A.J.’s coffee, cream and gyros

A.J's

I have to give the credit to Lisa Hornung of Gannett’s Velocity weekly for blazing the trail to this funny little roadside spot in rural Southern Indiana with its sign that proudly proclaims “4,081 GYROS SOLD” (as of Oct. 18, 2005), but I headed on over to A.J.’s Coffee ‘n’ Cream as soon as I found out about it, and the short journey led to a memorable lunch.

Just a couple of miles from the landmark Polly’s Freeze (in fact, it’s at the same I-64 exit, going the other way), A.J’s bears a marked resemblance to Polly’s. It’s a small, free-standing white cottage just large enough to hold a kitchen and a couple of people working inside, with hand-written menus plastered all across the sides and front of the building. Walk up, call your order through the screen window, and hang around. Continue reading A.J.’s coffee, cream and gyros

What’s new around town

Our sibling print publication, Food & Dining Louisville Edition, will be on the streets with its Fall 2005 edition in a few weeks. Here’s a free preview, our quarterly report on openings, closings and changes on the local restaurant scene:

As we do every quarter, Food & Dining comes up with a quick, rough-and-ready diagnosis of the health of the local restaurant business by tracking recent restaurant openings and closings. This round, the doctor’s report is good, amid considerable activity: A total of 30 new restaurants have opened for business around the metro area, while only about 20 (including, unfortunately, a disproportionate share of mom-and-pop ethnic spots) closed their doors.
Continue reading What’s new around town

Westport General Store

Westport General Store

Look, don’t make the same stupid mistake that I did. For months I’ve been putting off an evening trip out to Westport General Store for no particularly good reason. “It’s too far,” I whined. “It’s way out in the country. Takes forever to get there.”

Yesterday afternoon, as we drew toward the close of one of those achingly beautiful early-autumn days with blue October skies as brilliant as a sapphire and foliage popping against it like a postcard with colors too bright to be real, we finally packed the car with provisions for a long trip and hit the road to Westport. Huh. It’s just 20 miles out US42 from the Watterson, a 25-minute trip out one of the most scenic highways in the region … and that’s before the leaves start to turn.

Less than a half-hour. One-sixth of the time you’d have to wait for a table at P.F. Chang’s on a Saturday night. And when we got there, we found a cozy spot in a pleasant setting, where proprietors Will and Laura Crawford and their crew provide a comfortably sophisticated bill of fare that would in no way be out of place in the fanciest bistro on Bardstown Road or Frankfort Avenue.
Continue reading Westport General Store

Breakfast!

Logos

Sometimes it seems like there’s no better way to start a long, lazy Saturday than a hearty breakfast. And when I talk about breakfast, I don’t mean brunch. Eggs, bacon and toast, not your quiche and salad bar. A steaming cup of strong coffee works for me, save the Champagne and the bloody Mary for later in the day, thanks.

I’ve been enjoying dining out for breakfast quite a bit lately, discovering a number of recent restaurant arrivals that either specialize in breakfast or at least make it a serious part of their bill of fare. Let’s celebrate this sunny Saturday with a quick look at a half-dozen of them.

I have to confess that I was a little shy at first about checking out Logos Coffee House (2250 Frankfort Ave, [502] 897-2272), pictured above.
Continue reading Breakfast!

Fine burgers: Kaelin’s and Primo

Cheeseburger

The humble cheeseburger quietly celebrated a landmark anniversary this year as Kaelin’s declared Wednesday, Oct. 12, the 70th anniversary of the day that restaurant founder Carl Kaelin allegedly had the bright idea of draping a slice of cheese atop a sizzling grilled burger, and a great new sandwich was born. (For a long time I doubted this story, figuring such a simple idea surely must have occurred to someone centuries earlier; but extensive Web searching suggests that Kaelin’s claim is true.)

By happy coincidence, I dropped by Kaelin’s that day to meet some buddies for lunch, not realizing that it was a red-letter day. In honor of its birthday, the cheeseburger platter was on sale for just $5.95, two bucks off its regular price. Naturally I ordered one, with onion “straws” and a cup of Kaelin’s chili on the side.
Continue reading Fine burgers: Kaelin’s and Primo

Impellizzeri Impellizzeri!
Now there are two

Benny Impellizzeri

UPDATE: After only a few months, Benny’s new place has gone out of business. We’re back to one Impellizzeri again, but happily, brother Tony recently celebrated his 11th anniversary in business at Vieux Carre. Ardent fans of the Impellizzeri style of pizza – and they are legion – have been bereft since early this year when Benny Impellizzeri abruptly shut down the familiar pizzeria on Bardstown road that his father had founded a generation ago.

The fact that Benny’s brother, Tony, had gone off on his own 10 years ago and was producing virtual clones of the family pie from the identical recipe failed to soothe them, because Tony’s new spot was way the hell out in the suburbs, a long trek through traffic for hungry Highlands residents.

Now there’s good news and bad news: The good news is that Benny is back in business, so the city now has the option, somewhat colored by sibling rivalry, of choosing either Benny’s version (“The Original Impellizzeri’s”) or Tony’s spot (“Tony Impellizzeri’s Italian”). Continue reading Impellizzeri Impellizzeri!
Now there are two

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