Quick wrap up of some places I found best during my 9 day trip. I found very little info on this area (is that the way it is in general or because of the new CH?). Hopefully this helps folks traveling to Louisville, Memphis or Nashville.
I think the best thing I ate was my first stop in Bowling Green at Judy's Castle and a breakfast special of 2 eggs, meat, hash browns (or grits), biscuits and sausage gravy. It was perfect. We don't get hash browns much in the Boston area and these were nice and crispy, the gravy was peppery and not gloppy, eggs done right, nice folks and before 10:30 it was only $5.50 or something like that. The only bummer about breakfast was that the food combined with waking up at 3:15AM made me tired and I had to pull into a rest area to sleep for 5 min to get to Louisville without having an accident.
I walked to Bardstown Rd after settling into my Air BnB and ended up at Jack Fry's for an old fashioned and a fried oyster/grits app. Everyone working there was super nice as were the folks sitting next to me. Something about that drink didn't sit right tho so the next morning, I went for bread products at Blue Dog Bakery on Frankfurt Ave., excellent cherry and nut scone. I went to the bar of the Brown Hotel for dinner but couldn't bring myself to pay that much for a hot brown so ended up with just ok smoked mushroom soup and rolls. Beautiful hotel tho. Sat. the weather improved, there was a fun flea market, did the Evan Williams bourbon tour and went out with my hosts to Decca for a nice meal of grilled octopus and a side of polenta (about $14 and 8). Their downstairs bar is super cool with lots of interesting cocktails. Enjoyed my short times at dive bars Seidenfaden Cafe and Third St. Dive.
I left early on Easter Sun. and got lunch at Lambert's in Sikeston MO, home of the throwed rolls. Total kitschy place but not bad. Esp. the free stuff they give you. The rolls were fluffy (with nice apple butter if you wanted), fried okra was delicious, good lyonnaise potatoes and black eyed peas. I didn't try the spaghetti. The actual meal of pork cutlet sandwich was okay but the sides of potato salad and cucumber and onions were much too sweet ($9.95 I think). Tried to sleep at a rest area in Arkansas but it was too hot (these long flat highways just lulled me to sleep) so drove on to Memphis and did the Sun Studio tour as soon as I got there. Ate at Dyer's who are known for burgers cooked in the same grease since they opened 100 years ago. Haha, or something like that. No repercussions thankfully. Cheeseburger, fries and drink about $8. Ended with a $$ cocktail at the Peabody Hotel. The next morning I had better donut luck at Donald's then later had lunch at the longstanding Arcade Restaurant on So. Main. Things move slowly there and it was just ok. Chicken fried steak, lame side salad, good mashed, a clump of white gravy, no real butter and some fair dessert that wasn't advertised. I can recommend iced coffee at Qahwa on the less pretty No. Main but the iced coffee at Otherlands on Cooper had lots of ground in it. Dinner was a pulled pork sandwich at Central BBQ, standard. Had a good fried chicken lunch at Gus's on Tues., got there at 11:20 and it filled up 20 min later. Good happy hour at Alchemy on Cooper at Young and a great dinner at Flight on No. Main, a small plate of rabbit and one of redfish w/ risotto, with delicious rolls (and real butter!) plus friendly people at the bar.
I only had a biscuit at some place called Patty's in Wildersville on the ride from MEM to Nashville so was ready for lunch when I arrived. Bolten's Spicy Chicken on Main St. was a 5 min walk from my B&B and I'm embarrassed to say that I can't imagine getting more than the mild, it was bugging my lips. But it was tasty, just got chicken for about $6. Sky Blue cafe on Fatherland in the neighborhood was good. Thurs. I stopped by Biscuit Love for their "bonuts" which are really just big fried donut balls served w/ lemon cream cheese and/or blueberry compote. Very tasty (and greasy) for $7. I had a good Old Fashioned at Southern Steak & Oyster and their $5 fried green tomato happy hour special. That evening went to Holland House for a scallop app and a glass of wine (wasn't in the mood for a cocktail even tho I know they're known for that). It was just ok and while I seemed to chat w/ folks everywhere else at the bar, that didn't happen here. Had time to kill on Fri. before the flight, last meal was at Peg Leg Porker on Gleaves and it was fine. Pulled pork w/ slaw sandwich - good, smoked green beans tasty but from a can and potato salad looked great but was tasteless. Better than too sweet I think.
So the eating wasn't overly successful and believe it or not I left a lot out. Some things I noticed on this trip. I'm a donut fanatic but found the donuts to be subpar compared to the east coast or the tons of places in the LA area. Also, what's up with butter not being served with bread? It was mostly spreads. And this may be blasphemy but I had 4 pulled pork sandwiches and none of them were better than Sweet Cheeks or Soulfire in Boston. There I said it.