Greatest Kentucky Eats | 10 Kentucky Foods You Must Try

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Everyone knows that Kentucky is the birthplace of the world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. Colonel Harland Sanders launched the fast-food business in Corbin, Kentucky in 1930. But how much do you know about Kentucky cuisine?

Since the pressure-fried chicken seasoned with 11 herbs and spices was originally presented to the world, the franchise has grown rapidly, having 19,952 outlets worldwide as of 2015.

Nevertheless, KFC is not the only renowned meal to have originated in Kentucky. That is why this article will inform you of all you need to know about Kentucky’s cuisine and restaurant scene so that you can plan your vacation there!

Why Is Kentucky a World-Class Food Tourism Destination?

Kentucky’s geographical diversity indicates a diversified food source, which leads to a vast selection of options. Kentucky, like the rest of the United States, was established by immigrants from England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, and France. Everyone contributed their own customs, which ended up in Kentucky’s cuisine.

If you’re unsure, consult a local. Bratwurst with German potato salad, Benedictine spread, and the Hot Brown, an open sandwich established at the Brown Hotel, are all recognizable to all Louisvillians.

If you go east to Lexington and farther into the Appalachian Mountains, you will find a variety of veggies, apples, pork, spoonbread, chow chow, beer cheese, and poke sallet. Lastly, in Owensboro and Henderson, you’ll discover sorghum, burgoo, mutton barbecue, and a vinegar marinade popular among Western Kentucky residents.

Bourbon is used in a variety of foods in Kentucky, including steaks, honey, syrup, and confectionery, such as bourbon balls, bread pudding, and egg nog. Thus, if there’s a way to include bourbon into a dish, Kentucky cooks will find it. And it will be delectable.

Apart from small-town festivals, church picnics, particularly Catholic picnics in Owensboro and Louisville, are popular in Kentucky. The two cities were founded by Catholic immigrants from various parts of the country.

Cities in Kentucky have experienced a significant increase in local eateries and culinary culture during the last 20 years. Although Louisville is routinely listed as a top gourmet city, Lexington, Covington, Bowling Green, Richmond, and Paducah all have a lot to offer.

Riverside restaurants in Covington and Newport provide a variety of cuisines, with a focus on German meals and beer. Between Lexington and Frankfort, the restaurants will have you thinking you’re still in the major metropolis.

Several excellent and unusual cuisines are prepared by Kentuckians of all backgrounds in every area of Kentucky. Generations of Kentuckians struggling to feed their families have left behind a rich culinary legacy.

Top Kentucky Restaurants to Visit

Whether you want the Kentucky staples like hot browns, fried chicken, Derby pie, and Benedictine, or something unique and memorable, Kentucky’s restaurants have you covered.

These are six of my favorite Kentucky eateries that should be visited on a visit to the state.

Anchorage in the Village

Anchorage, 502-708-185011507 Park Rd.

The Village Anchor in Anchorage, Kentucky, is one of the state’s top upmarket restaurants, serving an authentic and delectable southern-inspired food.

Sweet potato fries with marshmallow cream dipping sauce are one of my faves. The Brussels sprout salad with egg and macadamia nuts is a healthier option.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan Options, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American, Bar

Zeggz Incredible Eggs

Louisville, 502-742-62922400 Lime Kiln Ln. Suite B

Zeggz Incredible Eggs is one of Kentucky’s top breakfast and brunch spots, serving up delectable meals like picoso omelets as well as sweet treats like buttermilk pancakes.

  • Special Diets: Gluten-Free Options and Vegetarian Friendly
  • Cuisines: American, Healthy

Nooosh Noosh

Brownsboro Ctr., Louisville 502-205-28884816

Noosh Nosh is a cool, laid-back spot. It boasts a vibrant environment and wonderful cuisine, such as salmon bruschetta, fried Brussels sprouts, and scrumptious creamy mushroom soup, among many other outstanding meals and sides.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American, Bar, Pizza

Mike Linnigs Bistro

Louisville, 502-937-98889308 Cane Run Rd.

Many would agree that Mike Linnigs Restaurant has been delivering the greatest seafood since 1925. This vintage Kentucky diner’s fish sandwich with tartar sauce is a favorite.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: American, Bar, Seafood

Tapas Mojitos

Holiday Manor Ctr., Louisville, 502-425-09492231

Mojito is one of Louisville’s most popular restaurants due to its large choice of tasty tapas, comparable to those found in Barcelona. The stuffed date and fish tacos are two well-known examples. The Heirloom salad and the egg sandwich aren’t tapas, but they’re just as tasty.

  • Special Diets: Vegetarian-Friendly, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Options
  • Cuisines: Latin, Spanish, Cuban


Covington, 859-815-80271132 Lee St.

Covington, Kentucky is a lovely town in Northern Kentucky, located over the river from Cincinnati. MainStrasse Village is a network of streets dotted with German restaurants, bars, and shops that will transport you to the late 1800s.

A visit to MainStrasse Village would be completed without a stop to Wunderbar, a terrific tavern serving craft beer and classic German fare like as sausage, beer cheese, and corned beef hash. If you’re hungry, the gigantic pretzel is a must-try.

Top Kentucky Meals to Taste When You Visit

The state is home to some of the country’s most popular cuisine, as well as a world-famous horse race. Therefore, if you’re going to Kentucky for the Derby, these are the 10 most important dishes to try.

Chocolate Walnut Pie for the Kentucky Derby

The legendary Kentucky Derby pie is creamy and luscious. Kerns Kitchen currently makes the pie exclusively and has even trademarked it.

Its recipe is a closely guarded secret, but this beloved Kentucky delicacy is made with chocolate, chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts. This dessert gets a local twist thanks to a touch of bourbon. In the 1950s, Walter and Leaudras Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, made the first Derby pie.

Spread or dip with Kentucky Benedictine

Benedictine is another well-known and tasty cuisine from Louisville, Kentucky. Jennie Benedict, a caterer and housekeeping editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal, designed the spread.

Cucumber juice and cream cheese, onion juice, and a few drops of green food coloring are often used to make the dip. Some variations include a little quantity of mayonnaise. It makes a fantastic party starter, but you can also chill it and spread it over sandwiches.

Ham from the country

Kentucky produces the most delicate and flavorful American ham. Country ham, which is covered in sugar and salt and aged, is unique to the state. It is best eaten like prosciutto would be, thinly sliced and uncomplicated.

Bourbon Bread Pudding in Kentucky

The Beaumont Hotel in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, provided their wonderful bread pudding. According to Nick Sundberg, the inn’s chef at the time, bread pudding was a popular Sunday brunch dish. Of course, you may serve the dessert with a whiskey sauce or a non-alcoholic sauce, but the bourbon adds a truly Kentucky flavor.

Oysters in Rolls

This distinctive Louisville bar snack is constructed of oysters that have been breaded and deep-fried till the size of a ball.

This delicious dish was made in the late 1800s by Italian immigrant Phillip Mazzoni and his siblings and was served at Mazzonis Café until it closed in 2008 after 125 years in business. Nonetheless, rolled oysters are still available at many Louisville restaurants.

Balls of Bourbon

Whisky is manufactured all around the globe, but Kentucky produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. These creamy, slightly alcoholic bourbon balls are always a favorite, and they make an excellent Christmas treat.

They’re comparable to rum balls, but with a distinct Kentucky flavor.


There doesn’t seem to be a definitive explanation as to how this stew got its name. Some believe it’s from the French, as in bourguignon, while others think it’s called from an oats porridge eaten by British seamen as early as 1700.

Although the term “burgoo” was first appeared in literature in 1830, it was not identified with Kentucky until 1941. Burgoo has now become a statewide tradition at political rallies, potlucks, and picnics.

Although early burgoos were cooked with different meats or whatever was available, now days, the standard pot of burgoo comprises beef and fowl and a large range of vegetables.

Beer and cheese

There are many restaurants that offer beer cheese, but nothing beats true Kentucky beer cheese. It’s thick, cheesy, and spicy, and it’ll delight your taste buds like nothing else you’ve ever had.

Cheddar cheese, lager, garlic, and spices are the most popular ingredients. It’s generally eaten as a spread with celery sticks, carrots, or saltine crackers, but it’s also wonderful with pretzels or chips.

Sandwich with Spicy Brown Sauce

Established in 1926, the hot brown sandwich has long been a Kentucky institution. Fred K. Schmidt, a chef at Louisville’s Brown Hotel, created this dish.

On top of toasted bread, a few layers of turkey, sliced tomatoes, a cheese sauce, and bacon are assembled. Then it’s roasted in the oven until it’s the right combination of gooey and crispy.

Cake with Kentucky Butter

The Kentucky butter cake is so wonderful, moist, and rich that it doesn’t need any further toppings. This moist buttermilk cake is made in a Bundt or cake pan.

After baking, the cake is pierced all over with a stick, and a syrupy butter sauce is poured over it to give moisture and even more butter taste.

Kentucky Food Conclusion

Kentucky’s culinary sector is continually expanding, but certain classics just cannot be matched.

These are the sites you should not miss on your next vacation to Kentucky. Furthermore, try the meals and recipes I described before; these are unquestionably gastronomic marvels of Kentucky.

Which of these Kentucky specialties is your favorite? Please let me know in the comments!

Which of these traditional Kentucky cuisines do you want to taste the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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