We’ve featured many family-owned restaurants throughout Kentucky, all of which have their own charm and unforgettable menus. There’s something about a restaurant kitchen run by people who simply love what they do that makes the food taste that much better. These 12 eateries can be found in Kentucky’s small towns and each is family-owned, filled with character, and totally worth seeking out to try their meals that are simply to die for.
1. Granny's Diner - Harrodsburg
If you haven't stumbled upon Granny's Diner in Harrodsburg, then you need to plan a trip to this area of Kentucky. This family kitchen is, of course, run by Granny, and the classic southern food is incredible. The people are wonderful, the atmosphere is comfortable, and every meal of the day will leave your tastebuds more than satisfied.
2. Babes BBQ - Georgetown
Photo Courtesy of Emily Chopelas
Photo Courtesy of Emily Chopelas
It's a family affair at Babe's BBQ in the small city of Georgetown. The restaurant is easy to get to, located near the highway, and you can't beat the home cooked sides and mouthwatering barbecue. You'll likely leave with a full belly and a few new friends in the owners and staff of this friendly restaurant.
3. The Lighthouse Restaurant - Sulphur Well
This longtime family-owned Kentucky legend is located in the tiny town of Sulphur Well. The family that owns this hidden gem has a kitchen staff that turns out some of the best country cooking in the state. Try the all-you-can-eat family style meal that includes delicious fried chicken, country ham, fried catfish, and all of the classic southern sides.
4. Victor's Sandwiches - Murray
This sandwich shop is well known in the small town of Murray. It's been around for over 30 years and Victor himself still runs the restaurant, which has a vast menu of mouthwatering sandwiches. If you have to pick one, try the Cuban, and prepare yourself for a unique atmosphere at this small town family kitchen.
5. Kurtz Restaurant - Bardstown
Kurtz Restaurant in the charming town of Bardstown has been family-owned and operated since 1937. It's long been a place to gather as a family and enjoy quality, home-cooked meals. This lovely restaurant is the perfect dining spot in this historic town and has many Kentucky favorites on the menu.
6. Back Home Restaurant - Elizabethtown
What started as a family business selling antiques and crafts out of the trunk of a car has turned into a beloved full-service restaurant and boutique in Elizabethtown. Now run by the second generation, Back Home is perfectly named as they have a warm, family atmosphere and outstanding comfort food. Their Hot Brown is incredible and save room for dessert!
7. Family's Restaurant - Walton
Family's Main Street Restaurant is located in the heart of Walton, Kentucky and is filled with quite a bit of heart itself. This family kitchen serves up homemade creations all day long - you can't go wrong with a visit at any time. You can also find some rare treats here with goetta and Cincinnati-style chili.
8. Wigwam Drive-In Restaurant - Ravenna
Wigwam has been deliciously serving the community for over 60 years and there's a reason this family-owned restaurant remains a favorite. The name and building are obviously unique, but it's the southern favorites you'll chow down on inside that will make you want to come back. It's homemade, prepared the right way, and unforgettable.
9. Country Cupboard - Madisonville
This little country gem can be found in Madisonville, where the kitchen prepares classic favorites that you can enjoy from their epic buffet. Favorites are fried chicken, mac & cheese, and roast beef, but really anything you order will be scrumptious at this family restaurant.
10. Dinner Bell Restaurant - Benton
This summertime favorite is located near Kentucky Lake and is set to reopen in early March. This family kitchen offers incredible home cooking served buffet-style, directly from the pots and pans in which they were cooked. Try the catfish and thank us later.
11. Welch's Riverside Restaurant - Carrollton
A popular local eatery in Carrollton, Welch's turns out yummy food with a sweeping view of the river. Breakfast is scrumptious, as is the fried chicken, and you can't beat the laid-back, welcoming atmosphere.
12. Jackson's Restaurant - Richmond
Last, but certainly not least, Jackson's in Richmond also serves home-cooked favorites from their famous food bar, AKA buffet. They have outstanding burgers, a delicious breakfast, and this local hangout is filled with charm. Owned, you guessed it, by Mr. Jackson, this family kitchen knows what they're doing and creates some of the best food in eastern Kentucky.
As you probably know, this is just the beginning of a list of small-town restaurants in Kentucky that deserve a visit. Can you help add to our list? Give your favorite family-owned restaurant a shout out in the comments so we can check them out! And keep in mind, all of these restaurants have Facebook pages, so seek them out and follow along for the most up-to-date info!
For more on one of the restaurants featured above, Babes BBQ, check out our previous article