The lower Frankfort Avenue section of Clifton is historic and beautiful. Most of the homes have been around for more than a century, and the area is teeming with history and art. It’s also home to several area businesses and an active Frankfort Avenue Business Association, which has branded the street “The Avenue.” On the last Friday of the month, the district welcomes the F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hop, where guests can browse businesses with the help of a free bus circular.
Get to know this old area, which constantly reinvents itself.
Forage a while at Forage.
1731 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 709-5779
Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11a.m. to 5 p.m.
Forage Plants & Gifts for the Modern Home focuses on rare plants. “Forage kind of took off by accident, and we’re really excited about it,” says Summer Brown who works in the store. “We specialize in houseplants — rare ones, unique ones — and then really nice housewares that go with them, nice pottery, nice scents and things. And we’re the only ones in Louisville that do living wall installations.”
Owner and florist Jamie Fairman opened the shop as a complement to her event-planning business, State & Arrow Design Co.
Oddly, Forage is housed in this author’s former grandparents’ home. The place now abounds with greenery, along with fun home decor and planters for sale.
“Everything about Frankfort Avenue works for us,” says Summer. “It’s my favorite neighborhood in Louisville. It’s super, super local. I feel like half my regulars live in the neighborhood and just walk down every week. So I love getting to see them.”
And Forage likes to give back by way of “flower-bombing.”
“After weddings, a lot of florists just throw the flowers away because people don’t want them,” she says. “We bring them back to the shop and just flower-bomb Frankfort Avenue. So on Sunday afternoons, we’ll flower-bomb the people eating brunch, or people in their cars, the people on the street.”
Be a guest at Guestroom Records.
1806 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 883-0478
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While many record stores have closed, the neighborhood record store seems to be making a comeback, and Guestroom Records is keeping that tradition alive in Clifton. The store just celebrated its fifth year in business by being hyper-local and staying engaged with the neighborhood as much as possible.
“We host events, musical events, art shows and neighborhood events at the store,” said John King of Guestroom. “It’s a fantastic neighborhood. Our neighbors have become our friends. It’s been really great here. Next door is Sweet Surrender by Jessica Haskell. It’s a wonderful, delicious place to stop in, except not on Sundays and Mondays, the two days I’m always at the store, so I can’t get sweets!”
Get “boujie” with a biscuit at Boujie Biscuit.
1813 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 269-8426
Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Biscuits are generally a casual breakfast staple, but Cyndi Joyner has brought it up several notches with the Boujie Biscuit. Don’t worry: it’s still a casual place where you eat your biscuit out of a box. But the ingredients make it amazing. For example, the Farmhouse biscuit is her enormous, scratch-made biscuit topped with a spinach and tomato frittata, chunky sausage gravy, three-cheese sauce, bacon, tomato and avocado. And you can make it a “Farmhouse on Fire” by substituting their “Cluckin’ Hot Chicken” for the sausage gravy.
Joyner moved her business concept here in August from Indiana and said the area has been good to her. “When I moved to Louisville, I wanted someplace central,” says Cyndi. “I didn’t know much about it, and my friend at Red Hot Roasters saw this space open up. I saw this space, and I had a good vibe about the neighborhood.”
She said what she likes about the area is that it’s still a nice, family neighborhood and not as busy as Bardstown Road. Says Cyndi, “You see people walking and running up and down the street all the time. I love being here — this neighborhood is the coolest.”
Shuck an ostra at Ostra.
1758 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 915-0160
Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Another newcomer to the area is Ostra, which is Spanish for oyster. The restaurant is focused on sustainable cuisine inspired by the Pacific Equatorial region. Chef Adam Burress, who was recently featured on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” is the culinary artist behind Game, Hammerhead’s and Migo.
Ostra features a Pacific-inspired seafood program with oysters, poke and ceviche coupled with South American-inspired petites and handhelds. But you can feel good about it because it’s responsibly sourced from small producers and local farms.
“Ostra’s menu was designed with purpose,” says Adam. “We respect the process it takes to create the proteins we use and the produce we source locally. It is time for the restaurant industry as a whole to find sustainable ways to deliver creative, palate-pleasing meals. We’re here to give diners a completely new experience involving unique foods prepared using tried and tested methods.”
Enjoy your bourbon like a gold digger in the Wild West at The Silver Dollar.
1761 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 259-9540
Hours: Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
For seven years now, The Silver Dollar has been wowing folks in the area with its food and extensive bourbon collection — one of the largest in Louisville, which is saying a lot.
Manager Alex Clever said she grew up in the neighborhood and now manages this restaurant, which has an Old West/Gold Rush theme. “We are based on the Gold Rush in California and just the eclectic mix of people who came into that area around that time,” she says. “They had all these little honky-tonks spring up all over the place because people were socially ostracized at the time from the people who already lived there.”
Those places had a lot of whiskey and a lot of food, which developed a culture that is celebrated at The Silver Dollar. And the Clifton neighborhood is the perfect spot for the place, she added. “I definitely think it’s awesome — what we’ve seen with the revitalization of the neighborhood,” says Alex. “It’s a great neighborhood. There’s so much history in this neighborhood. I love that there are more young families coming in to help kind of keep it alive, and we’re really happy to be a part of it.”
Try some bubbly at The Champagnery.
1764 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 896-8050
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Closed Sunday and Monday
Lots of watering holes concern themselves with wine, craft beer or whiskey, but The Champagnery at Architype Gallery takes it to the next level. Champagne, sparkling wine and more are available at this upscale bar and art gallery.
The gallery is in the back, and guests can peruse the space or rent it out. There are only small amounts of food, including cheese plates and desserts, perfect for sharing with friends or celebrating with a glass of champagne. Enjoy some bubbly by the glass, in flights or by the bottle.
Enjoy some upscale diner fare at the North End Cafe.
1722 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 896-8770
Hours: Monday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Since 2003, North End Cafe has been a lower Frankfort Avenue staple. Originally meant as a breakfast and lunch place, it now serves dinner and has since opened a location on Bardstown Road and a pizza concept, North End Slice.
North End calls itself an “upscale diner,” and makes an excellent meeting spot for brunch on the patio. From Mexican and Asian to Italian and American dishes, there is something for everyone on the menu. We are particularly big fans of one of their breakfast specialties, the migas — three eggs scrambled with corn tortilla chips, jalapeños and cheddar cheese, served with home fries and pico de gallo. They also have several vegetarian and even vegan options, and they serve breakfast all day. And seriously, try those migas!
You can certainly shop, eat and play to your heart’s content all along The Avenue. So, head to Clifton soon!
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