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Red Hog
Bill Addison

The 11 Hottest New Restaurants in Louisville

Find everything from sustainable meats to craveworthy vegan junk food in Kentucky’s Derby City

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Red Hog
| Bill Addison

Today, Eater returns to Louisville, Kentucky, to spotlight 11 restaurants that have been heating up the Derby City dining and drinking scenes. And once again, Eater contributor and Louisville dining expert Steve Hacker has offered up his picks for the most talked-about spots of the past year.

Over the last 12 months, Louisville locals have been flocking to a combination butcher shop-restaurant (Red Hog), a vegan cafe that takes its inspiration from fast food (Morels Cafe), and more than one new pizza destination (MozzaPi, Butchertown Pizza Hall).

Without further ado — and in geographic order — the Eater Heatmap to Louisville.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pho Ba Luu

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1019 E Main St
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 384-6822
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Owners Jessica Mach and Stewart Davis are serving up some pretty tasty Vietnamese food out of a renovated Butchertown mechanic shop that retains its industrial feel with stripped-to-cinderblock walls and exposed pipes. Classics star on the menu, including banh mi with sandwich bread baked in-house and pho with meat-rich broth that’s cooked for more than 12 hours. There are also vegetarian options.

2. Morels Cafe

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619 Baxter Ave
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 409-5916
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Gone vegan but completely miss junk food? Morels Cafe may be the place for you. At Morels, Stanley Chase, maestro of the Louisville-based Vegan Jerky Company, offers “vegan food that doesn’t suck.” In this case, “not sucking” means manufacturing soy, seitan, and other alternative-meat versions of fast-food classics, like the pulled “pork” sliders, which won Chase an award when Morels was just a food truck; the Egg McBluffin; and the Farby — an improbably beefy, cheesy sandwich on a soft toasted onion roll that does an amazing impression of an Arby’s Beef ’n Cheddar — the side of curly fries included.

3. Butchertown Pizza Hall

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1301 Story Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 384-8528
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Papalinos Pizza founder Allan Rosenberg returns to his roots with his second pizza place after dabbling in a variety of other cuisines with Anoosh Bistro, Cena, Fontleroy’s, and Citizen 7. The Hall, built inside an old cafeteria space, is determinedly downscale, promising “great pizza, shi**y beer.” (There’s also a full bar and some non-shi**y beer.) Full pies and pizza by the slice are on the menu, joined by garlic knots, wings, hoagies, and salads. There’s also an arcade room with a shuffleboard table and video games, as well as plans for live music.

4. Red Herring

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1757 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 907-3800
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A dramatic $1 million renovation of the former Hilltop Theater building has produced multiple spaces in which to enjoy a list of 100 cocktails along with some tasty snacks and breakfast. Spend some time on the mezzanine or patio with a drink and some exceptional fried chicken skins, or people watch at the bar while working your way through the array of options. Then, return in the morning for a kolache and “coffee-tail” hair of the dog. Whatever your mood, and practically whatever the time, Red Herring has you covered.

1327 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 459-7878
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Rocco Cadolini, who has family ties to Louisville, closed his semi-eponymous restaurant in New York and opened a restaurant with the same name in a space on Bardstown Road. Roc offers a broad menu of Italian classics, including burrata fresca, fried calamari, and zucchini, plus a selection of house-made pastas, Aperol spritzes, panini, branzino, and more. The engaging chef Cadolini can often be found prowling the tables, charming patrons, and encouraging their enjoyment.

Roc

6. La Chasse

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1359 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204
(502) 822-3963
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La Chasse is a few years old now, but has been garnering new buzz since chef Andrew Welenken took over the helm of the sprawling restaurant on Bardstown Road this year. Taking his cues from la chasse (the hunt), Welenken pairs wild boar with Benton’s bacon and complements fried rabbit with Weisenberger grits and sauce financiere. There are also cocktails and a large selection of European varietals in the inviting space. Try not to miss the crispy sweetbreads with wild game hash.

7. Fork & Barrel

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2244 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 907-3675
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When veteran Louisville chef Geoffrey Heyde opened Fork & Barrel in April, he brought on a team of other local industry stalwarts, including chef Nick Sullivan, who lent his years of experience at Edward Lee’s award-winning 610 Magnolia and the legendary Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton to help design a menu focused on American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Lump crab cakes with sauce gribiche, charred octopus with Newsom’s country ham, and a Kentucky mai tai are only a few of the items on offer.

8. Chick’n & Mi

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2319 Brownsboro Rd
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 890-5731
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Raw wood, pale walls, and Edison bulbs adorn this small restaurant opened by husband-and-wife team Jason and Aenith McCollum. The relaxed and casual atmosphere makes Chik’n & Mi a great place to enjoy the pair’s “Asian-inspired comfort food,” which includes ramen, fried chicken, craft cocktails, and, lately, a Sunday brunch featuring fried chicken biscuits with sweet and spicy jaew bong hollandaise.

9. Red Hog

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2622 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 384-0795
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Just as they set the standard for baguettes, croissants, and other breads at Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe eight blocks away, owners Bob Hancock and Kit Garrett raise the bar for sustainable, humane meats at Red Hog, which does double duty as both a butcher shop and restaurant. The rotating menu appears on a blackboard near the open kitchen, and there’s a full bar with craft cocktails inside the artfully restored gas station off Frankfort Avenue. During daytime hours, the butcher shop offers hot and cold sandwiches along with cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and house-made charcuterie. Plus, Eater Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is a fan.

Bill Addison

10. MozzaPi

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12102 La Grange Rd
Louisville, KY 40223
(502) 494-7012
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In Anchorage, not far from the magnificent estate of one of America’s pizza magnates, Tom Edwards uses flour he mills himself (in a building he built himself) to make some amazing pizza and baked goods. Under the name Louismill, Edwards has been supplying non-GMO flour and bread to Louisville since 2015, and now he’s moved and expanded his operation to offer pizza along with breads, breakfast, and hospitality at MozzaPi. The aforementioned pizza magnate insists that better ingredients make better pizza — and MozzaPi is proving him right.

11. Portage House

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117 E Riverside Dr
Clarksville, IN 47129
(812) 725-0435
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New bridges, including an awesome pedestrian crossing, have made travel to Louisville’s Sunny Side (Southern Indiana, for those who don’t know the slogan) much easier. Portage House offers an excellent view of the Louisville skyline from its 1890s Jeffersonville home, along with an assortment of house cocktails and some delicious food. If it’s on offer, be sure to order the Indiana pork-chop sandwich, a Hoosier staple turned up to 11.

1. Pho Ba Luu

1019 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40206

Owners Jessica Mach and Stewart Davis are serving up some pretty tasty Vietnamese food out of a renovated Butchertown mechanic shop that retains its industrial feel with stripped-to-cinderblock walls and exposed pipes. Classics star on the menu, including banh mi with sandwich bread baked in-house and pho with meat-rich broth that’s cooked for more than 12 hours. There are also vegetarian options.

1019 E Main St
Louisville, KY 40206

2. Morels Cafe

619 Baxter Ave, Louisville, KY 40204

Gone vegan but completely miss junk food? Morels Cafe may be the place for you. At Morels, Stanley Chase, maestro of the Louisville-based Vegan Jerky Company, offers “vegan food that doesn’t suck.” In this case, “not sucking” means manufacturing soy, seitan, and other alternative-meat versions of fast-food classics, like the pulled “pork” sliders, which won Chase an award when Morels was just a food truck; the Egg McBluffin; and the Farby — an improbably beefy, cheesy sandwich on a soft toasted onion roll that does an amazing impression of an Arby’s Beef ’n Cheddar — the side of curly fries included.

619 Baxter Ave
Louisville, KY 40204

3. Butchertown Pizza Hall

1301 Story Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

Papalinos Pizza founder Allan Rosenberg returns to his roots with his second pizza place after dabbling in a variety of other cuisines with Anoosh Bistro, Cena, Fontleroy’s, and Citizen 7. The Hall, built inside an old cafeteria space, is determinedly downscale, promising “great pizza, shi**y beer.” (There’s also a full bar and some non-shi**y beer.) Full pies and pizza by the slice are on the menu, joined by garlic knots, wings, hoagies, and salads. There’s also an arcade room with a shuffleboard table and video games, as well as plans for live music.

1301 Story Ave
Louisville, KY 40206

4. Red Herring

1757 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

A dramatic $1 million renovation of the former Hilltop Theater building has produced multiple spaces in which to enjoy a list of 100 cocktails along with some tasty snacks and breakfast. Spend some time on the mezzanine or patio with a drink and some exceptional fried chicken skins, or people watch at the bar while working your way through the array of options. Then, return in the morning for a kolache and “coffee-tail” hair of the dog. Whatever your mood, and practically whatever the time, Red Herring has you covered.

1757 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206

5. Roc

1327 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204
Roc

Rocco Cadolini, who has family ties to Louisville, closed his semi-eponymous restaurant in New York and opened a restaurant with the same name in a space on Bardstown Road. Roc offers a broad menu of Italian classics, including burrata fresca, fried calamari, and zucchini, plus a selection of house-made pastas, Aperol spritzes, panini, branzino, and more. The engaging chef Cadolini can often be found prowling the tables, charming patrons, and encouraging their enjoyment.

1327 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204

6. La Chasse

1359 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204

La Chasse is a few years old now, but has been garnering new buzz since chef Andrew Welenken took over the helm of the sprawling restaurant on Bardstown Road this year. Taking his cues from la chasse (the hunt), Welenken pairs wild boar with Benton’s bacon and complements fried rabbit with Weisenberger grits and sauce financiere. There are also cocktails and a large selection of European varietals in the inviting space. Try not to miss the crispy sweetbreads with wild game hash.

1359 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, KY 40204

7. Fork & Barrel

2244 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

When veteran Louisville chef Geoffrey Heyde opened Fork & Barrel in April, he brought on a team of other local industry stalwarts, including chef Nick Sullivan, who lent his years of experience at Edward Lee’s award-winning 610 Magnolia and the legendary Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton to help design a menu focused on American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Lump crab cakes with sauce gribiche, charred octopus with Newsom’s country ham, and a Kentucky mai tai are only a few of the items on offer.

2244 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206

8. Chick’n & Mi

2319 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, KY 40206

Raw wood, pale walls, and Edison bulbs adorn this small restaurant opened by husband-and-wife team Jason and Aenith McCollum. The relaxed and casual atmosphere makes Chik’n & Mi a great place to enjoy the pair’s “Asian-inspired comfort food,” which includes ramen, fried chicken, craft cocktails, and, lately, a Sunday brunch featuring fried chicken biscuits with sweet and spicy jaew bong hollandaise.

2319 Brownsboro Rd
Louisville, KY 40206

9. Red Hog

2622 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206
Bill Addison

Just as they set the standard for baguettes, croissants, and other breads at Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe eight blocks away, owners Bob Hancock and Kit Garrett raise the bar for sustainable, humane meats at Red Hog, which does double duty as both a butcher shop and restaurant. The rotating menu appears on a blackboard near the open kitchen, and there’s a full bar with craft cocktails inside the artfully restored gas station off Frankfort Avenue. During daytime hours, the butcher shop offers hot and cold sandwiches along with cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and house-made charcuterie. Plus, Eater Restaurant Editor Bill Addison is a fan.

2622 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206

10. MozzaPi

12102 La Grange Rd, Louisville, KY 40223

In Anchorage, not far from the magnificent estate of one of America’s pizza magnates, Tom Edwards uses flour he mills himself (in a building he built himself) to make some amazing pizza and baked goods. Under the name Louismill, Edwards has been supplying non-GMO flour and bread to Louisville since 2015, and now he’s moved and expanded his operation to offer pizza along with breads, breakfast, and hospitality at MozzaPi. The aforementioned pizza magnate insists that better ingredients make better pizza — and MozzaPi is proving him right.

12102 La Grange Rd
Louisville, KY 40223

11. Portage House

117 E Riverside Dr, Clarksville, IN 47129

New bridges, including an awesome pedestrian crossing, have made travel to Louisville’s Sunny Side (Southern Indiana, for those who don’t know the slogan) much easier. Portage House offers an excellent view of the Louisville skyline from its 1890s Jeffersonville home, along with an assortment of house cocktails and some delicious food. If it’s on offer, be sure to order the Indiana pork-chop sandwich, a Hoosier staple turned up to 11.

117 E Riverside Dr
Clarksville, IN 47129

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