All posts by Robin Garr

Alley Cat Cafe has no cats, just great cheap eats

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

“We do not have cats,” a sign in the front window of Alley Cat Cafe’s little dining room warns, perhaps to ward off disappointment from visitors expecting to delight in a cat cafe with cute kittens jumping on the tables.

There are, in fact, a few ceramic cats on a tchotchke shelf in a corner. But Alley Cat Cafe is best known as a destination for delicious, affordable breakfast and lunch, attracting crowds on Middletown’s old Main Street for 21 years. Continue reading Alley Cat Cafe has no cats, just great cheap eats

It’s not your grandma’s church supper when Chef Lamas is in the house

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Chef Anthony Lamas wrapped a towel around the handle of a screeching hot black iron skillet, swung around and showed off a dozen beautifully seared fresh-caught dry scallops the size of baseballs to an eager crowd.

“This is how you do it,” he said with a smile. “Dry scallops, never stored in liquid. Season them, slap them in a dry skillet as hot as you can get it, and don’t turn them until they come loose.” Continue reading It’s not your grandma’s church supper when Chef Lamas is in the house

Yen for enchiladas lures us to La Cocina de Mama

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

I hate to say that my food cravings are easily influenced what I see and hear. It’s true, though. All it takes is a tempting phrase in a cooking article or an attractive food photo in a culinary video, and I’ve got to have it right now.

This time it was The New York Times that sent me out looking for Mexican food thanks to a lyrical dissertation, “All Enchiladas Are Perfect. But These Are My Favorite,” in the April 27 edition.

Oh! Yes! I had to have enchiladas, and I needed them right now. I’d been meaning to check La Cocina de Mamá for quite a while, anyway. “Mom’s Cooking,” what could be more lovable than that? Continue reading Yen for enchiladas lures us to La Cocina de Mama

Inflation poses tough pricing choices for chefs and owners

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Dan McMahon sat with a Sharpie and an extra copy of his restaurant’s trifold menu and pondered a difficult decision.

McMahon, general manager of Danny Mac’s Pizza in the Mellwood Art Center, knew he would have to raise prices. With grocery prices rising fast, gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon locally, and inflation the United States hitting the highest levels seen in decades, that was a done deal.

“We just went through all of our invoices and found out that lots of our business supplies went up about 20 percent in the last month,” he said. “All food and packing supplies went up. Twenty percent can put you out of business fast if you don’t change your prices.” Continue reading Inflation poses tough pricing choices for chefs and owners

Goodfellas makes us an offer we can’t refuse

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

Let’s welcome Goodfellas Pizzeria to Louisville! The first local outlet of a small but quickly growing Lexington-based chain, this corner spot in the Baxter Apartments at Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue joins sibling eateries in Indianapolis and the Cincinnati area.

The pizza is good, the meatballs impressive, and the scene looks like a spot in New York City’s Little Italy. Well, a little bit, anyway. Continue reading Goodfellas makes us an offer we can’t refuse

Some like it hot: Our favorite fiery fare

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

The hottest, fieriest, most palate-scorching dish I ever ate at a local restaurant was not Indian, nor any other cuisine traditionally associated with culinary fire.. Nope. It was a down-home entree – a simple grilled cheese sandwich – served up at the currently closed New Albany branch of Toast on Market.

Yeah, it was a chipotle grilled cheese sandwich, but still. As I wrote in my 2014 review, I didn’t quite expect flames to come shooting out my mouth while my endorphins took off in a wild and crazy rush around my brain. Wooee! That sandwich is HOT!” Continue reading Some like it hot: Our favorite fiery fare

Big Bad Breakfast brings another morning option

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

After Lynn’s Paradise Cafe closed abruptly in 2013, it left a vacant building and a crowd of nearby merchants crying over the loss of a neighborhood commercial anchor.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint filled the space for a couple of years, but soon became a victim of the pandemic.

It took another year for the latest occupant to fill the space again. Bad Breakfast looks like a good fit, though. Like Lynn’s, the new entry – first Kentucky franchise of a small but growing chain based in Oxford, Mississippi – offers hearty breakfast and lunch dishes in a down-home setting. Continue reading Big Bad Breakfast brings another morning option

Struggling restaurants fight for federal fund boost

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to small businesses, and that certainly includes local restaurants and food-service ventures. Just ask Chase Barmore, who had spent more than nine years building his Lifebar smoothie bar concept.

Barmore’s healthy, hand-crafted all-organic smoothies had earned Life Bar deserved popularity through sales in three regional Rainbow Blossom stores, and business was looking better … until Covid came. Continue reading Struggling restaurants fight for federal fund boost

VinBun Vietnamese introduces us to bún and more

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

We’ve learned to love Vietnamese food. We’re big fans of pho, and we’ve learned to call it “phuh” when we order it.

Now let’s warm up to Vietnam’s other iconic dish, bún, which rhymes with “boon.” Want to get to know bún? You can’t go wrong by trekking out to the metro’s newest Vietnamese eatery, Vin Bun in Middletown, where the name of the dish is part of the restaurant’s moniker! Continue reading VinBun Vietnamese introduces us to bún and more

Lessons from history for this restaurant economy

By Robin Garr
LouisvilleHotBytes.com

If you’ve been fretting about high gasoline prices and skyrocketing grocery costs lately, you are certainly not alone.

And if you own a restaurant or work in one, already wrestling with well-publicized supply chain and staffing issues driven by the pandemic, you’re looking down the barrel of scary times ahead as inflation and a possible economic recession join the mix. Continue reading Lessons from history for this restaurant economy