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Say 'Loo-uh-vull' To Derby Visitors With A Trip To These Iconic Louisville Restaurants

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If fighter jets, fireworks, flowers and more frequent use of words like "filly" and "handicap" aren't enough of a clue, here's a tip from Eater: it's Derby season. That means friends, family and famous folk with a passing interest in horse flesh are likely to show up in town. While taking in the sights and preparing for the races, many of them will want to be treated to a meal "where the locals eat." Of course, the reason Louisville has so many, many restaurants is "locals" pretty much eat wherever they want. However, Eater did put together a map of 13 places with some local stories to go with their local flavors. Out of town or not, enjoy these restaurants with a firm connection to Louisville history. Of course, any other ideas or contributions are always welcome in the comments.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mike Linnigs

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9308 Cane Run Rd
Louisville, KY
(502) 937-9888
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Since 1925 this family-run fish palace has been heaping generous portions of fried fish, shrimp, frog legs, pan-fried oysters, turtle soup, chicken and onion rings right along the banks of the Ohio River. Sit at a picnic table or in a screened "cabana" and enjoy some true Louisville fried seafood action.

2. Indi's Fast Food Restaurant

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1033 W Broadway
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 589-7985
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No other Louisville fried chicken comes with Chef Edward Lee's assertion that it is "the best fried chicken in the world." Lee added in an Esquire article that he likes "the spicy version plus the special hot sauce for twenty-five cents extra." Indi's now has seven Louisville locations and outlets in Jeffersonville, IN and Lexington, but the West Broadway restaurant is the real thing, especially late at night.

3. Wagner's Pharmacy

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3113 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40214
(502) 375-3800
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This low-key lunch counter/pharmacy nestled near Churchill Downs has been a hangout for track rats, trainers and other equine-inclined folk since 1922. These days, hipsters and horse tourists jostle for space with the regulars, especially around Derby time. Try a hot bologna sandwich, or perhaps some horse liniment.

4. The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton

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500 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 585-3200
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Since its opening in 1907, The Oakroom has set a Louisville standard for fine dining, in a historic grand hotel. Good food in a Gilded Age atmosphere. Gatsby couldn't ask for anything more.

5. English Grill

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335 W Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 583-1234
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Oak paneling, stained glass windows, antique brass lighting fixtures, carved columns, equestrian oil paintings and tracery ceilings. The English Grill echoes downtown Louisville's powerful mercantile past while providing interesting, often excellent cuisine.

6. Ollie's Trolley

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978 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 583-5214
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This odd little walkup restaurant is the only remaining Louisville outpost of a franchise spurred by one of Kentucky's most colorful governors, John Y. Brown. Enjoy a spice-loaded "Ollie Burger" and some peppery, fennel-laced fries as you picture the former Miss America/First Lady of Kentucky, Phyllis George Brown.

7. Dizzy Whizz Drive-In

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217 W St. Catherine St.
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 583-3828
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This dine-in plus curb-service spot in Old Louisville has been whipping up WhizzBurgers™, double-decker hamburgers with "secret special sauce," since 1947. The box special (happily delivered to you car) includes fries, medium drink and cole slaw along with "Chocolate Delight," a non-dairy frozen dessert best enjoyed by hardcore stoners.

8. Check's Cafe

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1101 E Burnett Ave
Louisville, KY
(502) 637-9515
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Since 1944 this Burnett Avenue spot has been serving its "famous" chili with or without spaghetti and/or cheese. Those in the neighborhood or those who simply enjoy a cheap, cold beer along with some cheap, hot chili will find a welcoming place at the bar.

9. Jack Fry's

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1007 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 452-9244
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Established in 1933 by Jack Fry and his wife, Flossie, the restaurant was closed 1972 when the alleged bootlegger and bookmaker retired. Reestablished in 1987, the restaurant is filled with historical photographs and a hefty wood bar as well as throngs of locals who love the place and its "Louisville" atmosphere.

10. Lilly's

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1147 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 451-0447
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Kathy Cary should rightly be considered the godmother of Louisville's local food scene, having led the effort to support Kentucky farmers and pushing organic vegetables, free-range beef, artisan cheeses and other good things since the 1980s. She's also managed to continually gain notice and acclaim for her cooking, as her many James Beard nominations will tell.

11. Pat's Steakhouse

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2437 Brownsboro Rd
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 893-2062
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Pat's is such a stolid steakhouse that it only began taking credit cards last year. Trainers and track folk love the overly-Irish, old school establishment with its menu of steak, seafood, chicken and plenty of whiskey on hand.

12. Kingfish Restaurant

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3021 River Rd
Louisville, KY
(502) 895-0544
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Started in 1948, this Louisville mini-chain used to rely on its paddlewheel boat-shaped restaurants, but now focuses on "making our locations on the Ohio River destination spots by adding miniature golf, entertainment and outside dining for Kentuckiana locals as well as visitors to the area." The Zorn Avenue location has the best view of the Ohio any "high volume seafood restaurant" could hope for.

13. Captain's Quarters

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5700 Captains Quarters Rd
Prospect, KY 40059
(502) 228-1651
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Occupying a space between Harrod's Creek and the Ohio River, Captain's Quarters has long been a place for East End boaters to pull up and order beers and burgers at dockside. Now remodeled as a "Riverside Grille," the restaurant still has excellent views of the Ohio and waiters who will come to your boat.

1. Mike Linnigs

9308 Cane Run Rd, Louisville, KY
Since 1925 this family-run fish palace has been heaping generous portions of fried fish, shrimp, frog legs, pan-fried oysters, turtle soup, chicken and onion rings right along the banks of the Ohio River. Sit at a picnic table or in a screened "cabana" and enjoy some true Louisville fried seafood action.
9308 Cane Run Rd
Louisville, KY

2. Indi's Fast Food Restaurant

1033 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40203
No other Louisville fried chicken comes with Chef Edward Lee's assertion that it is "the best fried chicken in the world." Lee added in an Esquire article that he likes "the spicy version plus the special hot sauce for twenty-five cents extra." Indi's now has seven Louisville locations and outlets in Jeffersonville, IN and Lexington, but the West Broadway restaurant is the real thing, especially late at night.
1033 W Broadway
Louisville, KY 40203

3. Wagner's Pharmacy

3113 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40214
This low-key lunch counter/pharmacy nestled near Churchill Downs has been a hangout for track rats, trainers and other equine-inclined folk since 1922. These days, hipsters and horse tourists jostle for space with the regulars, especially around Derby time. Try a hot bologna sandwich, or perhaps some horse liniment.
3113 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40214

4. The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton

500 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202
Since its opening in 1907, The Oakroom has set a Louisville standard for fine dining, in a historic grand hotel. Good food in a Gilded Age atmosphere. Gatsby couldn't ask for anything more.
500 S 4th St
Louisville, KY 40202

5. English Grill

335 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202
Oak paneling, stained glass windows, antique brass lighting fixtures, carved columns, equestrian oil paintings and tracery ceilings. The English Grill echoes downtown Louisville's powerful mercantile past while providing interesting, often excellent cuisine.
335 W Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202

6. Ollie's Trolley

978 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY 40203
This odd little walkup restaurant is the only remaining Louisville outpost of a franchise spurred by one of Kentucky's most colorful governors, John Y. Brown. Enjoy a spice-loaded "Ollie Burger" and some peppery, fennel-laced fries as you picture the former Miss America/First Lady of Kentucky, Phyllis George Brown.
978 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40203

7. Dizzy Whizz Drive-In

217 W St. Catherine St., Louisville, KY 40203
This dine-in plus curb-service spot in Old Louisville has been whipping up WhizzBurgers™, double-decker hamburgers with "secret special sauce," since 1947. The box special (happily delivered to you car) includes fries, medium drink and cole slaw along with "Chocolate Delight," a non-dairy frozen dessert best enjoyed by hardcore stoners.
217 W St. Catherine St.
Louisville, KY 40203

8. Check's Cafe

1101 E Burnett Ave, Louisville, KY
Since 1944 this Burnett Avenue spot has been serving its "famous" chili with or without spaghetti and/or cheese. Those in the neighborhood or those who simply enjoy a cheap, cold beer along with some cheap, hot chili will find a welcoming place at the bar.
1101 E Burnett Ave
Louisville, KY

9. Jack Fry's

1007 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204
Established in 1933 by Jack Fry and his wife, Flossie, the restaurant was closed 1972 when the alleged bootlegger and bookmaker retired. Reestablished in 1987, the restaurant is filled with historical photographs and a hefty wood bar as well as throngs of locals who love the place and its "Louisville" atmosphere.
1007 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204

10. Lilly's

1147 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204
Kathy Cary should rightly be considered the godmother of Louisville's local food scene, having led the effort to support Kentucky farmers and pushing organic vegetables, free-range beef, artisan cheeses and other good things since the 1980s. She's also managed to continually gain notice and acclaim for her cooking, as her many James Beard nominations will tell.
1147 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204

11. Pat's Steakhouse

2437 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, KY 40206
Pat's is such a stolid steakhouse that it only began taking credit cards last year. Trainers and track folk love the overly-Irish, old school establishment with its menu of steak, seafood, chicken and plenty of whiskey on hand.
2437 Brownsboro Rd
Louisville, KY 40206

12. Kingfish Restaurant

3021 River Rd, Louisville, KY
Started in 1948, this Louisville mini-chain used to rely on its paddlewheel boat-shaped restaurants, but now focuses on "making our locations on the Ohio River destination spots by adding miniature golf, entertainment and outside dining for Kentuckiana locals as well as visitors to the area." The Zorn Avenue location has the best view of the Ohio any "high volume seafood restaurant" could hope for.
3021 River Rd
Louisville, KY

13. Captain's Quarters

5700 Captains Quarters Rd, Prospect, KY 40059
Occupying a space between Harrod's Creek and the Ohio River, Captain's Quarters has long been a place for East End boaters to pull up and order beers and burgers at dockside. Now remodeled as a "Riverside Grille," the restaurant still has excellent views of the Ohio and waiters who will come to your boat.
5700 Captains Quarters Rd
Prospect, KY 40059