29 Amazing Places to Eat in Louisville, Kentucky: A Local’s Guide

29 amazing places to eat in Louisville, KY! A local's guide.
A local's foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky USA! The best brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus famous Kentucky foods and the best places to eat in Louisville. Don't skip Louisville as part of your USA travel plans! A local's foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky USA! The best brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus famous Kentucky foods and the best places to eat in Louisville. Don't skip Louisville as part of your USA travel plans!

The food scene in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky is constantly changing and evolving. Since I moved away from my old Kentucky home 10 years ago, many classic Louisville restaurants remain, but many more Louisville restaurants have opened as well and quickly become foodie favorites. We spent a few weeks exploring Louisville and discovering everything from the best brunch in Louisville to the best Louisville restaurants for lunch or dinner, where to get dessert in Louisville, and even the best coffee in Louisville.  Yep, that’s right: we have you covered on all 5 major meals: brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, and coffee. “But what about bars?” you ask. Well, we have an entire post dedicated to bourbon, bars & breweries in Louisville! This post is all about the food.  By the end of this post we guarantee that you’ll be drooling and booking your trip, because Louisville is an incredible destination for foodies!

Here’s what you’ll find in this local’s foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky.

Psst: Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a FREE downloadable Google Map of the best places to eat in Louisville!

By the way, did you know that we have a BUNCH of posts about Louisville? It is my hometown, after all! Take a look below at our other Louisville travel guides.

We’ve also compiled all of our suggestions for where to go, what to do, where to visit, what & where to eat, and what & where to drink (and taste bourbon) into one downloadable PDF Local’s Guide to Louisville. Subscribe below to get the download and save it to your smartphone or tablet to take with you on your trip to Louisville!

Chocolate Pecan Pie at Homeade Pie & Ice Cream Kitchen in Louisville, KY. Derby Pie is a legally protected trademark, but you can find Chocolate Pecan Horse Racing Themed Seasonal Pie and its equivalents all over Louisville. It's a famous - and quirky - food from Louisville, Kentucky!
Derby Pie is a legally protected trademark, but you can find Chocolate Pecan Horse Racing Themed Seasonal Pie and its equivalents all over Louisville. It’s a famous – and quirky – food from Louisville, Kentucky!

Famous Louisville (& Kentucky) Foods

Before we move onto the best places to eat in Louisville, there are a few foods that Louisville is known for. Here are a few Louisville  (& Kentucky) originals that you should definitely make it a point to sample while you’re visiting Louisville!

Hot Brown

In 1926, the chef at the famous and historical Brown Hotel (yes, the hotel with the wedding in Elizabethtown) invented a dish that is famous to this day: The Hot Brown. It’s a baked open face sandwich with turkey, tomato, bacon, and Moray sauce. It’s a must try while in Louisville and the real deal can be found at The Brown Hotel. But be mindful: there is a dress code, so don’t dress like a schlub.

Benedictine Spread

This delicious mix of cucumber and cream cheese is a staple with High Tea, and its roots are right in Louisville. The trouble is it’s hard to find anywhere else! O’Shea’s Irish Pub in the Highlands is an unexpected place to find it. They serve it on their Benedictine Bacon Sandwich, like a BLT but better. Their sister bar, Patrick O’Shea’s serves its own version with jalapeno, brie, and benedictine spread.

Pulled Pork

Yeah, we invented it. You’re welcome, Earth! Pulled pork is ubiquitous in America, but our favorite place to find it in Louisville is at Feast BBQ!

  • Feast BBQ | Address: 909 E. Market Street, Louisville, KY (NuLu)
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Burgoo

Burgoo is a Southern stew that for some reason is more popular in Kentucky than anywhere else. A few places in Kentucky claim to be the Burgoo capital of the world, and as far as we know, no one is disputing that claim. Burgoo’s got a weird name to match its historically weird ingredients: it’s supposed to be made with pretty much whatever meat you’ve got lying around. My mom, who also grew up in Louisville, says it used to be made with squirrel. Wikipedia verifies this. Gross. But don’t worry: the Burgoo that you’ll find on Louisville menus has received a foodie makeover, while still hearkening back to its (supposed) Kentucky heritage. You can find a fancy, foodie twist on Burgoo at farm-to-table restaurant Harvest.

Sweet Sorghum

Sweet sorghum syrup is a dark amber, thick, fragrant syrup that is very similar in appearance and taste to Molasses.  Unlike the Molasses you’re probably used to, it’s not made from sugar cane, but rather from Sorghum cane – the majority of which is grown in Kentucky (and Tennessee). I grew up associating sorghum with the Kentucky State Fair, where a farm booth handed out free samples of Sorghum syrup on fluffy buttermilk biscuits. You can find jars of Sorghum syrup in most stores in Kentucky, and keep an eye out for it on menus in Louisville. To experience sorghum in many forms, order the Pork Cakes at Feast BBQ in NuLu, sample straight Sorghum syrup or a bitesized Sorghum Cookie at Bourbon Barrel Foods, or try the unique Sorghum Cortado at GraleHaus.

  • Feast BBQ | Address: 909 E. Market Street, Louisville, KY (NuLu)
  • Bourbon Barrel Foods | Address: 2710 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY (Clifton)
  • GraleHaus: Address: 1001 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, KY (The Highlands)

Beer Cheese

What sounds like a drunken late night invention is one of Kentucky’s most delicious dipping sauces. The name isn’t misleading either. It’s mostly beer and cheese. This is Kentucky, were you expecting something complicated? Get yourself a pretzel and beer cheese at Eiderdown in Germantown, or Four Pegs Beer Loungehi just a block away.

Weisenberger Grits

These grits get their name because they are made at Weisenberger Mill in Midway, KY and they’re the best grits you’ll find in Louisville. The quality is so good that many restaurants exclusively serve Weisenberger Grits, and make sure to call it out on the menu, too. Try the Shrimp and Grits from Jack Fry’s.

  • Jack Fry’s | Address: 1007 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY (The Highlands)

Derby Pie™

Derby Pie™ is a very specific kind of pie: it’s a pecan pie with a layer of chocolate, for delicious melty chocolate/pecan perfection. As you can see, Derby Pie™ is  trademarked: its original inventors are famously obsessed with guarding their creation, and seem to spend as much time selling pie as they do suing the pants off anyone who dares write “Derby Pie” on their menu or online recipe. You can find original Derby Pie™ frozen in a grocery store aisle. But don’t worry: if you know what to ask for, you can find rip-off Derby Pie™ all over Louisville during Derby season. Just ask for something like “Chocolate Pecan Pie” and wink a lot. You might get a few suspicious looks and some loud disclaimers like “we don’t serve Derby Pie™ here but we do serve Chocolate Pecan Horse Racing Season Pie, which is completely unrelated.” It’s a funny Louisville quirk: a famous Louisville food that can’t legally be called by its name. But it’s absolutely heavenly and you MUST try it! You can find an excellent Pecan Pie with Chocolate at Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchen.

Bourbon Balls

Bourbon Balls are the meeting of bourbon and chocolate in candy perfection. They’re heavenly. There are technically 2 correct versions of bourbon balls. One of them can only be mastered by professional chefs or home chefs with Martha Stewart tendencies, and that’s the kind you’ll find at famous local candy makers or paired with your bourbon tasting at Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, etc. The other kind is so easy to make, it’s practically fail-proof, and that’s the one I’ve been making at home myself every year for Christmas since I was little (yes, that’s right. I’ve been eating chocolate & bourbon since I was a baby. Explains a lot, right?) You won’t find these no-bake bourbon balls at any reputable restaurants, but if you’re addicted to the chocolate bourbon flavor by the time you leave Louisville (as you should be) you can make your own version by following this recipe. To try the fancy stuff, Cellar Door makes delicious varieties of bourbon balls with different kinds of bourbon. Rebecca Ruth is the classic originator, but you’ll have to take a day trip from Louisville  to the state capitol, Frankfort, to sample her version. Or try the Bourbon Truffles at Art Eatables, which is a nut-free twist on the classic chocolate and bourbon flavor combination.

  • Cellar Door | Address: 1201 Story Avenue Louisville, KY (Butchertown)
  • Art Eatables | Address: 631 S 4th St, Louisville, KY (Downtown)
  • Rebecca Ruth | Address: 116 E 2nd St, Frankfort, KY

Where to Eat in Louisville

Now that you know what to look for on menus in all the best restaurants in Louisville, here’s where to go for the best food in my hometown!

The enormous fried chicken platter at Butchertown Grocery is enough to feed a small family with spiced, candied chicken perfection. It's one of the best places to get brunch in Louisville, Kentucky!
The enormous fried chicken platter at Butchertown Grocery is enough to feed a small family with spiced, candied chicken perfection. It’s one of the best places to get brunch in Louisville, Kentucky!

Where to get the Best Brunch in Louisville

    Louisville is the best place to get bourbon & brunch. Did y’all get my reference just there ? Let me explain it. So brunch in Louisville always involves bourbon, and there’s an amazing themed speakeasy in my other home, San Francisco, called Bourbon & Branch. I thought it was clever. Anyway, on to the best brunch in Louisville. There are plenty of places to get brunch in Louisville – as long as it’s the weekend. Go early, because these spots do fill up!

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One of our favorite places to get brunch in Louisville is at Butchertown Grocery. Located in Butchertown – which was an warehouse district with a distinct hovering smell of soybeans and meat when I was growing up, but has since evolved into an uber-hip district filled with art spaces, theatres, and distilleries – Butchertown Grocery is an uber-hip eatery. You’ll find an incredible selection of drinks – like a New York Sour, pale pink and topped with a foamy egg white, or a Bloody Mary with a shank of bone marrow in it – and food.  From a pecan salad topped with jalapeno blue cheese ice cream to a heaping plate of candied chicken & waffles that was enough to serve 4 people, you’ll find something ridiculous and amazing for everyone. Butchertown Grocery serves lunch and dinner, too.

Another fantastic place for brunch in Louisville is GraleHaus. Part bar, part cafe, part restaurant, part Bed & Breakfast (Really? Oh yes!), this place was so good we kept going back. Food highlights include the oyster mushroom crepe, duck hash, and ground lamb with grits. In addition to delicious brunch food, they serve just about every type of beverage you could want. Kombucha, cold brew, beer, mimosas, etc. are all able to order. They even have unique coffee drinks like the aforementioned Sorghum Cortado or a Lucky Charms Latte!

  • GraleHaus: Address: 1001 Baxter Avenue, Louisville, KY (The Highlands)

 You’ll find the best Mexican brunch in Louisville at Con Huevos. I know – Mexican food? In Louisville? My California husband was skeptical, but Con Huevos nails it. Their Mexican brunch selection is unique in Louisville. At Con Huevos you’ll find Mexican breakfast staples ranging from chilaquiles to huevos rancheros, all done expertly and plated beautifully. Go early – this tiny place fills up quickly!

  • Con Huevos | Address: 2339 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY (Clifton)

The Silver Dollar is described as “a re-imaging of a 1950s Bakersfield, California honky tonk. It’s an homage to gritty honky tonk music and gritty Southerners transplanted in Southern California,” which is right up our alley since my husband was born in Bakersfield and is quite familiar with that Bakersfield southern comfort thing. Grab a copy of the Grapes of Wrath and head to the Silver Dollar for fried oysters, shrimp and grits, and chilaquiles. Or go for dinner and and try a Beer Can Hen – which is pretty much what it sounds like – or buttermilk fried chicken livers. True to their Kentucky ties, you’ll also find a huge selection of bourbon and whiskey at Silver Dollar, and they make an excellent Mint Julep – served in a real Mint Julep cup. We ordered one at brunch, of course.

You’ll find another incredible brunch in Louisville at Harvest. This farm-to-table Louisville brunch favorite fills up fast! Harvest serves up Southern favorites with locally grown foodie flair. Most of their ingredients are grown in Kentucky, within 100 miles! With items like Pickle Brined Fried Chicken, Grits and Burgoo, and Brioche French Toast, you’ll definitely be feeling Southern here!

Royal's Hot Chicken in NuLu (aka New Louisville) may be Nashville style fried chicken, but it's served in the most Louisville way possible: as a hot brown, or with a bourbon milkshake on the side. Yes, please!
Royal’s Hot Chicken in NuLu (aka New Louisville) may be Nashville style fried chicken, but it’s served in the most Louisville way possible: as a hot brown, or with a bourbon milkshake on the side. Yes, please!

Where to Get the Best Lunch in Louisville

There are a ton of delicious lunch spots in Louisville. These are our absolute favorite lunch places to eat in Louisville!

Feeling some Fried Chicken for lunch? Louisville’s developing fried chicken scene (and no, I’m not talking about KFC) is front and center at Royal’s Hot Chicken in the heart of NuLu. Along with the standard chicken tenders and sandwich options – plus a selection of desired spice levels for your fried chicken, and several interesting sauces to pair with your choice – there’s funkier fare: the rotating monthly sandwich during our visit was a play on a Louisville classic, the Hot Brown. For those looking to drink (duh) there are bourbon milkshakes, a Frosé (frozen rosé slushie) and other slushie beverages you won’t find elsewhere in Louisville!  Pair your spicy fried chicken with a selection of in-house made sauces and sides.

When we walked into Feast BBQ, they were playing The Great British Bake Off. I’m not saying that’s why they made our list for the best lunch in Louisville, but it told us these were our people. Oh, and also because they’re serving up some of the best BBQ in Louisville. The menu at Feast BBQ is comprised of various cuts of barbeque in different forms (by the pound, on a plate, or on a sandwich), and it’s up to you to decide the sauce and the side that you want.  Both the beef brisket and the pulled pork are heavenly. But what really caught our eye was one of the starters: a pork cake! Similar to a crab cake, but made from pork, these delicious pork cakes are served with a mouth watering sorghum syrup and crunchy coleslaw. Pretty sure I licked the plate honestly. I didn’t even care that Mary Berry’s judgy eyes were watching me from the TV. Feast BBQ is a must visit lunch spot for anyone searching for the best BBQ in Louisville!

  • Feast BBQ | Address: 909 E. Market St. Louisville, KY (NuLu)
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Situated in the heart of downtown on Whiskey Row, Corner offers great food and a great patio to eat it on – which a recipe for a fantastic spot for lunch in Louisville in our eyes. While you’re there, you have to try the Whiskey Row Burger: a multiple napkin type burger complete with maple whiskey glaze, apple bacon jam, and smoked gouda.

  • Corner | Address: 102 West Main Street, Louisville, KY (Downtown)

Ever since my California born & raised husband saw Buffalo Chicken as a meat option for a burrito in Chicago, he’s been suspect about Mexican food in the Midwest. So it was no surprise when he acted like a big ol’ douche as we were approaching Taco Luchador in the Highlands neighborhood. His snooty Californian attitude was quickly dropped once he saw the menu and the tacos they were handing out. Y’all, this is the real deal. No, seriously: we’re currently backpacking in Mexico and we can officially verify the authenticity. We highly recommend the mole braised chicken tacos, whose sauce is a touch spicier than mole usually is but every bit as aromatic and rich, and the perfectly crispy carnitas tacos! Taco Luchador is our favorite place to get a taco-filled lunch in Louisville!

  • Taco Luchador | Address: 938 Baxter Ave Louisville, KY (The Highlands)
The octopus at Rye in Louisville, Kentucky is perfectly grilled. Fun fact: seafood in Louisville is some of the freshest anywhere in the country, thanks to being the national hub of Fed-Ex and UPS. Seafood is shipped to Louisville before anywhere else in the country. So dig in - it's fresh!
The octopus at Rye in Louisville, Kentucky is perfectly grilled. Fun fact: seafood in Louisville is some of the freshest anywhere in the country, thanks to being the national hub of Fed-Ex and UPS. Seafood is shipped to Louisville before anywhere else in the country. So dig in – it’s fresh!

The Best Louisville Restaurants for Dinner

Looking for a nice place to eat in Louisville with a date (or yourself, because treat yo’self)? Look no further! These are the best restaurants in Louisville for dinner.

In 1933, a man by the name of Jack Fry opened this establishment with his wife called – you guessed it – Jack Fry’s. Jack Fry was a gambler who loved boxing and horses. As a result, Jack Fry’s was decked out in sports pictures of the time that still hang there today – alongside pictures of famous visitors to Louisville who stopped to eat in this classic Louisville restaurant. After closing for some time, and passing ownership, Jack Fry’s moved into high end fare. Today, Chef McClain Brown serves up classic dishes with modern twists, including Lamb Chops, Veal Medallions, and the best Shrimp and Grits we’ve ever had (and trust us, we’ve had many).

  • Jack Fry’s | Address: 1007 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY (The Highlands)

Proof on Main, the unique restaurant in Louisville’s famous 21C Museum Hotel, is every bit as quirky as its hotel home. Redecorated regularly with its own series of installations, the restaurant is a museum in its own right. Oh, and the food is magnificent. Proof is an excellent place for brunch, lunch, and  dinner in Louisville. Dinner options at Proof include the blackberry pop tart with chicken liver pate & cracklin, braised rabbit ragout, and roasted bones. What are roasted bones? I guess you’ll have to visit Proof on Main and find out…

  • Proof on Main | Address: 702 W. Main St, Louisville, KY (Downtown)

At the Italian Table is truly a unique restaurant in Louisville, but definitely a must-try! This is authentic Italian at its finest. The restaurant seats just 20 people a night and you share a ten-person table with strangers who will become friends. Chef Gena then serves a five course meal of her choosing, which is dictated by the freshest ingredients she can find. It’s just like walking into your giant Italian family’s home for dinner, except you have to make a reservation 6+ months in advance. We hear it’s worth it!

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I don’t know about you, but I feel like it doesn’t get much more comfort food-y than German food (well…and Southern obvs), and Eiderdown is the place for that! Situated in (appropriately) Germantown, they serve up classic German food, plus some unique items like Duck Fat Popcorn. What goes better with a pretzel than mustard? Well, it’s obviously Kentucky’s favorite condiment, Beer Cheese.

  • Eiderdown | Address: 983 Goss Avenue, Louisville, KY (Germantown)

RYE describes itself as “like Kentucky itself: mostly casual, full of rich ingredients, and more interesting than people think.” We think that’s accurate. Rye’s atmosphere is laid back and minimal, but they take their food seriously. The dinner menu is designed for family style eating – mix, match, and share whatever you’re curious to try. Even people who are turned off by upscale fare will enjoy this place. Some of our favorite dishes include the octopus, the pork loin, roasted cauliflower, triple cooked cripy fries, and even the bread. Look, if the starter bread rolls are amazing, you know the food will be damn good. In addition to food, they serve up some of the most unique cocktails we’ve seen in Louisville. The menu changes all the time, so you’re in for something new every time you go!

  • RYE | Address:  900 E. Market St, Louisville, KY (NuLu)
Sweet Surrender in Louisville, Kentucky serves up the best cake I've ever had in my life. It's not just the best cake in Louisville. It might actually be the best cake in the world.
Sweet Surrender in Louisville, Kentucky serves up the best cake I’ve ever had in my life. It’s not just the best cake in Louisville. It might actually be the best cake in the world.

Where to Get Dessert in Louisville

Let’s be honest: dessert is its own meal. It’s like 11sies, or 4th meal. Yes, we’re aware this is the reason we didn’t lose any weight on our year-long backpacking tripAnyway, sometimes when the dessert mood strikes, you have specific cravings: cake, donuts, ice cream, that kind of thing. As sugar-addicted dessert connoisseurs ourselves, we’ve found the best of the best for each of your sugary cravings. Here’s where to get dessert in Louisville, Kentucky! And um, we’re aware that this is the longest section. We spent most of our time hitting up dessert places to eat in Louisville.

The Best Louisville Ice Cream

Louisville is home to some amazing local ice cream. But my heart belongs to The Comfy Cow, primarily because Comfy Cow has mastered my new favorite flavor: Bourbon Ball! Y’all, it’s just as good as it sounds: it tastes like chocolate and bourbon and bourbon ball cream filling and heaven. At one of the many Comfy Cow locations in Louisville (including in the airport, for a send-off treat) you’ll find several delectable bourbon and Kentucky themed flavors, which are frequently replaced with new limited-edition flavors. For example: an Old Fashioned ice cream with bourbon and Angostura bitters; spiced carrot cake with a cream cheese swirl;  white chocolate ice cream with a blueberry cobbler swirl; chocolate ice cream with swirls of Bourbon ganache. Can’t pick? Just get a flight. Yup, they have ice cream flights.  If you really, really love someone, you can ship them a selection of Comfy Cow ice cream, nestled in dry ice, which we happen to know about first-hand because it was one of the best Christmas gifts we’d ever received (thanks, Daddy)!

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The Best Ice Cream & Pie in Louisville

A Louisville institution, you’ll find Homemade Ice Cream & Pie Kitchens sprinkled throughout the city. They’re all serving up exactly what they claim: delicious homemade ice cream… and pie. (And cake.) If you’re here at the right time of year, you’ll find Chocolate Pecan Horse Racing Themed Pie (or whatever they’re calling it that definitely isn’t Derby Pie, wink wink). You absolutely must try this classic Louisville dessert. Other faves? Chocolate cherry pie, Italian Cream Cake, and Chocolate Chess Pie. Yum.

The Best Cake in Louisville

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Sweet Surrender serves the best cake I’ve ever had. It serves the best cake that most people have ever had. And there isn’t even a specific kind that I could tell you is my favorite: the selection changes every day, so that the Mocha Concord cake with crunchy chocolate meringue, chocolate ganache, and buttery Mocha French buttercream that you fell in love with one week is replaced with a heavenly Caramel Pound Cake the next – each may never be seen again – and perhaps on holidays you’ll find one-day-only special cakes, like Guinness and Bailey’s Chocolate Cake on St. Patrick’s Day.  There isn’t even a printed menu – the friendly employees simply memorize the cake selection each day and walk you through the options as they become available (or run out). But rest assured: everything at Sweet Surrender is absolute perfection. I recommend sharing, and ordering a large glass of milk with your slice of heaven.

  • Sweet Surrender | Address: 1804 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY (Clifton)
Please & Thank You serves the best chocolate chip cookie in Louisville. As a bonus, they also serve some of the best coffee in Louisville, too.
Please & Thank You serves the best chocolate chip cookie in Louisville. As a bonus, they also serve some of the best coffee in Louisville, too.

The Best Louisville Cookies

At Please & Thank You  you’ll find the best chocolate chip cookie in Louisville. But Please & Thank You delivers on the hype: their famous chocolate chip cookie practically melts at a glance. Gooey and chocolatey with a warm, molten core, it’s like the pleasure of eating warm cookie dough combined with the satisfying crunch around the outside of a well-baked cookie. Look, just go there and get a cookie. You won’t regret it. Don’t skip the coffee, either: Please & Thank You makes a damn fine cup of coffee, crafted with beans from local roastery Good Folks.

  • Please & Thank You | Address: 800 East Market Street (NuLu) or 2341 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY (Clifton)

For every other kind of cookie, head to the Kitizo Cookie Factory (or stop by any local Walgreens or Qdoba – they’re for sale all over the place). My favorite flavors are Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky, Snickerdoodle, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip.

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The Best Louisville Chocolate (& Bourbon Balls!)

Art Eatables and Cellar Door Chocolates both offer small batch artisanal chocolates for you to enjoy. Cellar Door features everything your chocolate craving mind could ask for, from bourbon balls to bars to dipped pretzels and everything in between. They also have non-alcoholic chocolates, but come on! You’re in Kentucky! Art Eatables, on the other hand, focuses mostly on Bourbon Truffles filled with bourbony chocolate ganache. They partner with distilleries, so if you have a favorite brand, you’ll probably find a bourbon truffle made from it.

  • Cellar Door | Address: 1201 Story Avenue Louisville, KY (Butchertown)
  • Art Eatables | Address: 631 S 4th St, Louisville, KY (Downtown)
A Chocolate Bourbon Donut from High 5 Donuts in Louisville, Kentucky. If this isn't fancy enough for you, you can create the DIY donut of your dreams!
A Chocolate Bourbon Donut from Hi-Five Donuts in Louisville, Kentucky. If this isn’t fancy enough for you, you can create the DIY donut of your dreams!

The Best Donuts in Louisville

If you’re in a Homer Simpson kinda mood, the best spots for donuts in Louisville are Hi-Five Donuts or Nord’s Bakery! Nord’s tends to have more classic donut flavors, with the exception of their famous Maple Bacon Bar. Hi-Five is for the more adventurous, offering such flavors as Bourbon Ball (*record scratch* Um what?), The Old Fashioned – with a Cherry Brandy Compote glaze, topped with a brandy soaked cherry and candied orange peel – and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Be still my heart). They even have a build your own option, if you’re feeling extra creative! Psst, by the way, their Instagram is everything!

  • Hi-Five Donuts | Address: 1011 East Main Street, Louisville, KY (Butchertown)
  • Nord’s Bakery | Address: 2118 S Preston St Louisville, KY (Germantown)
Looking for a little Kentucky twist in your latte? This Sorghum Cortado from Gralehaus in Louisville, Kentucky is as unique as it gets. If you don't feel like gettin' lucky in Kentucky, try a Lucky Charms Latte instead - made with the milk from a bowl of sugary cereal, of course.
Looking for a little Kentucky twist in your latte? This Sorghum Cortado from Gralehaus in Louisville, Kentucky is as unique as it gets. If you don’t feel like gettin’ lucky in Kentucky, try a Lucky Charms Latte instead – made with the milk from a bowl of sugary cereal, of course.

The Best Coffee in Louisville

What goes with dessert? Coffee, obviously! Here’s where to get the best coffee in Louisville, from local coffee shops to specialty coffee.

Quills Coffee and Sunergos are both third wave/specialty coffee shops in Louisville. They’re up to our snobby coffee standards, so you know they’re the real deal. Feel free to strike up a chat with your barista about the notes in your single-origin pour-over or espresso: they’re passionate and knowledgeable about coffee, and it shows!

Heine Bros Coffee  is the self-proclaimed “original Louisville coffee house,” and they’re about as Louisville as you can get. Their coffee is all organic and fair trade, but this is a 2nd wave coffee shop, which means it’s a great place to get a delicious, well-made, fancy (and sweet) coffee drink. Try a Vint Julep, made with whiskey-infused sugar and fresh mint, or one of their delicious, creamy blended Icebergs, which are so much better than Frappuccinos. Look, I’m not gonna lie to you: I hate Starbucks, but I love Heine Bros Coffee. If you’re looking for something with whipped cream and syrup and blended to perfection, you need to go to Heine Bros Coffee. Oh, and their chai is amazing, too!

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While not technically a coffee house, we were blown away by the quality of the drip coffee at Please & Thank You. And y’all know, we’re snobby AF about our coffee. We stopped by to try the best chocolate chip cookie in Louisville (more on that later) but ended up falling in love with local specialty coffee roaster Good Folks Coffee. They don’t have a coffee shop, but their locally roasted coffee beans can be found at Please & Thank You and many other local restaurants and cafes.

  • Please & Thank You | Address: 800 East Market Street (NuLu) or 2341 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY (Clifton)

Map of the Best Places to Eat in Louisville

Use our handy map to locate the best places to eat in Louisville on the go! Travel Tip: Download this map to your smartphone for offline browsing (click here for instructions).

We’ve also compiled all of our suggestions for where to go, what to do, where to visit, what & where to eat, and what & where to drink (and taste bourbon) into one downloadable PDF Local’s Guide to Louisville. Subscribe below to get the download and save it to your smartphone or tablet to take with you on your trip to Louisville!

By the way, did you know that we have a BUNCH of posts about Louisville? It is my hometown, after all! Take a look below at our other Louisville travel guides.

Is your mouth watering?? Not gonna lie, writing this post made us want to return to every single one of these amazing places to eat in Louisville! (Luckily, we visit all the time. Thank goodness.)  

What are you most eager to eat in Louisville? Leave us a comment below!


Psst – did you find this post informative? Drool-worthy? Inspiring? Save it for later on Pinterest! Note: full-sized images can be found by clicking the Pin It button.

A local's foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky USA! The best brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus famous Kentucky foods and the best places to eat in Louisville. Don't skip Louisville as part of your USA travel plans! A local's foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky USA! The best brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus famous Kentucky foods and the best places to eat in Louisville. Don't skip Louisville as part of your USA travel plans! A local's foodie guide to Louisville, Kentucky USA! The best brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert and coffee in Louisville, Kentucky. Plus famous Kentucky foods and the best places to eat in Louisville. Don't skip Louisville as part of your USA travel plans!


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The Brussels Beer and Chocolate Tour

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Go To Louisville. All opinions, recommendations, wink-wink-nudge-nudge references to Chocolate Horse Racing Season Pecan Pie, and PG13 jokes about bourbon balls (wait, we didn’t make any?! Seriously?? Wow, I feel like that was low hanging fruit…)  are entirely our own and totally not their fault.

35 Comment

  1. Paroma says: Reply

    I am one of those few ones who has never ever eaten at KFC even after having lived in USA for 15 years, hahaha! I am drooling over the seafood pics though! You have done a great job in showcasing your home town’s gastronomic delights!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I’m gonna be straight with you. You’re not really missing much 😛 KFC is … not my favorite. And it’s not something I talk about when I’m excitedly recommending all of the best thing to do in Louisville or Kentucky, either. Plus, you can find KFC anywhere in the world if that’s something you’re into (which is how we wound up in a KFC in Chile, true story).

  2. jenruizwriter says: Reply

    This is so thorough, definitely saving for next time I’m in the area! Pulled pork is my favorite 🙂

  3. Nothing like skipping lunch and stumbling on this food bomb! I have heard awesome things about Louisville, I would love a weekend trip there (although 29 food spots…that’s like 2 weeks worth!)

    1. Lia says: Reply

      We spent almost exactly 2 weeks there sooooo yes, in theory … but in actuality we didn’t write about all of the places we ate 😛 we’re nothing if not thorough. That’s a good way to put it, right?

  4. Amy says: Reply

    OMG. Beer cheese. Donuts. Grits. Say no more. If I lived in Louisville, I would be quite plump!!

  5. Jamie says: Reply

    Since I moved to Italy this is the EXACT kind of food I’ve been craving, it’s such comfort food for me… Pulled pork all day everyday! YUM!! SO want to make a trip here now!!!

  6. Wow… The Chocolate Bourbon Donut looks so good ! With a coffee, it’s perfect 🙂

  7. Kelly says: Reply

    Thank God I ate before I read this. Otherwise I would have had to go and raid the kitchen. All this food looks so amazing!! Will keep this for when I am in the area.

  8. altyfc says: Reply

    What a comprehensive guide you’ve put together! Love the look of the octopus but… is that grapefruit they’ve served it with?! Would be curious to hear whether that worked as a combination.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Yes! Weird, right? But it totally worked. Citrus and fish is a match made in heaven!

  9. I freakin’ love Proof on Main! And I can’t believe pulled pork was invented in Louisville. I’m so ready for another trip down here.

  10. Erika says: Reply

    I had no idea Louisville was such a culinary delight! I’ve only passed through. It’s time to change that! This will definitely be my go to reference guide.

  11. So many delicious foods! Fried chicken, grits and Brioche French Toast sounds amazing! I need to get Kentucky just for the food! Great reference guide!

  12. karen says: Reply

    My biggest issue with this is that Vietnam Kitchen is not on here. This is a fantastic guide though and I want to eat all of these things right now! 🙂

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Omg just for you I will write a post specifically about all of the delicious food in the rest of Louisville that I did not include in this post. Trust me, it pained me to leave Vietnam Kitchen, Shalimar, and Havana Rumba off this list – 3 of my fave restaurants in Louisville but all a little too far without a car!

  13. Jas says: Reply

    Not a good idea to read this on an empty stomach… Wow! All of these look and sound to die for. Pecan pies are my absolute fave, would love to try Derby Pie some day!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      If you like Pecan Pie, you will LOVE Derby Pie!

  14. OOOH – so many amazing treats here! I’m going to Louisville for a family trip later this summer and I’ll definitely add some of these to our plans!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      Awesome!! Check back next week too because I have yet another post about Louisville, this one about the best breweries, distilleries, and bars!

  15. Anna says: Reply

    You guys invented pulled pork? Seriously… that’s grounds to retire and sit back and watch the dollars roll on in. YARM! I speak on behalf of all Australians… thank you!

  16. I do not think I have ever seen a more comprehensive list! Thank you for all the time it took to compile this. I really NEED some beer cheese and pretzel right now. and a few bourbon balls to go with my coffee…

  17. From the looks of this, there is no way anyone could leave Louisville hungry. From ice cream, pie to chocolate and pulled pork, you found it all. A nice round up of places to eat while in Louisville!

  18. I am SUCH a Louisville fan, having grown up just three hours south from there in Tennessee, but I haven’t tried out half these places! So many new things have opened since my last visit there two years ago. Only solution? Plan a return trip! Bookmarking this so I can eat each and every thing you did 😉

  19. Carol says: Reply

    Beer cheese and Derby pie? You’ve covered all the bases. I’m keeping this for when I visit Louisville.

  20. Claire says: Reply

    Wow, I had never heard of most of the speciality dishes from Louisville, they all sound delicious though! Bring on the beer cheese!

  21. Drew says: Reply

    Wow, that is quite the list! I’m sure that was some hard research, with all of the beer cheese, hot browns, and barbecue. That Royal’s hot chicken looked especially good, as did the doughnut, and the milkshake. Well, frankly, it all looked good. Looks like the food scene in Louisville is hopping!

    1. Lia says: Reply

      It is, Drew! We did lots of very serious ~research~ as you can imagine.

  22. Guru says: Reply

    What a great list of places. I think now I have to visit Louisville to eat all these items.

  23. Woow, this looks really amazing,
    This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40’s

    Keep posting,
    Kind regards
    Stefanie

  24. Shelley Volpert says: Reply

    Its a shame you didn’t even mention Highland Coffee because they are hands down the best in local coffee that Louisville has to offer.

    1. Lia says: Reply

      I debated adding it! I used to spend most of my days hanging out there after school. It’s such a local fave, maybe I wanted to keep a few undiscovered gems just for the locals 🙂

  25. Pulled pork…pie…brunch… this is almost too much to handle! I absolutely love the food in the south. I have yet to visit Kentucky but I’ll definitely bookmark this. Great suggestions! Happy travels 🙂

  26. That chocolate bourbon donut looks amazing! And I would definitely be all about finding the best spots for some yummy pulled pork. Louisville looks like quite the foodie city!

  27. Wow! I didn’t realize kentucky had so much to offer. All of this food looks simply delicious!

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