They say if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. With the unpredictability of the weather as winter gives way to spring, these local restaurants are a great place to gather - rain, snow, or shine - for the comfort foods we all know and love.
The two Louisville locations of Highland Morning are “Mom & Pop and proud of it!,” according to co-owner/operator Michael Coe. His father and cousin are business partners, and several more family members work in the restaurants. The original Highlands location has been open for ten years, St. Matthews for four. Michael was raised in St. Matthews, attended Trinity High School, and has worked in the restaurant industry most of his adult life. As evidenced by the decor, Highland Morning is “really big on local pride.” With regard to customers, “We are the diner of Louisville and part of the fabric of their lives.”
Highland Morning puts love into everything they do. The food is not only made from scratch; but the recipes actually have research and development behind them. For example, every element of the Biscuits ‘N’ Gravy was studied, the ingredients and preparations selected for authenticity. The recipe has earned them the people’s choice award in multiple Louisville Annual Gravy Cook Offs.
The breakfast menu has filling favorites such as the best-selling Baja Benedict: two eggs cooked to order atop Southwestern corn cakes, Spanish chorizo, sliced avocado, chipotle peppers, topped with fresh pico de gallo, avocado hollandaise sauce, and cilantro-lime crema. Or try the Biscuit and Gravy Omelette. (Michael cautions you may need a nap after that one!) If you fancy a sweeter start to your day, you can’t go wrong with Extra Large Buttermilk Pancakes or the Stuffed French Toast with fresh blueberries and strawberries.
For Spring 2020, Highland Morning’s menu is getting a revamp. A few items will be dropped and six or seven new ones added. Favorite comfort food items will remain, but according to Michael, “We also like to flex our culinary muscles and come up with flavor profiles that are a little more exciting.”
1416 Bardstown Road • (502) 365-3900
111 St. Matthews Ave • (502) 882-0203
The Southern home-cooking of Goose Creek Diner has been satisfying customers since owners Chris and Anne Mike opened it in October 2003. Chris first worked in the restaurant business at PoFolks in Bowling Green, Kentucky, while studying at WKU. In Louisville, he worked at Garrett’s Hickory Grille and for the foodservice company Sysco. As a restaurant owner, Chris is very hands-on; and the food from Goose Creek Diner is made from scratch. “We believe in high quality for a very reasonable price. With our good portions, you will never leave hungry.” Some comforting favorites are Country Fried Steak, Chicken Fried Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Mom’s Meatloaf, and their Goose Creek Hot Brown: sliced, smoked turkey served over toasted white bread and topped with homemade Mornay sauce, smoked bacon, and tomatoes.
Goose Creek Diner also offers weekly food and drink specials, pasta dishes, sandwiches, burgers, and plenty of seafood options during this Lenten season. For Friday lunch or dinner (or any day of the week) choose from Blackened Tuna Caesar Salad, Grilled Tuna Sandwich, Catfish Fillet or Po Boy, Salmon Croquette, Grilled Salmon Fillet, Blackened Salmon Alfredo, Beer Battered Fish and Chips, Fried Cod Sandwich, Fried Shrimp Platter, or their customizable Vegetable Plate of three or four sides. Over a dozen homestyle sides accompany lunch or dinner, including stewed tomatoes, fried okra, cinnamon-buttered apples, country style green beans, white beans and ham, and greens of the day.
The atmosphere at Goose Creek Diner is casual and comfortable, with friendly service. They have Sunday Brunch Buffet and catering as well, including whole pies in tempting flavors such as coconut, chocolate, apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate covered cherry, and caramel apple pecan.
2923 Goose Creek Rd • Louisville, KY 40241
gcdiner.com • (502) 339-8070\
With the success of Goose Creek Diner, Chris and Anne Mike decided “what’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander” and opened Gander: An American Grill. Open for 3½ years, Gander offers a relaxed atmosphere with familiar, satisfying dishes, but levels up with elegant decor and a full bar. Servers here are trained to “read the tables” so that their service style is tailored to each party, from laid-back to formal.
Gander’s most popular appetizer is Fried Green Tomatoes with Gander Sauce, followed by entrées like the Bourbon Pork Chop, Sweet Chili Salmon, Louisiana Shrimp and Grits with andouille sausage, and Prime Rib Tacos with tobacco onions, pico de gallo, and creamy horseradish. The Lunch Specials Menu features some exclusive menu items, such as Backyard BBQ Sliders with pimento cheese and tobacco onions or Strawberry Salmon Salad with field greens, candied pecans, goat cheese, egg, and balsamic vinaigrette. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Gander’s desserts: Butterscotch Blondie, Crème Brûlée, Lava Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, or Reese’s Pie.
While you’re there, be sure to make reservations for Monday Madness from 4pm-9:30pm, Saturday Brunch from 11am-2:30pm, or Sunday Brunch Buffet from 10am-2:30pm. Monday Madness offers the weekly Chef’s Special and a glass of house wine or bottle of domestic beer at a very special price. Saturday Brunch selections include Breakfast Tacos, Breakfast Hotbrown, Buttermilk Pancakes, and their Ultimate Egg Sandwich with two fried eggs, smoked bacon, fried green tomato, american cheese, and texas toast. On the Sunday Buffet, find comforting items like Biscuits and Gravy, Fried Chicken, Hot Brown Casserole, Eggs Benedict, Stuffed French Toast, and Made to Order Crêpes and Omelettes.
111 S English Station Rd • Louisville, KY 40245
ganderanamericangrill.com • (502) 915-8484
Perhaps no other cuisine in the world means comfort food to American palates quite like Italian. Kevin Grangier’s Grassa Gramma serves authentic northern and southern Italian fare that “meets the criteria and palate of locals”. Grassa Gramma translates to “plump grandma” and speaks to the familial love and the work that goes into Italian cooking, as exemplified by the matriarchal Italian grandmother, or Nonna. Grassa Gramma is the third of Kevin Grangier’s Louisville restaurants, following The Village Anchor and Le Moo. With a background in communications and marketing, Kevin enjoys the challenge of the restaurant business: the numerous touchpoints in delivering the dining experience and the immediacy with which impressions are made.
From the moment you enter Grassa Gramma, every element of decor is “captivating and meant to draw you in” with the feel of old world Italy. The art, tapestries, marble, and even the dishes are authentic Italian; and the bar features a salvaged 18th century Gothic church altarpiece. Servers receive extensive training in Italian food and wine. Instant familiarity is created at each table as the server greets with and joins in on a Chianti toast.
Chef Robert Rice, a ten year veteran of Wolfgang Puck kitchens, sources only the best ingredients: wild-caught fish, organic prime meats, locally-farmed produce. Kevin recommends a starter of Fritto Misto, aka calamari. Pasta Classic Ragu Bolognese (“our signature slow-stewed meat ragu with beef, veal, pork, pancetta, rigatoni & ricotta salata”) showcases the ultimate Italian Sunday Gravy. In a pizza mood? Try the coal-fired “Great Uncle Valentine'' with Clifty’s country ham, pickled jalapeños, dried cherries, ricotta, and rosemary. Expertly executed by Pastry Chef Shelby Notess, the Limoncello Torta: limoncello-soaked sponge cake with lemon curd, blackberry coulis, Italian meringue and house-made lemon macarons will send you to bed with sweet dreams.
2210 Holiday Manor Center • Louisville, KY 40222
grassagramma.com • (502) 333-9595
Opened as a delicatessen by Harvey Board in 1929, Cottage Inn at Eastern Parkway and Bradley Avenue serves American comfort food classics, homemade on the premises. Cottage Inn has been owned and operated for the past three years by Sam Zughbi, a New Jersey native who came to Kentucky 16 years ago. As just the seventh owner in over 90 years, Sam gave the interior a fresh, light renovation and redecorating without sacrificing the cozy, nostalgic vibe. He brought in new kitchen equipment and enhanced the menu with additional options including Chicken Fried Steak and seafood platters. While Sam is open to the chef’s choices and customer suggestions, he reassures regulars (some of whom have been around as long as 30-40 years) that the original recipes will remain.
The daily Dinner Specials are at the heart of Cottage Inn’s familiar, hearty comfort food: Turkey & Dressing, Chicken Fried Steak, Roast Beef, Fried Chicken, Hot Brown, Salmon Patties, and Fried or Baked Fish. The entire menu is faithfully executed by experienced cooks such as Head Chef Marty Atkins, who has been at the helm of the kitchen for over 30 years, and Jamie, who has been there for 15 years. According to Sam, “The style of cooking hasn’t changed. We have never compromised quality for profit margin.” For dessert, Cottage Inn serves cakes, cobblers, and pies made to order from Heitzman Traditional Bakery, which has been in operation in Louisville for over 120 years.
Sam Zughbi sees Cottage Inn as “a throwback to a better, simpler time” with an ambience and service that is “like having someone serve you in your own home.” His entire team views itself as family. “The family atmosphere translates to the customers. They really enjoy it.”
570 Eastern Pkwy • Louisville, KY 40217
cottageinnlouisville.com • (502) 637-4325
When celebrating a special occasion or for just a night out on the town, but comfort food is what you crave, La Chasse delivers on another level with fine dining and rustic, wood-fired European cuisine. Opened by Isaac Fox in the fall of 2015, their Southern European menu is “prepared with classic French technique and exuberant innovativeness” by Executive Chef Kristina Dyer. Isaac has traditionally worked front of house and behind the bar in his career at Jack Fry’s, the now-closed Vietnamese Basa Restaurant, as Beverage Director at Volare, and now as owner of LaChasse.
La Chasse is French for “the hunt” and holds threefold meaning to Isaac: 1) Wild game is found in the menu. 2) They believe in using organic, locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. 3) It symbolizes “the hunt” for perfection. La Chasse intends to deliver a comprehensive program with “quality and consistency of food, beverage, and service” at a high level of detail. The menu changes six times per year; their expansive specialty cocktail menu changes even more often. They boast an “esoteric, Southern French wine list” and a tea selection imported from Paris.
Comfort food at La Chasse begins with appetizers like Country Pâté and Fried Oysters. Hearty entrées include Kentucky Fried Rabbit with aged Manchego spaetzle, pork belly braised greens, Worcestershire reduction, and cherry-apricot mostarda, as well as a Cast Iron Seared Pork Chop, Braised Beef Short Ribs, and a vegetable Ravioli. Imagine the dining room, with the look of a French country inn by the fireside and service that feels like family. La Chasse recently added dinner service on Mondays from 5-9pm, are partnering with Angel’s Envy for a cocktail dinner on March 23, and have planned a Spanish Wine and Guitar Dinner on June 8, featuring Isaac Fox himself on classical guitar.
1359 Bardstown Rd • Louisville, KY 40204
lachasselouisville.com • (502) 822-3963