Category Archives: Insider Louisville

A return to Vietnam Kitchen (news flash: it’s still awesome)

From Insider Louisville, 11/8/2017:


The last time I went to Vietnam Kitchen, I didn’t have a GPS app on my phone — in other words, it’s been too long. But once I parked and had lunch last week, I was relieved to find out that, after all this time, the food there is still amazing.

For a time back in the early 2000s, I had standing plans with a couple of friends to meet there on a regular basis. When that fizzled out, I began letting my schedule dictate my dining-out habits, and the Kitchen fell off the list. Then, recently, my girlfriend, Cynthia, informed me she’d never eaten there, which gave me all the impetus I needed to make a return visit.

We’re both glad that happened, even if our GPS apps took us to the rear of the Iroquois Manor shopping center, where the non-descript restaurant sits next to a busy laundromat.

Interestingly, in the many times I’ve visited Vietnam Kitchen, I’d never ordered the legendary Hủ tiếu Saté, which is probably better known as the K8.

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Frontier Diner offers a glimpse into yesteryear in Pleasure Ridge Park

From Insider Louisville, 11/1/2017


By Kevin Gibson

Since 1982, Frontier Diner, or a version of it, has been treating Louisville’s South End to all-American food — burgers, breakfast, grilled cheese, soups — and I didn’t even know it was there.

General manager Stanley Osborne told me the cracker-box structure originally was a doughnut shop, until it was heavily damaged by fire. It was rebuilt and reimagined then as a restaurant, and Osborne said he was the seventh owner since that happened.

But what was is hardly as important as what is.

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Panchitos Ice Cream in the Highlands makes some tasty tacos, too

From Insider Louisville, 10/25/2017

Panchitos meal

By Kevin Gibson

Panchitos Ice Cream has been open for a while now on Preston Highway, and when a location of the small regional chain opened in the Highlands, I didn’t give it much thought, since ice cream isn’t my thing.

Then, someone told me the new location also was serving tacos. Now, tacos, they are my thing. So I decided to check it out, and the rumors were true.

Panchitos on Bardstown Road opened back in August in a building that most recently housed Banh Mi Hero (the sign is still on the building) and also was the original space for Oiishi Sushi and has housed a number of concepts.

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Shack in the Back BBQ makes the most of quaint, quirky space in Fairdale

From Insider Louisville, 10/27/2017


By Kevin Gibson

On the recommendation of a friend, I recently took myself to Fairdale to try a little place called Shack in the Back BBQ. I’d actually heard good things about the place the last couple of years, but life is busy, and Fairdale isn’t exactly next door.

Shack in the Back has made that trip seem a lot shorter.

Owned by Mike and Barbara Sivell, the business was a longtime dream of the couple they finally made good on when they came across the mid-1800s log cabin around which the restaurant is built.

It’s a quirky, fun atmosphere, with a small dining room in the cabin itself giving way to a covered patio dining room behind it. It conjures the Bobby Bare song “Ode to the Little Shack Out Back.”

(Well, sort of. That song is actually about an outhouse.)

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Christi’s Cafe brings food, fun and philanthropy to Valley Station

From Insider Louisville, 10/17/2017:

Christys Cafe smile burger

By Kevin Gibson

As soon as you walk into Christi’s Cafe, located in Valley Station, you know the fun is about to begin.

Pink is everywhere, a mural of the logo reaches out to your gaze from the back wall, homemade cakes beckon from the lunch counter, and photos of celebrities line the walls along the ceiling. There are photos of Marilyn Monroe — lots of photos of Marilyn Monroe.

My girlfriend, Cynthia, and I went for lunch recently and found the place buzzing — just one table was empty, a server told us to sit wherever we would like, so we grabbed it.

We quickly noticed the servers, all of whom were female, wore matching pink T-shirts bearing the phrase “Cancer Sucks.” Yes, yes it does.

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Gravely Brewing to partner with Commonwealth Cure for Sunday brunch

From Insider Louisville, 10/12/2017

Commonwealth Cure sandwich
Photo courtesy of Community Cure.

By Kevin Gibson

Gravely Brewing Co. is the first Louisville brewery to have a permanent food truck in Mayan Street Food, which is operated by the owners of Mayan Café, but the truck doesn’t serve on Sundays. Enter Commonwealth Cure, which will offer dishes featuring its handmade meats each Sunday, starting this week, Oct. 15.

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.”

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A refreshing trip back in time at the eternal Cottage Inn

From Insider Louisville, 10/10/2017

Cottage Inn exterior

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.

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New concept LOX takes over lunchtime space at RYE

From Insider Louisville, 9/29/2017


By Kevin Gibson

NuLu has another dining option for lunch.

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.

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Mayan Street Food brings salbutes, quality to Gravely Brewing

From Insider Louisville, 9/21/2017


By Kevin Gibson

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.

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Falls City Brewing unveils switch to cans, redesign and new slogan

From Insider Louisville, 9/20/17


By Kevin Gibson

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.

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