kitchen Table

522 Happy Hollow Rd., Clermont, KY 40110 • (502) 347-2920
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday

Bourbon Trail enthusiasts now have a place to stop for lunch on the campus of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. The Kitchen Table, which opened in November, offers a menu that is sourced locally and will change based on seasons and availability. “A lot of what you’re going to taste here is a collaboration between Freddie and Fred [Noe, distillers and descendants of Jim Beam], and family favorites, and awesome stories,” says Chef Brian Landry.

The restaurant’s current menu boasts everything from pulled pork empanadas and venison poppers to fried catfish and a hot brown pizza. “A lot of the cooking process, whether it be in the smoker or the fired pizza oven, are the flavors that complement the bourbons that are made here,” Brian says, adding that The Kitchen Table Burger has been a customer favorite. The smash-style burger is made with locally sourced ground beef and cheddar cheese, as well as smoked onion aioli and house-made pickles on a brioche bun. Of course, there is also a full bar with all the company’s bourbon brands represented, and a cocktail program crafted to complement the restaurant’s various dishes.

Fried catfish from The Kitchen Table, a new Louisville restaurant

Fried catfish has never looked more elegant. Find this dish and many more at The Kitchen Table. Image: QED Hospitality

Venison poppers from The Kitchen Table

Venison poppers offer a flavorful bite to eat. Image: QED Hospitality

Penny & Pearl’s Bakeshop

106 Fairfax Ave., Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 890-6004
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Monday

This past October, Amanda Quiles and Natalie Zant opened Penny & Pearl’s Bakeshop — a cookie lover’s dream — in St. Matthews. “Everything we make is cookie-based,” Amanda explains. “We do cookies, sandwich cookies, bars, and customized cookie cakes.” The menu rotates every week, with current flavors posted online and available for pickup or delivery. Customers might be able to choose brown butter snickerdoodles, frosted gingerbread cookies, s’mores bars, or red velvet sammies. Chocolate chip and crème brûlée, however, are bestsellers and menu staples.

Amanda attended culinary school in 2007 and has baked in various restaurants, from Chicago to Louisville. “All of our recipes are unique, and we come up with everything using the best-quality ingredients,” she says. “[We serve] quality, delicious cookies made fresh every day. You won’t come in and find a day-old cookie here.”

Vanilla bean sandwich cookies from Penny & Pearl's Bakeshop, a new Louisville restaurant

Vanilla bean sandwich cookies are just one of the many delectable options on the menu at Penny & Pearl’s Bakeshop. Image: Penny & Pearl’s Bakeshop

RELATED: Meet Kentucky’s Pie Queen (& Her Sticky-Sweet Confections)

Simply Mediterranean

2900 Brownsboro Rd., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 963-5577
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday

Husband-and-wife team Ziad El Feghali and Farrah Akkoub began their joint culinary journey in 2019 at local farmers’ markets. This past October, they opened a brick-and-mortar space in Crescent Hill called Simply Mediterranean. “We knew from the beginning when we started as a catering company that we wanted our own place,” Ziad says. “There’s an identity there — there’s a culture that we want to share.”

The couple’s new restaurant focuses on Lebanese cuisine, offering traditional wraps, soups, salads, and more, with the chicken and lamb kababs being bestsellers. “I think the dishes that differentiate our cuisine from other Mediterranean cuisine all over Louisville,” Ziad says, “is the kibbeh — the football-shaped dish with meat inside — and the falafel.” They also offer a variety of house-made desserts, including sfoof cake, baklava, traditional Lebanese rice pudding, and cheesecake. “The cheesecake is Mediterranean due to [the fact that] I make it with mascarpone,” Farrah explains. “It makes it creamy and delicious. And for the flavoring, we use rose water.” Ziad adds, “We are so happy to be in Louisville and have the chance to share culture and love in the sincerest way — with food!”

Cheese pies from Simply Mediterranean, a new Louisville restaurant

The dishes on the Simply Mediterranean menu — including the cheese pies shown here — are as tasty as they are beautiful. Image: Simply Mediterranean

Enjoy your dining adventures, Louisville!

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