Every so often, I settle in at the counter at Lonnie’s Best Taste of Chicago, usually for a Rush Street chili cheese dog. One thing I always get, though, is friendly service from owners Lonnie and Diane Edwards, the couple who own and operate the small business in St. Matthews.
Usually, Diane will greet you and take your order, give you a number ripped from the bottom of her order pad, and then you wait a few short moments while Lonnie gets your meal together, whether it’s a signature Chicago-style dog, a burger or a Greek Island gyro.
I walked into Lonnie’s recently looking for some back story on the place and to take a few photos for a book project about Louisville eateries, due out in the spring. Diane was busy, so as I got maybe three steps inside the door, Lonnie turned away from his grill and said, “Do you know what you’ll be having today, buddy?”
I paused, having just taken a peek at the menu board behind the counter, and he smiled and said, “Take your time.”
Commonwealth Cure opened downtown in 2015 and produces a variety of foods from lamb dogs to pesto to bacon. Sometimes, owners Austin Cummins and Michelle Hill push the envelope pretty far — the Ofaly Drunk, made with pig heart, pig liver and red wine, is a good example.
“They’re different than what you would find traditionally,” Cummins says, noting they enjoy using ingredients many would consider throw-aways. “We take weird things and make it into things we think people will like.”
In Louisville’s hyper-competitive dining scene, where new trends blended with Southern tradition seem to be a driving force, some places seem to sit still while time goes flying past.
Nothing drives this home like a visit to the Cottage Inn, the enduring little restaurant on Eastern Parkway that incredibly has been in business since 1929. It had been a good two decades since I’d been somehow, even though each time I drive by, I think, “I need to go back to the Cottage Inn.”
How is it that some restaurants can be forgotten? Is it because we simply expect them to be there forever, giving us an excuse to simply put it off a while longer? As if we’re going to be here forever? The Cottage Inn may well outlive us all, so we may as well enjoy it while we can.
LOX, which opened Sept. 14 as a concept-within-a-concept at RYE, focuses on cured salmon and bagels, among other sandwich and salad options.
Lox, the Jewish term for brined salmon, is a staple in East Coast Jewish delicatessens — Russ & Daughters was cited as an example of LOX’s inspiration — and is often served as a sandwich on a bagel. Brined salmon from Nova Scotia is often called Nova lox, while in some countries it is referred to as Gravlax.
RYE Chef Zach Chancey said with some former New Yorkers in house, a lox and bagels concept seemed appropriate.
“That kind of food is kind of a favorite around here,” he told Insider.
It was somewhere in southern Wisconsin, on our annual trip to Green Bay, where my girlfriend Cynthia and I stopped for a break. Pretty sure it was one of those Love’s truck stops, where you can empty your bladder, refill it with a giant soda, and buy a snow globe or a gaudy hat while you’re there. I think I even saw “Top Gun” on DVD in the bargain bin.
As I walked around browsing and enjoying my break from the car, I noticed Cynthia maybe 30 feet away, motioning for me to come toward her. I approached, and when I finally stopped next to her, she said, “You need to see this.”
A tradition at breweries that don’t have operating kitchens is to feature rotating food trucks on busy nights and during special events. It’s sort of a roulette of food that can bring about some fun surprises.
But Gravely Brewing Co., which opened this summer in the Phoenix Hill/Irish Hill area, has a permanent truck — it’s there every day. What that means is whenever you go to Gravely for a craft brew, you’ll have Mayan Street Food at the ready to help fill any missing space in your belly.
It wasn’t that long ago that IBUs were all that mattered. International Bitterness Units were all the rage as IPAs ascended to the top of the craft beer mountain, and the higher IBU count, the better — if you wanted to prove yourself as the top “hophead” in your beer peer group. Bitterness was king, and the counterbalance was a big, thick, malty backbone that sometimes made it feel like you were drinking a burlap sack.
IBUs are scarcely an afterthought these days, as new catchphrases emerge to fill the mouths of craft beer aficionados everywhere, including here in Louisville. One of those phrases, one I hear more and more often every day, in fact, is the word “juicy.”
Juicy is now often used in reference to a beer, usually a Northeast-style IPA, that is particularly fruity or tropical in flavor, and actually drinks sort of like a juice as much as it does a beer. Mile Wide’s series of Northeast IPAs falls directly into the “juicy” category.
As in, “Try this mango-infused Northeast IPA, dude. It’s juicy!”
Since it began distributing packaged beer in 2010, Falls City Brewing Co. has been available via retail exclusively in bottles. But with a new brewery and taproom under construction, the brewery, which traces its roots back to 1905, decided it was time for a change.
Starting the first week of October, Falls City beers will be sold retail in 12-ounce aluminum cans, the brewery announced today. A can release party will happen Thursday, Oct. 5, at Molly Malone’s in the Highlands.
Falls City general manager Drew Johnson said the decision to make the change was an easy one.
After Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, formerly Manny & Merle, underwent its transition last year, I stopped in for a meal (or two) and was delighted by what I found.
When Waylon’s Feed & Firewater, an offshoot owned by Tony Palombino, opened in St. Matthews, I had to test the waters. Would the menu be the same? Would it live up to the Merle’s experience? Was transitioning the small space on Shelbyville Road from a Boombozz Pizza the right call?
I’m one of those weird people who, if forced to eat at Arby’s for some reason (it’s rare), orders a chicken sandwich. Or chicken tenders. I’m just not a fan of the Arby’s mystery meat.
Of course, this reminds me of when Arby’s first came to this market when I was a kid; my parents liked it, but we were poor enough that I had never even seen a roast beef sandwich, let alone eaten one. No thanks, I told them, I’ll just have a burger. One problem: Arby’s didn’t serve burgers. Needless to say, we didn’t go to Arby’s much when I was a kid.
But after a while, Arby’s diversified (even serving burgers, however briefly) and it seems that, over the last few decades, other fast-food chains have done the same. Wendy’s used to rely on mediocre chili, ice cream-ish drinks called Frosties and big, square burgers, and now you can get grilled chicken wraps. McDonald’s was all about greasy burgers and greasy fries, yet now you can get a southwest grilled chicken salad. Or apple slices.
You get the idea and, yes, I am getting to the point.