The first location opened on Taylorsville Road in 2013 and single-handedly raised the burger game for the Louisville restaurant scene. In October 2015, the second location opened on 7th Street near Museum Row in downtown Louisville. Bluegrass Restaurant Holdings, established in 2017, acquired both sites in 2018.
Bluegrass Restaurant Holdings Director of Operations and lifelong Louisvillian Nathan Eiden started his career with Mussel & Burger Bar as a server in early 2014. He was promoted to management the following year. Nathan was General Manager of the downtown location until 2018, when the new ownership tapped him to manage both restaurants. “We deliver quality ingredients through a chef-inspired menu in an approachable, familiar way.”
New Executive Chef Michael Strickland comes to Louisville from Naples, Florida. He owned and operated three restaurants there before accepting the opportunity to helm the Mussel & Burger Bar kitchens. Michael has family in Louisville and is a classically-trained chef, giving him some local background and multicultural perspectives.
At Mussel & Burger Bar, it's not uncommon to see a family dining next to a power lunch next to a couple on a first date. “Our goal is to deliver as much good food to as many people as we can,” says Nathan. “You don’t need to break the bank to experience great food.” Dishes are made from scratch with local ingredients whenever possible, along with other elements from around the world to add some international flavor. Mussel & Burger Bar is not about shortcuts.
The mussels are always fresh, and the accompanying grilled slices of local bakery artisan bread are delivered daily. Many would argue that dipping the crusty bread in the flavorful broths of the mussels is the highlight of the experience. Moules Basquaise are served with Spanish chorizo, olive oil, seafood sofrito broth, piquillo peppers, mild chili flakes, garlic, and onions. The secret to the Curry Cream mussels is a yellow Korean-style curry picked up weekly from an undisclosed local market. Red onions, lemongrass, garlic, and lemon zest balance the curry and make it sing.
Chefs prepare the grind for Food Network-famous burgers in-house daily with a mix of sirloin and brisket, adding browned butter to enhance the flavors of the quality beef. Michael Symon of Food Network’s Burgers, Brew & ‘Que, and Carnivorous’s Courtney Rada featured the Argentinian Burger on their shows. The Argentinian adds a patty of chorizo Argentino to the beef burger smothered with thick-cut provolone cheese, caramelized onions, and chimichurri sauce topped with mixed greens and Italian marinated oven-roasted tomatoes. The pommes frites are the perfect accompaniment.
Also highlighted on Carnivorous, the decadent Southern Bell burger is piled high “with fried green tomatoes, rémou- lade sauce, and pimento cheese on a pretzel bun.” Sweet potato fries with smoked pineapple dipping sauce are the side of choice for this and the Bacon Breakfast Burger. The B.B.B. is the ultimate brunch burger “with caramelized onions, aged white cheddar cheese, maple syrup aioli, thick-cut maple syrup glazed pork belly, and a fried farm egg.”
In addition to apps, mussels, and burgers, Mussel & Burger Bar offers salads, sandwiches, entrées, decadent desserts, and a Kids Menu. The Drink Menu boasts specialty cocktails, wine, bourbon, Irish whiskey, and beers, including local seasonal selections. Now back to full dine-in capacity, both locations made it through COVID with one new and one remodeled patio. According to Nathan, a third as-yet-undetermined Mussel & Burger Bar location is on the horizon! Bluegrass Restaurant Holdings is also currently partnering with Malibu Jack’s Indoor Theme Park on a fun center for adults. Jak’s Bar & Restaurant will open in the adjoining former Walmart Garden Center.