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GettingThere Lodging Restaurants Distilleries My Old Kentucky Home Dinner Train Bernheim Forest Museums
All the major distilleries have restaurants on premises and many of them are excellent. But we'll review them under "Distilleries," so we're omitting them on this page. Several of the bars also serve good food, but we're omitting them, too. Even without them, Bardstown has a strong selection of restaurants. Five are downtown within a short walk of the square and two are within a very short drive from the square. In addition, there are fast food and chain restaurants on the outskirts of town. The restaurants reviewed here are all locally owned. They range from cutting edge to nostalgic to truly historic.
TalbotTavernInn MammysKitchen DinnerTrain Rickhouse HurstDrugstoreSodaFountain Fresh Toogies Kresos CafePrimo

The Talbott Tavern Inn has a new dining room but you should ask to be seated in the historic Tavern. There, while waiting for your food, you can look around and imagine every character in early Kentucky history and many of national and world reknown eating Burgoo and sipping Bourbon in this room. The Talbott still serves Burgoo and Bourbon, but there are other choices. The Hot Brown is not as good as the one at Louisville's Brown Hotel (no where is), but it's still worth ordering. The Catfish, Pot Roast, Shrimp & Grits, Country Fried Steak and Bourbon Chicken are very good. Among their Desserts, we can recommend the Talbott Tavern Pie, Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce, and Cobbler. Especially if you're from up North, you need to order the Fried Green Tomatoes, a Kentucky and Southern classic appetizer. Daniel Boone usually ordered the Pot Roast, Abraham Lincoln the Country Fried Steak and Jesse James the Ribeye. Service is slow, but you're here to soak in the ambience, so order one of their fine Bourbon drinks and enjoy. Their only real flaw is their Coffee. It's awful. We doubt seriously if their esteemed guests of long ago would have tolerated it.

Mammy's Kitchen is a sprawling restaurant with people coming in from both front and rear entrances. They serve comfort food. It's very good with generous portions. This is a locally popular restaurant which is always full during meal hours, so you may have to wait, but usually not more than 30 minutes. Mammy is most famous for their Soup of the Day, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, Fried Green Tomatoes, Meatloaf, Hot Brown, Western Omelette, and Home Made Pies. The rest of the menu is usually cvery good. Like most area restaurants, the Bourbon menu is extensive. Manny's is the best Breakfast place in town. They also serve Burgers, of which we think the Bourbon Burger is the best. There's parking at the rear. Mammny's features live music Friday and Saturday nights. For 200 years this was a large barn. The Talbot Tavern across the street was a stagecoach stop and they would change horses. The horses were fed, watered and kept here waiting for the next stage. So eating here is sort of a historic experience. If you look around carefully, you can see quite a few remnants of the old barn.

The Old Kentucky Dinner Train offers a fixed menu. When you make your reservation online, you place your order. The menu changes from time to time (Scallops has been one of their favorite entrees but it's not available in 2023). As of this writing, the entrees include Salmon, Pork, Chicken, Prime Rib and a Veggie Plate. You also choose your Appetizer and Dessert. The food is excellent, service professional and decor outstanding. The 1940s rail cars have been meticulously restored by R. J. Corman. If you go as a couple you'll be seated with a second couple. The Old Kentucky Dinner Train is headquartered at the original station in Bardstown, on North Third Street. It operates year round, departing at 6 pm every Friday and Saturday evening. The train travels 32 miles out and back, a trip which takes 2.5 hours. You need reservations well in advance because they sell out almost every night. This is a very romantic experience and you'll probably see two or three proposals while on board. There will also be couples celebrating anniversaries, new jobs, promotions, retirements, birthdays or other special occasions. Dress is adult casual; no hoddies, polo shirts or Crocs.

The Rickhouse is probably Bardstown's best restaurant, famous for its steaks but with other entrees reasonably priced. Those steaks --- the New York Strip, Ribeye and various Filets, are in the $40-50 range, but the Sirloin and everything else is in the $20s. They serve a great Hot Brown, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Blue Berry Salmon and BBQ Bourbon Chicken, and the Six Cheese Ravioli, Chicken Alfredo and Thick Cut Bone In Pork Chop are very good. This may be the largest pork chop you've had. They have an extensive list of Bourbons including three Bourbon Flights, each of which contains five brands. Their Country Style Green Beans (with pecan smoked shoulder bacon) and Eleven Cheese Macaroni are two of the best sides in Bardstown. It's going to be a real challenge, but you have to save room for one of their two Desserts : Blackberry Maple Cheesecake and Chocolate Orange Bourbon Bread Pudding. These are outstanding. If you have to, order them to take home. The Rickhouse does offer three delicious Burgers, but they're not open for Lunch and you don't come here for Dinner to order a Burger. Maybe if you have a teenager with you they could choose one of the Burgers.

Your biggest problem will be finding the place. It's in the basement of Spalding Hall, which is located on Xavier Drive a few blocks north of Bethlehem HS and St. Joseph's Basilica. From the square, go west on Stephen Foster Avenue (the main east-west street) and turn north on 5th Avenue. Then turn left on Xavier and look for Spalding Hall on your left. It's a historic site so the Rickhouse can't put any signs out.

At least once while you're in Bardstown, you must stop by Hurst's, right on the corner of Third Street facing the square. In addition to being one of the last of the classic downtown drug stores, Hurt's still operates one of the last classic soda fountains. The standard order here is the old fashioned Milkshake and Cheeseburger. But they offer all the oldies : Grilled Cheese, Chicken Salad Sandwich, Ice Cream Soda, Root Beer Float, Banana Split, and flavored Cokes. You can order a Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke or Chocolate Coke. We had to wait a while to take this photo because for about 90 minutes every seat was filled, all booths were filled, and there were people waiting. This drug store and soda fountain have been in operation for 103 years.
Fresh is a classic small town coffee shop, located just a few doors up from the square on Third Street. They serve Good Folks Coffee, roasted in Louisville. This is excellent Coffee. So are the related drinks : the Lattes, Cappucinos, Hot Chocolates, Espressos, Chai Teas and even ice drinks. And Pastries. Fresh is a cozy place, with tables and chairs, sofas and easy chairs to sit in and sip your Coffee. Most of the traffic here is take out, as businessmen and women stop by for a coffee and pastry en route to opening their downtown establishments. But the big front window lets you drink a Coffee while watching Bardstown start its day.

Toogie's is Bardstown's newest restaurant, across the road on top of the hill from My Old Kentucky Home in the beautiful stone building. Their pricing indicates Toogie's hopes to position iself as Bardstown's special occasion restaurant. Most entrees are priced in the $30s. The Cast Iron Salmon, Hog Chop, Roast Cauliflower, and Chicken & Spaetzle Dumplings are their lead entrees, with a New York Prime 10 oz. Strip at $46 the high end. There's a delicious Chesapeake Bay Broccoli Soup, Spaghetti Squash Salad and Meat Pie among the Appetizers, but the Kentucky Proud Ham Trio (three different kinds of ham cuts) is one of the more unique starters we've seen. Mike Wajda is the chef here. Wajda is from Ohio, studied his culinary skills at Cordon Bleu, and worked at restaurants in New York, Boston, California, Asia and Louisville. His talent should make this an interesting venture.

Kreso's is a European restaurant run by a Bosnian family on Third Street just a block north of the square. The menu is only one page but the food is outstanding. Sadly, after 40 years, the parents are retiring and the children are considering changing the restaurant to a bar and catering service, so you should hurry and eat here before it closes. The Ghoulash is their signature dish and it's outstanding. The classic Hungarian Ghoulash is meat, vegetables and potatoes over pasta. The Bosnian version is just beef over pasta, but the beef is tender and delicious, the egg noodles (which they make on site) really good, and the dish is definitely worth ordering. The Chicken Marsala with mushrooms in a wine sauce is also delightful. Other high points are the Jeager Schnitzel, Lasagna and Crab Cakes. Their wine list is brief but outstanding and their Bourbon list is extensive. If you like Coffee you must try their Espresso, which is memorable. The facility is interesting. It's the old Bardstown movie theater, tastefully converted. The bar is beautiful and a lot of their regular customers prefer to sit there.

Cafe Primo has sort of a cult following in Bardstown and neighboring towns and counties. Especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, it can be nearly impossible to get into after 6 pm.

At its heart, this is a Pizza and Beer place. But their Snapper Sandwich is delicious, as is the Clam Chowder, Chicken Alfredo, Penne Mediterranean, Grilled Chicken, Shrimp, Spaghetti and Arrabbiata.

Service is notoriously slow here, so come prepared to engage in lengthy conversation and enjoy several Beers.

They serve Detroit style Pizza, which is very similar to Sicilian Pizza but uses American Brick Cheese.

We strongly recommend you eat here early, between 5-6 pm, because after 6 as the crowds build, both service and the quality of food goes down noticeably.



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