Even before celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli visited Louisville, she knew the city had a “surprisingly” well-developed food scene.
Guarnaschelli, an executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurant and judge on the Food Network, nominated Louisville as an “unexpected foodie city” at the Food & Wine Classic culinary event in Aspen, Colorado in June 2019.
The celebrity chef didn’t visit Louisville until October 2019, when she headlined the third annual Courier Journal Wine and Food Experience event held at Norton Commons. The nod from Guaranaschelli puts Louisville in the same buzz categories as cities such as Denver, Minneapolis and Philadelphia in a CNN travel article published this week.
The article mentioned restaurants like The Seafood Lady, which consistently draws big crowds and long lines, and Le Moo, a steakhouse that offers a drag show brunch on Sundays.
“I think with the emergence of great food cities like Charleston, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee, Louisville and Kentucky are really the next burgeoning landscapes that are going to tell the next story of our food culture,” Guarnaschelli said in a previous Courier Journal interview. “The local chefs. The local ingredients. The traditions reinvented. I’m excited to see it happen.”
This is not the first time Louisville has earned recognition from a celebrity chef. Three years ago, Bobby Flay, who was in town for the Kentucky Derby, said everyone who visits Louisville should stop by the Portage House at 117 E. Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville. Scott Conant, a regular “Chopped” judge who headlined the 2018 Courier Journal Wine & Food Experience, said Louisville was “very up-and-coming,” saying the fact that Louisville is a smaller city helps feed a growing culinary scene.
“What I like about some of these smaller towns that I’ve visited is the sense of community. I feel like you get more of that in a smaller city, the sense of an all-for-one attitude. Everyone’s trying to make it a better place to be in, a better place to live,” he previously told The Courier Journal.
In 2019 alone, Louisville landed on 50+ lists for accolades that ranged from “7 Rising U.S. Cities That Should Be On Your 2019 Travel Bucket List,” to “8 Best Places to Visit in the U.S. If You Love Bourbon” and more.
Here are the Food & Dining lists Louisville landed on in 2019, compiled by Louisville Tourism:
- “The South’s Best Food Cities 2019” — Southern Living
- “2019 Best Foodie Cities” — Wallet Hub
- “8 Best Places to Visit in the U.S. If You Love Bourbon” — Business Insider
- “8 Best Countries for Booze Tourism” — Inside Hook
- “The South’s Best Pizza” (Garage Bar) — Southern Living
- “One of the Best Coffee Shops in America” (Please and Thank You) — Food & Wine
- “25 Most Romantic Restaurants in America” (English Grill at The Brown Hotel) — TripAdvisor
- “The South’s Best New Bars” (Alex&nder) — Garden & Gun
- “Best Airport Bars in America” (Book & Bourbon) — Business Insider
- “The South’s Best Barbecue” (Feast BBQ) — Southern Living
Dahlia Ghabour: 502-582-4497; email@example.com; Twitter: @dghabour. Support strong journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscriberguide/