Restaurant: North End Café, Louisville, Kentucky
The North End Café is a place I’ve been wanting to get friends to for years now. No, seriously. My first experience there was with co-workers, as it was the place they chose to take me for my farewell lunch on my last day in the office after a layoff. I was thrilled with the company and totally blown away by the food.
I mentioned the place countless times to my roommate and other visiting friends, but the suggestion often fell to the wayside and another restaurant was chosen. But, I was invited to a holiday reception for Louisville’s Colon Cancer Research Project, which happened to be hosted at the North End Café. My roommate accompanied me to the event and was quite excited about the food they offered as appetizers and as part of the meal. She was so enamored that she suggested we dine there for lunch after my upcoming race. And that…is exactly what we did.
A little bit of history on this fantastic dining spot. The North End Café is located on Historic Frankfort Avenue and is considered one of Louisville’s premier restaurants. It’s no secret as to why. The ambiance is fun. In fact, the actual restaurant itself decorated with artwork from Louisville’s own up-and-coming artists. It’s a fun, quirky, yet sophisticated setting. They feature a changing menu, as it is based on what is fresh and in season. And they take traditional items and put a health conscious spin on each dish. Even more exciting is that the restaurant makes a point of buying products from local growers, as well as growing their own fresh vegetables and fresh herbs in their own multi-acre garden in Simpsonville, Kentucky. Not only is their menu versatile, they offer organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
What finally won my roommate over in feasting at this restaurant was what she sampled at the reception. But she was truly won over when we ate lunch there. We only had a short 10 minute wait. I love seeing how popular restaurants are. We hit here right at the lunch hour on a Saturday, so a 10 minute wait was nothing out of the norm. We were seated promptly and handed menus to look over. I inquired with our waitress about gluten-free options and she brought me out a sheet of paper with all their gluten-free foods and how to make certain dishes gluten-free. Again, how I wish more restaurants would do this sort of thing.
My roommate settled on the Ribeye Sandwich ($8.99) and I opted for the Garden Burger ($7.99). And yes, this vegetarian patty is completely gluten-free. (Cue the sound of angels singing now!). I, naturally, ordered it without the bread, with the side of fries. The actual sandwich itself is served with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and guacamole.
We waited for awhile, taking in the local art and the atmosphere (it was alive and buzzing all around us) of the restaurant until our food arrived. I have to say, I loved the look of the food. So, this definitely boded well for the taste. As I wasn’t disappointed on my previous experience, I couldn’t wait to dig in.
So, I sliced up my Garden Burger, dipped my fork into some guacamole, and took my first bite. The burger was done to perfection. A lot of time, vegetarian burgers get dried out by cooking time, but this was far from dry. The cheese was a nice touch and added a perfect hint of flavor to the patty. All the vegetables were fresh, crisp, and ripe. Nothing was soggy, mushy, or not cooked right. The guacamole was creamy and delicious. It had just the right hint of sweetness to it and really complimented the other flavors in the Garden Burger. I was more than happy with my lunch choice. And then…there were the fries. These fries, obviously hand cut, were cooked to perfection. Crispy on the outside with a soft center. Oh. My. God. Fries are one of my favorite things in the world and a lot of times, I can’t get them at restaurants due to a shared frier. But at the North End Café, they are on the gluten-free menu. So, yes…I loved being able to indulge and enjoy them!
I polished off my plate and my roommate did the same with hers. We had an amazing meal, within great surroundings, and had great conversation.
The North End Café is a great place to eat. I highly recommend going there and giving their food a try. No one I know has been disappointed yet. And, aside from local eats, they serve up a healthier plate to their patrons. What’s not to love about that? Good, old-fashioned comfort food with a healthy twist. I can get on board with that.
I can’t wait to get back to the North End Café and try something else. It’s delicious. It’s local. It’s one of my highlight dining experiences. If you live in or around Louisville, Kentucky, or might be traveling through, stop in for some food. You’ll be won over too. I guarantee it.