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A Collection of Stories About Louisville's Phenom and Flame-Out Restaurants

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Like many cities Louisville has had its share of restaurants that didn't make it, some in spectacular ways. Eater assembled some of the most interesting tales of briefly triumphant, sometimes traumatic restaurants in the city. Some of them were headed by chefs that are still here, others by folk the city hopes may never return. As always any additions, observations or objections would be most welcome in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sixth Avenue

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600 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
A 1980s offshoot of Casa Grisanti serving "new American cuisine," the building with a dramatic center atrium is now the site of the Louisville Bar Association. Longtime Louisville Magazine editor Jack Welch wrote: "Sixth Avenue was known for its fantastic and varied seafood dishes. Then something happened internally and it swung toward a Southwest-influenced menu. ... And then, in the midst of a widening upscale restaurant boom, it was gone."

2. The Fig Tree

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234 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
In 1974, 21-year-old Kathy Cary, fresh from Cordon Bleu cooking classes in Washington, D.C., headed up the kitchen of this trendy restaurant in the Weissinger-Gaulbert Building, receiving great accolades. Changing the lunch and dinner menu every two weeks, Cary, who lived in an apartment upstairs, said in an interview with StyleBlueprint: "After a year I couldn't take it anymore. I had no life." Cary, who went on to become a godmother to Louisville's local and farm-to-table scene, added that she "made a decision right then that if I ever owned a restaurant I would never manage it as poorly as the owners of The Fig Tree did."

3. Primo Restaurant

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445 E Market St
Louisville, KY
(502) 583-1808
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Open Fall 2005 to Fall 2008, this restaurant concept from Bim Deitrich and Allen Button offered great Italian wines and excellent service—unfortunately a bit before the East Market scene really took off. [Photo: Louisville.com]

4. Mozz

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445 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202
After Primo came Mozz, where co-owner/chef Matthew Antonovich, a Casa Grisanti alum, returned to Louisville in 2010 to open Mozz with great fanfare after spending years away from Louisville. Turns out he had less fanfare in Dallas, his prior location, as he flamed out leaving plenty of hot tempers and burned bridges before doing the same with Mozz in 2012. [Photo: Yelp]

5. Afro-German Tearoom

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639 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40202
In the "greed is good" atmosphere of Reagan's 1980s, one could feel good about oneself by eating at a progressive church, knowing that whatever profits resulted from your meal would fund a Montessori school. Proudly named after the ethnic history of the neighborhood, the Afro-German Tearoom served an eclectic menu including crab cakes, pimento cheese sandwiches and apple crisp in the rectory of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.

6. 732 Social

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732 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202
This early NuLu place opened in 2009 with great fanfare, and shared locavore food sources and long lines on E. Market Street with Bruce Ucan's Mayan Cafe. Social at first, the restaurant came to an unsocial end in 2011, when landlord Gill Holland and co-owners Steven and Michael Ton locked horns with chef/co-owner Jason Lewellyn. The building is now home to La Coop: Bistro a Vins. [Photo: Examiner]

7. Timothy's

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826 East Broadway
Louisville, KY 40204
Owner Tim Barnes may have passed decades ago; the building is gone as well. But among other things Barnes' restaurant is remembered for its White Bean Chili, featured in Bon Appetit Magazine in the early '90s. The "Now Sautéing" neon sign and the leopard skin carpet in the fancier back room were also renowned, and Timothy's pretty much epitomized the Louisville restaurant scene in the 1980s.

8. Blind Pig

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1076 East Washington Street
Louisville, KY 40206
What was probably Louisville's first gastropub opened in March 2010 in Butchertown, and was written up by the New York Times a few months later. The restaurant came to a tumultuous end, with chef/owner Joseph Frase's issues covered extensively by Eater. [Photo: bourbonblog.com]

9. Lynn's Paradise Cafe

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984 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
Lynn Winter still tells people her eclectic restaurant isn't closed, but merely awaiting a buyer who can resuscitate her "brand" of a hipsterized Cracker Barrel offering a "world of swirl" (souvenirs) with dolled-up diner food.

10. Jicama Grill

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1538 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
Anthony Lamas and partner Jun Eugenio opened Jicama Grill in 2000 to great acclaim. The partnership came to an end in a public feud in 2005, with Lamas opening Seviche at the same spot a few months later. [Photo: Chef Magazine]

11. Genny's Diner

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2223 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY
The unapologetically unhealthy home of Frickled Pickles and the triple-decker Sweet Daddy Burger closed after 27 years in 2010 after owner Frank Faris' long fight with neighbors and the preservation district over whether he could tear down the house next door. Both buildings are now part of the Comfy Cow. [Photo: Urbanspoon]

12. Allo Spiedo

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2309 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
Allo offered some of Louisville's first pizzas cooked in a wood oven. It also boastsd a beautiful outdoor dining area encircled by wisteria and a nice selection of Italian wines. Now it's Vint, where you can get espresso. [Photo: Active Diner]

13. Shariat's

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2901 Brownsboro Road
Louisville, KY 40206
Anoosh Shariat took over what began as an Indian restaurant and ran it eponymously from 1993 to 2003. The menu still exists online and still looks fairly modern, with vegetarian options long before they were anything but an afterthought at most other fine dining restaurants.

14. Deitrich's

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2862 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
From 1998 to 2003, Louisville restaurant legend Bim Deitrich held court at his eponymous restaurant in the old Crescent Theater in St. Matthews. The bar was the place to see and be seen. And the restaurant, which looked down on an open kitchen where the screen had once been, turned out reliably interesting food such as a Bibb salad with blue cheese and spicy candied nuts. [Photo: Cinema Treasures]

1. Sixth Avenue

600 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202
A 1980s offshoot of Casa Grisanti serving "new American cuisine," the building with a dramatic center atrium is now the site of the Louisville Bar Association. Longtime Louisville Magazine editor Jack Welch wrote: "Sixth Avenue was known for its fantastic and varied seafood dishes. Then something happened internally and it swung toward a Southwest-influenced menu. ... And then, in the midst of a widening upscale restaurant boom, it was gone."
600 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202

2. The Fig Tree

234 West Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202
In 1974, 21-year-old Kathy Cary, fresh from Cordon Bleu cooking classes in Washington, D.C., headed up the kitchen of this trendy restaurant in the Weissinger-Gaulbert Building, receiving great accolades. Changing the lunch and dinner menu every two weeks, Cary, who lived in an apartment upstairs, said in an interview with StyleBlueprint: "After a year I couldn't take it anymore. I had no life." Cary, who went on to become a godmother to Louisville's local and farm-to-table scene, added that she "made a decision right then that if I ever owned a restaurant I would never manage it as poorly as the owners of The Fig Tree did."
234 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202

3. Primo Restaurant

445 E Market St, Louisville, KY
Open Fall 2005 to Fall 2008, this restaurant concept from Bim Deitrich and Allen Button offered great Italian wines and excellent service—unfortunately a bit before the East Market scene really took off. [Photo: Louisville.com]
445 E Market St
Louisville, KY

4. Mozz

445 East Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202
After Primo came Mozz, where co-owner/chef Matthew Antonovich, a Casa Grisanti alum, returned to Louisville in 2010 to open Mozz with great fanfare after spending years away from Louisville. Turns out he had less fanfare in Dallas, his prior location, as he flamed out leaving plenty of hot tempers and burned bridges before doing the same with Mozz in 2012. [Photo: Yelp]
445 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202

5. Afro-German Tearoom

639 South Shelby Street, Louisville, KY 40202
In the "greed is good" atmosphere of Reagan's 1980s, one could feel good about oneself by eating at a progressive church, knowing that whatever profits resulted from your meal would fund a Montessori school. Proudly named after the ethnic history of the neighborhood, the Afro-German Tearoom served an eclectic menu including crab cakes, pimento cheese sandwiches and apple crisp in the rectory of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church.
639 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40202

6. 732 Social

732 East Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202
This early NuLu place opened in 2009 with great fanfare, and shared locavore food sources and long lines on E. Market Street with Bruce Ucan's Mayan Cafe. Social at first, the restaurant came to an unsocial end in 2011, when landlord Gill Holland and co-owners Steven and Michael Ton locked horns with chef/co-owner Jason Lewellyn. The building is now home to La Coop: Bistro a Vins. [Photo: Examiner]
732 East Market Street
Louisville, KY 40202

7. Timothy's

826 East Broadway, Louisville, KY 40204
Owner Tim Barnes may have passed decades ago; the building is gone as well. But among other things Barnes' restaurant is remembered for its White Bean Chili, featured in Bon Appetit Magazine in the early '90s. The "Now Sautéing" neon sign and the leopard skin carpet in the fancier back room were also renowned, and Timothy's pretty much epitomized the Louisville restaurant scene in the 1980s.
826 East Broadway
Louisville, KY 40204

8. Blind Pig

1076 East Washington Street, Louisville, KY 40206
What was probably Louisville's first gastropub opened in March 2010 in Butchertown, and was written up by the New York Times a few months later. The restaurant came to a tumultuous end, with chef/owner Joseph Frase's issues covered extensively by Eater. [Photo: bourbonblog.com]
1076 East Washington Street
Louisville, KY 40206

9. Lynn's Paradise Cafe

984 Barret Avenue, Louisville, KY 40204
Lynn Winter still tells people her eclectic restaurant isn't closed, but merely awaiting a buyer who can resuscitate her "brand" of a hipsterized Cracker Barrel offering a "world of swirl" (souvenirs) with dolled-up diner food.
984 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204

10. Jicama Grill

1538 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205
Anthony Lamas and partner Jun Eugenio opened Jicama Grill in 2000 to great acclaim. The partnership came to an end in a public feud in 2005, with Lamas opening Seviche at the same spot a few months later. [Photo: Chef Magazine]
1538 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205

11. Genny's Diner

2223 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY
The unapologetically unhealthy home of Frickled Pickles and the triple-decker Sweet Daddy Burger closed after 27 years in 2010 after owner Frank Faris' long fight with neighbors and the preservation district over whether he could tear down the house next door. Both buildings are now part of the Comfy Cow. [Photo: Urbanspoon]
2223 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY

12. Allo Spiedo

2309 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206
Allo offered some of Louisville's first pizzas cooked in a wood oven. It also boastsd a beautiful outdoor dining area encircled by wisteria and a nice selection of Italian wines. Now it's Vint, where you can get espresso. [Photo: Active Diner]
2309 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

13. Shariat's

2901 Brownsboro Road, Louisville, KY 40206
Anoosh Shariat took over what began as an Indian restaurant and ran it eponymously from 1993 to 2003. The menu still exists online and still looks fairly modern, with vegetarian options long before they were anything but an afterthought at most other fine dining restaurants.
2901 Brownsboro Road
Louisville, KY 40206

14. Deitrich's

2862 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206
From 1998 to 2003, Louisville restaurant legend Bim Deitrich held court at his eponymous restaurant in the old Crescent Theater in St. Matthews. The bar was the place to see and be seen. And the restaurant, which looked down on an open kitchen where the screen had once been, turned out reliably interesting food such as a Bibb salad with blue cheese and spicy candied nuts. [Photo: Cinema Treasures]
2862 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206