Category Archives: Northeast Metro

Thai Cafe: Not Quite “Consummate,” But Fun

Well, hey now. What’s this? A new restaurant reviewer at The Courier-Journal? How about that! This sort of thing fascinates me because I used to occupy that pulpit myself, as dining critic for the late, great Louisville Times (and, after its death, The CJ) until I left the building in 1990.
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Brunch at the Bristol: The Tradition Endures

Brunch … again? Well, sure! Why not? Brunch, after all, is perhaps the most civilized of meals, a lavish repast shared with friends or family in the low-pressure environment of a favorite setting.

And when better than on those lazy, hazy days of summer Sunday afternoons. Or, now that I think of it, even summer mornings, now that Louisville has joined our Southern Indiana neighbors in permitting the sale of adult beverages with your Sunday meal beginning as early as 10 a.m. Continue reading Brunch at the Bristol: The Tradition Endures

Tea Station’s simple pleasures warm the heart and tummy

We rolled up to our destination in the gathering darkness, and I found a parking spot at the curb out front. I turned, looked up, and … wow! This looks just like our old neighborhood in New York City! It’s a sturdy, three-story block of brick, not brownstone — visualize Queens, not Greenwich Village — with cozy lights in apartment windows on the upper floors, and busy storefronts opening on the street: a meat market, an Italian gelato shop and a family-run Chinese eatery.
Continue reading Tea Station’s simple pleasures warm the heart and tummy

Where will we go for brunch now that Lynn’s is closed?

At least a few million megabytes of social media and a wastebasket full of old-media newsprint have surely been spilled over the recent startling and sudden demise of Lynn’s Paradise Cafe.

I don’t see much point in adding more to that flood, other than to note that we may yet be hearing more about the weird tipping and servers-vs.-management dispute that broke into public view a few days before proprietor Lynn Winter yanked the keys out of the restaurant’s ignition and shut ’er down.

But let’s not get into the who, what, when, where and why of all that right now. A larger question looms: “Where in the heck can we go for Sunday brunch now that Lynn’s is gone?”

Continue reading Where will we go for brunch now that Lynn’s is closed?

Breakfast for lunch, and vice-versa, at Verbena Cafe

Breakfast appeals to me, and I’m more than willing to take on a platter of eggs, biscuits and hash browns at any time of day.  Breakfast for dinner? I’m there!

I like that about Verbena Cafe, a popular spot at Norton Commons: You can get breakfast any time they’re open, which makes an omelet, blueberry pancakes or even a raspberry Nutella crepe an entirely reasonable proposition even at 2 p.m.
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Food truck fare hits the road in the Metro

If you’re trying to save on fuel during a summer that makes the case for global warming and when gasoline prices flirt with $4 per gallon, there’s a lot to like about a friendly food truck operator who brings lunch to your neighborhood. Across the country, a veritable food truck race is under way, with food truck “pods” growing in with-it towns like Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore.
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Verbena could make Grandpa proud


Verbena Café is one of those places that always seems to smell like home. For Mike Cortino, the smell is likely a reminder of much more.

Mike and his wife, Laurie, opened Verbena in Norton Commons this past autumn. They based Verbena’s fare on dishes served in restaurants founded by Mike’s grandfather and operated by his family back in the 1960s in Chicago. Verbena specializes in omelets, crepes, pancakes, waffles and eggs Benedict, and offers sandwiches, entrées and salads for the lunch crowd.
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Big Ben swings like a pendulum do

Fish tacos at Big Ben Cafe

Voice-Tribune review by LouisvilleHotBytes

England swings like a pendulum do.
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two.
Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben …

Roger Miller’s memorably kitschy tune is one of those melodies that sticks in your head until you want to bang your skull on the wall to make it go away.

Louisville’s new Big Ben, happily, isn’t anything like that. But drop by during a busy lunch hour or balmy evening, and chances are you will find the place swinging.

Head for the village center of new-made-to-look-old Norton Commons, and you can hardly miss the busy scene of outdoor tables and red umbrellas set up across the front of Big Ben’s red-brick quarters. Within, it’s an independent eatery made to look a great deal like a franchise chain, a dream that I suspect the owners have in mind.
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Something old, something new at Norton Commons

Karem’s in Norton Commons occupies a brand-new, three-story red-brick storefront that’s made to look a lot like an old one. Photo by Robin Garr

(Karem’s Grill & Pub, Shady Lane Café
Voice-Tribune, March 29, 2007)

One of the more unusual suburban developments in recent memory, Norton Commons – billed as a “traditional neighborhood development” or “TND” – brings a touch of nostalgia to Louisville’s outer suburbs.

It incorporates acres of parklike green space surrounding a squared-off grid of residential blocks made to resemble an old-fashioned urban neighborhood, with sturdy brick houses lined up side-by-side, most of them equipped with front porches where folks can come out to sit a spell and talk with the neighbors.

And just as in grandpa’s day, a short stroll (no need to get out the horseless carriage) will take you down to the quaint town square, with brand-new, three-story red-brick storefronts made to look a lot like old ones.
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