When going out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we all want the best food and service for our money. Sadly, this seemingly simple need is not always met at the higher end establishments. In most cases, you are a number at a table and the servers function much like robots, responding as if from a script to questions. If you want down home service, you have to go to a down home kinda place, like
little diners we mentioned previously. We still find the mom and pop diners in Kentucky serve up home cooked meals with a smile.
There is just something about eating at a mom and pop diner in Kentucky that makes the meal taste better. Perhaps it’s the friendly service, making you feel right at home, or maybe it is the love they put into preparing each meal… Whatever the reason, the home cooked meals at these 11 mom and pop diners are absolutely mouthwatering:
11. Rick’s White Light Diner at 114 Bridge Street in Frankfort
Rick’s pulled pork, fried oysters, sides and pie
Ricks is a small place with very limited seating, but it is worth a stop if you like traditional Cajun style food and southern cuisine. The atmosphere is pleasant and its obvious the cooks enjoy creating with fresh, local ingredients when possible. The catfish sandwich was tender inside and crisp outside, and the alligator po boy is juicy, not dry. The cheesy grits make an excellent side and Crayfish pie is a must try.
10. Biancke's Restaurant at 102 S Main Street in Cynthiana
Biancke's bacon beer cheese burger
Biancke’s has been around serving up fresh, home cooked meals since 1894, so they must be doing something right. They serve up fried green tomatoes and country fried steak like you might have had at Grandma’s house. The Country Ham is a local favorite, as are their unique weekly burger flavors, like the bacon beer cheese burger featured. Everything here is served up hot and fresh with fast friendly service.
9. Bruen’s Restaurant at S Sipple Street in Stanton
Bruen's double burger and hand dipped onion rings
This little hole in the wall place serves up the best breakfast in the Stanton area. The homemade biscuits are always hot and fresh, not dry and hard like some places. The gravy is flavored just right and extremely creamy with no lumps, perfection. Eggs are cooked to your specifications, as will be anything else you order. The pork tenderloin comes highly recommended.
8. Bub’s Café on 611 W Poplar Street in Elizabethtown
Bub’s omelet and skillet potatoes
This is a breakfast and lunch only spot, and they do both right. The breakfasts here are absolutely delicious, like something you’d get at Granny’s house. The omelets are big and fluffy, full of ingredients like ham and cheese. The biscuits and gravy are an local favorite, and with good reason. They also have very juicy burgers, not dry like the local chains. This is a must stop and enjoy kinda place, but they close by 3 pm, so arrive early.
7. Cadiz Family Restaurant on 324 Main Street in Cadiz
Cadiz chicken with stuffing and veges
Though they offer a buffet, every morsel on it will be hot and fresh. The fried chicken, fried fish, and country friend steak are all delicious, with a unique tasting breading you don’t find anywhere else. The salad bar is well maintained with fresh, crisp vegetables, unlike the wilted remains you find at some spots.
6. Colonial Cottage on 3140 Dixie Hwy in Erlanger
Colonial Cottage beef stew, side of greens and corn muffin
This little mom and pop style diner has been in business since 1933, and the menu hasn’t changed much. That means they cook everything perfect enough to keep the locals from getting bored. The burgers are juicy, the fried chicken is crisp and tender, and the pies are absolutely mouthwatering. They feature flavors like strawberry rhubarb, which is hard to find. The liver n’ onions is so tender you can cut it with a spoon and the flavor is rich, paired with mashed potatoes you cannot go wrong. These warmhearted country cooks have mastered the perfection of a southern kitchen. Colonial Cottage was voted as creating the best family restaurant in northern Kentucky during 2015 by Northern Kentucky Magazine.
5. Home Café on 2440 Nashville Road #108 in Bowling Green
Home Café smokehouse stack sandwich
Bowling Green is a central location in the state, so people often pass through. Home Café comes recommended for their wonderful prime rib sandwich and their crisp, yet juicy southern fried chicken sandwich. You can get a little bit of anything here from homemade pizzas to fresh breakfasts too. Diners rate the Home Café an all around home run when it comes to good food and friendly service.
4. Judy’s Castle at 1302 US 31 BYP in Bowling Green
Judy’s barbecue on fried cornbread
This is a favorite spot locally and via surrounding counties. The food is always fresh, prepared perfectly, and the service is exceptional. You cannot go wrong when ordering anything on this menu, including the amazing country ham with biscuits and gravy. Oh, and the pie… the pie is just to die for, complete with light, fluffy homemade meringue! You will be wanting to make this a frequent stop.
3. Pepper Pod at 703 Monmouth Street in Newport
Pepper Pod breakfast with country ham
This classic mom and pop style diner has been around a while and is a favorite of the community. The fried chicken is absolutely delicious, as is any of the breakfast menu. Breakfast is the best meal of the day when dining here. It is always hot, fresh and cooked perfect to order, much like anything else they serve.
2. Check’s Café at 1101 E Burnett Avenue in Louisville
Check’s Café Cod sandwich and fries
This has been a gathering place for the locals since the early 1940s and its still going strong. The menu doesn’t get real fancy, but they have the best hot sandwiches and soups around, along with ice cold beer and drinks. The Reuben is authentic, a little messy, but perfect. The chili is famous in the area and well worth a try, along with the Cod sandwich. It is perfectly balanced. The atmosphere is very casual and friendly, with a bartender that makes you feel right at home. If you live in the area or are passing through, this is a great place to stop in for bite and a drink.
1. Watermill Restaurant at 804 Mammoth Cave Road in Cave City
Watermill fried chicken and catfish
This local favorite has been serving up the best homemade dessert and fried chicken and catfish in the area since the 1970s. The hush puppies are seasoned perfect, and the onion is not overwhelming. The banana pudding and really ANY of the homemade desserts are amazing. The sweet tea has been quoted at being, "the way God intended sweet tea to be."
The mom and pop diners in Kentucky are most certainly some of my favorites to dine at, and I look forward to our next trip out. The best places remind me of the meals we’d have when visiting our grandparents back in the day. The wondrous smells just waft out of the kitchen encouraging our stomachs to growl more loudly, despite the best efforts to conceal it. These 11 restaurants, along with the awesome
diners covered in 2015 all make for a mouthwatering meal!
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