Category Archives: Commentary

Robin Garr’s musings about food and restaurant matters that don’t fit neatly into the “review” category.

We get happily lost on Memory Lane

By Robin Garr

The Louisville dining scene sure has changed since I was a kid! Or has it? There’s hardly a better way to spark a conversation among food-loving locals than to start talking about dining out the way it used to be.

It’s no coincidence that one of my recent columns that attracted the most comments was “Memories! The Closed Louisville Restaurants That We Miss The Most” (LouisvilleHotBytes, Oct. 22, 2022). Remember? Talking about old favorites like Hasenour’s, Casa Grisanti, Allo Spiedo, and all the other beloved eateries that many of us (cough cough) are old enough to remember with nostalgia. Continue reading We get happily lost on Memory Lane

Love food and dining? Make food justice a part of your diet.

By Robin Garr

If you love good food, cooking and dining out as much as I do, allow me to invite you to make the food justice movement part of your culinary life, too.

Um, what is food justice? Good question. Let’s start with a definition. Here’s a good one from Boston University’s Community Service Center: Continue reading Love food and dining? Make food justice a part of your diet.

Nitpicks and whines: Dining annoyances

By Robin Garr

I was excited to go to one of my favorite upscale eateries recently. I was full of happy smiles until I sat down at our table and picked up a menu, ready to peruse its tasty delights


Thanks to an overhead light that blasted down from behind my head like an airport runway beacon, much of our table was bathed in harsh light. But that light was placed above and behind me so everything in front of me was lost in dark shadow. (Image recorded for posterity above.) Continue reading Nitpicks and whines: Dining annoyances

Feed Louisville: Chefs fighting houselessness

By Robin Garr

Early in 2020, Chef Rhona Bowles Kamar was trying to figure out what she wanted to do in life. Recently divorced, and out of the job she’d done as co-owner and chef at Ramsi’s Cafe on the World for 25 years, she was doing some catering and wondering what to do next.

Then came Covid-19. Restaurants were closed, the catering business cratered, and in a random encounter she met Donny Greene, a local activist who works in solidarity with Louisville’s houseless community. Continue reading Feed Louisville: Chefs fighting houselessness

A smile and a word can bridge the language gap

By Robin Garr

¡Bueños días! Nihao! Konnichiwa! Bonjou! Xin Chào! Annyeonghaseyo! ? káàsán!

And there you have it! A simple, multilingual glossary to help bridge the language gap – let’s not call it a barrier – when you take your seat and greet the server at, respectively, a Latinx, Chinese, Japanese, Haitian, Chinese, Korean, or Nigerian restaurant.

There’s nothing quite like greeting a person in their own language to get your encounter off on the right foot, even if you don’t have much of a common language. Continue reading A smile and a word can bridge the language gap

Dining solo: No fear, no shame, just do it

By Robin Garr

Years ago, after I left the newly corporate Courier-Journal, I went to work for a national non-profit based in New York City. It was a fascinating job that took me all around the country, visiting and reporting on creative grassroots organizations in all 50 states.

It was fun, stressful at times, and at the end of just about every day filled with meeting, chatting with, and interviewing grassroots heroes, I was ready for some quiet time alone … and a good dinner with only my thoughts or a good book for company. Continue reading Dining solo: No fear, no shame, just do it

Streaming and dining: Korean drama imparts a crave

By Robin Garr

I had never envisioned myself as a fan of South Korean K-dramas, but that was before a Netflix promotion drew me into the fictional life of Extraordinary Attorney Woo.

Now I’m almost through binging this sweet, sometimes challenging drama about the brilliant 20-something Korean attorney Woo Young-woo (played by Park Eun-bin), who, as Netflix explains it, “faces challenges in the courtroom and beyond as a newbie at a top law firm in Seoul and a woman on the autism spectrum.”

Before long I had added a Korean module to my Duolingo routine so I could learn characters in hangul, the Korean alphabet. And most of all, I found myself deeply craving the only food item that Young-woo enjoys: Kimbap. Continue reading Streaming and dining: Korean drama imparts a crave

Quoth The Raven, “Gimme more fish!”

By Robin Garr

It’s fish fry season in Louisville again! We’re back in that season of Lent when you don’t have to be Catholic to go gaga over Friday fish fries at dozens of local parishes … and a couple of Episcopal churches, too.

Now, for the record, all year is fish-fry season in this river city. Perhaps owing to a substantial rush of German, Irish, Italian, and Lebanese Catholic immigrants during the 19th century, when the L&N railroad would rush fish and oysters up from the Gulf in ice-filled boxcars, Louisville is crazy for seafood all year ‘round.

But that fishy history doesn’t deter us from piling on another layer of culinary excitement when those Friday Lenten fries return. If you’d like to track down a favorite church fish fry, or discover what’s available near you, here are a few handy sources: Continue reading Quoth The Raven, “Gimme more fish!”

Happy, cozy, magical, gemütlich: Why we love those special eateries

By Robin Garr

I love it when one of my columns sparks a conversation about a similar-but-different idea. Consider my comment in last week’s review:

“What do I like so much about Con Huevos? As simply as I can explain it, it’s a happy place.”

That seems simple enough. It’s concise, but hardly a quote for the ages. But those few words prompted more response than just about anything else I’ve said recently. Continue reading Happy, cozy, magical, gemütlich: Why we love those special eateries