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Industry Experts on the Top Restaurant Standbys of 2012

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Photo: Courtesy Facebook/Hammerheads

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from meal of the year to top newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted and unedited herein. Readers, please add your survey answers in the comments.

Q. Name your top restaurant standbys of 2012—the restaurants you returned to most.

Kane Webb, editor, Louisville Magazine: Holy Grale. Hey, it does have food, so that qualifies as a restaurant. Mayan Cafe. Mojito.

Elizabeth Orrick, food writer, Hammerheads: best meat in town. Oishii Sushi: best and biggest sushi in town, and the biggest bang for your buck. Chop Shop Salads: best lunch in town. Grind (Burger Truck): fantastic bacon and brie burger. Please and Thank You: gorgeous coffee, tea, salad, cookies, coffee cake and records all in one spot. Hillbilly Tea: throws the best special dinners, healthy and fresh.

Steve Hacker, writer and brand consultant, Blue Dog, NamNam, Harvest, Guaca-mole

Melissa Duley, associate editor, Louisville Magazine: Hammerheads, Wiltshire on Market

Antonia Lindauer, freelance food writer, That Vampin' Lady: Lilly's - We sit at the bar and treat it like our local pub, which may surprise some people. Mayan Cafe - there's nothing else like it. Hillbilly Tea - we love the happy hour. Their apps, like their corn fried tofu and white bean and sage fritters, are incredibly rich and delicious. La Bodega - someday, I'm going to order a plate of just M1s for dinner. It's their montadito #1: chorizo, Serrano ham, goat cheese, mayo, and a fried quail egg atop a slice of crusty baguette. Heart and Soy - for takeout banh mis, fried tofu and curry fried rice. Dragon King's Daughter - I love building my own tacos with their creative ingredients.

Kevin Harned, chief meteorologist, WAVE 3 and co-host, Secrets of Louisville Chefs Live: Varanese, Marketplace, Volare

Josh Moss, managing editor, Louisville Magazine: My top seven, in order: Holy Grale, Hillbilly Tea, Toast, Blue Dog Bakery, Bluegrass Burgers, El Mundo, Hammerheads.

Zach Everson, editor, Eater Louisville: Blind Pig, Taco Punk, Holy Grale, Day's Espresso, and Dunkin' Donuts because I'm from Boston and it's my heritage.


2300 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 502-894-4446 Visit Website

The Marketplace

651 S 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-625-3001 Visit Website

Mojitos Tapas

2231 Holiday Manor Center, Louisville, KY 40245 502-425-0949


2106 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 502-899-9904 Visit Website

Holy Grale

1034 Bardstown Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40204 502-459-9939

Taco Punk

736 E. Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-552-5478 Visit Website

Bluegrass Burgers

3334 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40207 502-614-6567 Visit Website

Please & Thank You

800 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-235-2372 Visit Website


921 Swan Street, Louisville, KY 40203 502-365-1112 Visit Website

Dragon King's Daughter

1126 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 502-632-2444 Visit Website

El Mundo

2345 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 502-899-9930

La Bodega

355 North Clark Street, , IL 60654 (312) 561-4666 Visit Website

Oishii Sushi

2810 Taylorsville Road, Louisville, KY 40205 502-365-3474

Wiltshire on Market

636 East Market Street, , KY 40202 (502) 589-5224 Visit Website

Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe

2868 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 502-899-9800 Visit Website

The Blind Pig

1076 E Washington Street, Louisville, KY 40204 502-618-0600

Chop Shop Salads

436 W Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-589-2467

Mayan Café

813 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40206 502-566-0651 Visit Website

Hillbilly Tea

120 S 1st Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-587-7350 Visit Website

Toast on Market

620 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-569-4099 Visit Website