A brewery catering to the beer lovers all over Louisville, Bluegrass Brewing Co. reps itself as “Louisville’s Original Brewery” having launched the first of the brewery’s three locations in St. Matthews in 1993. Today it has three locations, including a tap room downtown where people congregate right across the street from the KFC Yum! Center and other big venues to have a drink after a show or a performance. It’s a pleasant experience, and the beers aren’t too bad.
Right along the Whiskey Row area of downtown Louisville, Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar is a modern take on a southern favorite — big barbecue. With an enormous oyster bar greeting you as you walk in, and sandwiches so big that they’re served on metal cookie sheets, this bar is larger than life. Over-the-top food is always easy to like, and seeing how this spot has quickly established itself as a southern food destination in the middle of the city.
A newer Asian Fusion restaurant opened off Wilmington Pike in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Sky Asian Cuisine focuses heavily on two things — sushi and noodles, both primarily Japanese specialties. But the restaurant’s menu spans a number of other East Asian cuisines from Chinese meat dishes to pad Thai. It’s designed to be a more formal sit-down kind of restaurant with its low-lit interior giving wide view to the sushi bar and good collection of drinks and cocktails bringing people out into the night. I like this place for its refined feel as a romantic go-to.
A local watering hole in Xenia, near Dayton, Nick’s Restaurant is a colorful little bar with a low-lit interior, a massive patio and equally massive food portions to match. While the stage brings music to the spot and drinks bring the locals out at all hours, its the food that really drives people in from out of town. Crowd-pleasing pub grub has been the staple here for years, and the restaurant’s wings have won award after award at local contests and wing festivals. Odds are, that’s one of the first things that will bring the place to your attention, and I will say that these wings are worth a try.
South Dayton has a lot of different kinds of ethnic food, if you know where to look. While it doesn’t make a big footprint, India Chaat Cafe has plenty of options for good Indian food. Set up in 2006 primarily as a carry-out spot, it has attained a significant following, both with the Indian-American community in southwest Ohio, and with those many people curious about a new style of food. This spot makes food fast and does a pretty decent job of it.
“Not your average spots restaurant,” TJ Chumps is a family-friendly sports bar concept serving the Dayton area with four locations in its suburbs. Each location features a wide interior friendly to families and groups, with plenty of TVs for sports of all kinds, as well as a large patio for summer months. It’s a spot with Americana favorites; burgers, sandwiches, fried comfort foods and plenty of brews to be tried. The prices are good, and if what you’re up for is a good time with friends, this place will be worth the trip.
A restaurant that serves the south Dayton suburb of Kettering, Ajanta India Restaurant is the local eatery if you’re craving Indian cuisine. Offering a wide variety of dishes from across numerous styles of Indian cooking, this spot is best known for its buffet for lunch and dinner, as well as the full-service high-quality dishes. This place serves only Indian food, and a good many of the dishes you try here can’t be found anywhere else. This spot is a memorable one.
A new concept in finer burgers, Flip Side specializes in nicer burgers, milkshakes and craft beer. It’s a concept borne out of Ohio and totes Ohio-raised, grass-fed beef. With a minimalist concept inside and a menu that espouses quality, it’s here to challenge the finer burger standard with a localized take. All in all, the food and experience aren’t too bad, but the spot is a bit pricier. It’s the cost to be paid for good local cuisine.
Amid the many restaurants and nightlife spots you can find in downtown Louisville’s “Fourth Street Live” section, you will spot this higher-scale restaurant specializing in Neopolitan pizzas and Italian kinds. Marketed with an artisan food focus and featuring an ornate bar evoking something from Rome, the pizza spot is part of a larger push to move the well-known downtown nightlife area into the nicer restaurant realm as well. While the bar gives an atmosphere that is definitely different from what can be found nearby, the pizzas can be hit and miss.