What makes a restaurant unique? Sometimes it’s the food. For example, Korean barbecue restaurants where you cook your own meat at your table have really hit it off within the last year. However, oftentimes, it’s not actually the food, but rather the atmosphere. Are there games? Is it actually a food truck instead of a restaurant? Does the decor or lighting make more of an impression on you than even the food you’re eating?
Sometimes, if you are able to learn it, the mission of the restaurant makes it stand out. Are the owners using their grandmother’s recipes in the kitchen? Do they want to share the food of their native country with the people of a small town in the U.S.? In short, there are so many aspects of a restaurant that can make it unique.
In honor of uniqueness, we’re sharing a list of 7 unique restaurants in Louisville you should visit ASAP. Keep reading to see which Louisville restaurant you should go to next!
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Gastropub with insane Waffle Wednesdays.
921 Swan St | Germantown | louisvillehammerheads.com
Waffle Wednesday has never been quite so… big before! This Louisville gastropub is located in Germantown, though their offerings are pretty much what you’d expect at an American gastropub, except for the Chicken & Waffle, of course.
Hammerheads’ Chicken & Waffle is made up of a sweet potato waffle, three whole chicken wings (NashHot or Original), and a side of maple syrup. If you’re ordering this, be sure to come hungry! FYI, you can get the Chicken & Waffles any day of the week, though it’s definitely more fun as a midweek pick me up.
What else makes this restaurant special? Fitting with their name, they have a huge hammerhead shark on the front of the building. Guests love to take pictures of it!
“This is a small but cozy place to get a bite with a few friends. One of Louisville's hidden treasures, this place has the most AMAZING truffle fries (get them fried in duck fat if you can!) and delicious mac & cheese.” - Yelp Review
Southern-inspired traditional favorites and fresh seafood.
127 W Main St | Downtown | doccrows.com
Doc Crow’s is actually housed in the 1869 building where the Bonnie Bros. Distillers warehouse used to be. The building was later repurposed as a warehouse for the Burwinkle-Hendershot paper goods company until it was renovated into Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar. Today, Doc Crow’s is one of the coolest restaurants in Louisville KY, located on what is now known as Whiskey Row. A smokehouse, a raw bar, and a bourbon drinkers paradise, this is one of the most unique restaurants in Louisville.
Doc Crow’s offers a selection of BBQ, fresh seafood, and other Southern classics. Their entrees include The Fish Platter, which is your choice of catfish fillet or tilapia served blackened or fried, with Doc’s Remoulade, hushpuppies, and garnished with pickled vegetables, the Half Rack St. Louis Ribs, meaty ribs, slow smoked, and mopped with their house BBQ sauce, and the Pulled Pork, slow-smoked pork topped with coleslaw, tobacco onions, and pickles on a brioche bun.
Get the Derby Pie, a Louisville tradition, a chocolate walnut pie with bourbon-chocolate drizzle topped with whipped cream, or the Warm Bread Pudding, made with vanilla and bourbon soaked raisins and topped with whipped cream, for dessert!
“Their menu is varied as shown by their "book" of pages of cocktails and bourbons. It also shows in their varied food menu. We shared an oyster Rockefeller appetizer & smoke house sampler with the half rack of ribs perfect. Just exceptional.” - Yelp Review
Louisville's only authentic German Restaurant.
4812 Brownsboro Ctr | Brownsboro- Northfield | gasthausdining.com
This restaurant is Louisville’s one and only truly authentic German Restaurant. It’s family owned and operated by Michael and Annemarie Greipel and their five children, all born and raised in Germany. They not only offer German cuisine and drinks, they offer an atmosphere that is authentically German as well. The waitresses wear real dirndls, the traditional German folk dress!
Menu favorites include the Jaegerschnitzel, tender breaded pork loin sauteed and topped with fresh sauteed mushrooms and onions, and the Sauerbraten, tender beef marinated for up to seven days in old world herbs, spices, and red wine vinegar, served with spaetzle and red cabbage.
Annemarie's homemade desserts might make you stick around after your meal. They have had rave-reviews from newspapers and magazines, and of course guests. She creates delicious "Torten" like Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte (Blackforest Cake) and fine pastries.
If you are interested in an authentic German dining experience without leaving Louisville, this is the place for you.
“This restaurant was a gem to eat at. I'm so glad I finally got to eat at this amazing local German restaurant. Our dinner was amazing and the service was awesome. If you get the chance check out this place!!!” - Yelp Review
Korean BBQ spot where you grill your meats at your table.
1055 Bardstown Rd | Highlands | facebook.com
We of course had to mention this Korean BBQ, because what’s more fun than grilling your own at the table? This is where you go to eat when you don’t just want a dinner, you want an experience.
Menu favorites include the Beef Combo, Pork Belly, and the Gogi Combo. For these, you grill the meat at your table. What’s also unique about this restaurant is that there’s an emphasis on quality over quantity, which couldn’t be more different from most other restaurants in the south where portions tend to be on the larger side. They source their USDA Prime and Choice grade cuts locally and from well known farms around the United States.
GOGi 1055 Korean BBQ also offers menu items you can order from the kitchen. One of the most popular is the Honey Soy Wings topped with garlic, pepitas, fried chili, and rice cake. These are freshly prepared and made to order! We love them because they are perfectly balanced with just the right amount of sweetness.
“I was so excited to finally try GOGi 1055! I've waited over a year to dine here and I'm happy to say it was worth the wait. This was my first Korean BBQ experience and I'm looking forward to returning.” - Yelp Review
Food, drinks, games, and a whole lot of fun!
115 W Chestnut St | Jeffersonville | uniongameyard.com
Just across the way from Louisville in Jeffersonville is Union Restaurant & Gameyard. Louisville has a lot to offer on it’s own, but if we’re talking about unique restaurants, we couldn't leave this one out!
This restaurant and gameyard offers fun for all ages - even pets are welcome!. The GameYard has cabanas with fire pits, four separate bar areas for the adults, and of course, games! You will find street curling, Uncle Rico's FutBowl, soccer pool, and more!
Their food menu is reminiscent of a backyard BBQ. Think burgers, sandwiches, salads, shareables, and more! Drinks include frozen margaritas, mules, and boozy popsicles.
This is a great place to go for family fun, with a large group, or for a party!
“I have visited Union Restaurant twice now and both times I was blown away with the food, service and atmosphere. Very cool concept and very well decorated and arranged. I highly encourage you to visit Union Restaurant. You will have an epic experience.” - Yelp Review
Authentic Mexican BBQ.
1838 Bardstown Rd | Deer Park | nochemexicanbbq.com
Mexican BBQ might be something you never realized you hadn’t had before, but now that you know there’s a restaurant with authentic Mexican BBQ in Louisville, it’s a must go!
Noche serves BBQ with an authentic Mexican flare. Guests will enjoy high quality meats smoked to perfection, as well as Mexican inspired hand-crafted drinks. The atmosphere is notable as well, with an artistic and rustic vibe with a vibrant tribute to Dia de los Muertos.
You can enjoy tacos like the Beef Birria, Birria style brisket slow cooked in a guajillo chile broth, onion, cilantro, and monterey cheese, served with consommé on the side. Or you can stick with a carne plate like the Smoked Brisket, Texas style smoked brisket smoked for 15 hours and dry rubbed with Noche Spice Blend.
If you are celebrating, get the Smoked Kan-Kan Pork Chop for $65. This 32 oz bone-in loin chop with the belly attached is brined for 24 hours, smoked for 2 hours, and fried to order for crispy skin and a juicy interior.
Come to Noche Mexican BBQ to experience barbecue in a new way.
“My sister raved about the brisket tacos and I wanted the Birria tacos so we got two to share which was more than plenty. The consommé was heavenly. I am most definitely looking forward to coming back here in May.” - Yelp Review
Laotian spiced fried chicken and ramen noodle soups.
1765 Mellwood Ave | Butchertown | chiknandmi.com
As much as everyone loves instant ramen, Chik’n & Mi takes it up a notch and you might not be able to go back after trying it. Chik’n & Mi specializes in Asian comfort foods including Laotian spiced fried chicken and hearty and flavorful ramen noodle soups.
Menu favorites include Pork Belly Steam Buns, Miso Pork Ramen, and Chicken Nuggets. The nuggets you can get tossed in Sweet Soy, Hot Jaew Bong, or X-tra Hot sauces, or Naked with Peppercorn Ranch. The Kimchi Mac is also worth a try!
Their bar features sake, craft beer, and cocktails made with local ingredients and house-infusions. Tuesday Moon is a fig washed brandy with creme de cassis, lemon, and Jamaican #2 bitters, while the Golden Hour Lullaby is made with teremanas reposado, averna amaro, sorghum, and lemon. These drinks might be out of your comfort zone - we haven’t even heard of some of the items they put in these drinks - but you’ll never know you like it if you don’t try! One of these cocktails just might be your new favorite!
For dessert, get the Black Current Bread Pudding, biscuit bread pudding with French vanilla ice cream and a miso caramel drizzle.
“Absolutely delicious food! Really good mushroom egg rolls, fried chicken, and bonito fries. They have generous portions and, after eating until we couldn't anymore, our bill came out under $35! I highly recommend this place.” - Yelp Review
From Korean and Mexican BBQ spots to gameyards and gastropubs, there’s so many unique restaurants in Louisville you need to visit ASAP. Restaurants with unique methods of preparing food, atmospheres, and food are great to consider for special occasions, dates, trips, or even just when you want to try something new instead of just going out to your usual restaurants.
Places like Union Restaurant & Gameyard are great for birthday parties or get-togethers with coworkers, while GOGi 1055 Korean BBQ is a good spot for a special dinner with family or a significant other where you can bond over your good or not so good grilling skills.
Let us know in the comments which of these unique restaurants in Louisville you try first!