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Labor Day weekend in Louisville-- please critique

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Labor Day weekend in Louisville-- please critique

Cuisinescene | Jul 6, 2013 04:07 PM

Hi! My husband and I are making our first trip to Louisville over Labor Day weekend. We will be driving in from Columbus, OH on Friday night and leaving Monday afternoon. We will have a car but would probably just as soon take the trolley or cabs so we can enjoy some adult beverages worry-free. We are staying at the Galt House.

A little about us: We recently moved from NYC to a small town outside of Columbus. Of everything we miss about New York, we miss the restaurants the most. We've been lucky enough to go to a bunch of the fancy/expensive NYC places (Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Babbo, etc.), so we have pretty high expectations when it comes to restaurants where you rack up a big tab. Good service is very important to us, as is feeling like we got good value for the price-- we're happy to spend a lot when it's worth it, but we're not likely to believe that it was worth it just because we spent a lot. We're in our 30s and we like places that aren't museum-quiet, but where you don't have to scream, either.

We like all different cuisines and try to eat whatever is best wherever we are. If everything were equally great, we would tend toward Italian and contemporary American, but otherwise we would go for the local stand-outs.

The goal is to have one dinner that's more high-end and the others more moderate (I still think in NYC prices, so "moderate" could still include entrees in the $20 range, though certainly doesn't have to). We would be open to the idea of a fancy lunch and a more casual dinner, but we're probably more likely to keep lunch casual.

We would like to drive out to some distilleries (likely Maker's Mark-- my husband's favorite, though I know their production will be down for the season-- and Jim Beam, but I'm definitely open to suggestions) on one of the days. It's looking like Sunday right now because from what I can tell, the distilleries are open but a lot of the local favorite restaurants are closed. Monday we would probably check out of the hotel, eat lunch, and drive home.

With that, here are my initial thoughts. I would love your feedback/edits/additions!

Friday: Since we will be driving, I'm inclined to have a reservation in hand but be prepared to cancel if we get stuck in traffic, so I would need somewhere we can walk in. Probably not the right night for our high-end dinner.

Current thoughts:

Reservation at Harvest; potentially walk into Doc Crow's (Can you walk in on a Friday night? If not, where would you plan to walk into?)

Saturday: We'll probably just tour around the city-- no major plans. Probably a more casual lunch and the nice dinner

Lunch: Lily's, Havana Rumba, or Hillbilly Tea

Dinner: 610 Magnolia (I was able to book a table), Harvest, Doc Crow's (if we decide we don't feel like high-end), or Jack Fry's

Is 610 Magnolia worth it? Would you do that over Jack Fry's?

Sunday: Likely a distillery tour, so probably a more casual dinner

Lunch (if we're not on a tour): Havana Rumba, Proof on Main, or Hillbilly Tea

Dinner: Havana Rumba or Proof on Main (What other favorites are open?)

Monday: Tricky; I haven't found much that's open on holiday Mondays

Lunch: Mayan Cafe (less desirable if we've already been to Havana Rumba)

I'm sure we'll be hitting up the bar scene before and/or after dinner, so if there are any great happy hours-- or just great bars-- we shouldn't miss, I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks so much, Louisville experts! Everything I've read tells me Louisville is a hidden food gem, and I'm excited to experience it!

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