In recent days I’ve heard a lot of people asking how they can support the restaurant industry. People want to know where they can go and what they can do to hopefully keep some of their favorite local restaurants afloat as they are being forced to operate at half capacity. It’s encouraging to see the city of Louisville rally around an industry that is struggling. Working in real estate means that I have lunch with clients and/or vendors at least 3 days a week. I try to spread the love around the city to many of my favorite spots. Today I am focusing on St Matthews. Here are a few local spots that are creating some of the best dishes in the city right now. They’re open for lunch, and they’re observing the safety guidelines that have been set forth by our government. You can’t beat it.
How can I help?
I think there are a few answers for people asking how they can help the restaurant industry. The obvious answer is “eat their food.” Let’s get a little more specific. Lunch is a tough cookie to crack for a lot of restaurants. Most restaurants can bring in a nice dinner crowd, but the lunch scene can be super difficult. You don’t want your lunch labor cost to cut into your dinner profit, which means it is often a difficult decision whether a restaurant wants to open for lunch or not. So I encourage you to do some research to find out which of your favorites are open for lunch. Then, go eat there for lunch.
It’s also important to be kind. I think this is a general rule for life, but servers and bartenders take a lot of crap from angry people because there are patrons who somehow think that they deserve a perfect dining experience every single time. God forbid something accidentally goes wrong, people will want to crucify the person serving them, and the easiest ways to do that is through rude behavior and cutting the tip. I see this on certain Facebook groups these days. There are people with an attitude of “I’m saving the restaurant industry, so I deserve…”, and if it weren’t for these people, all restaurants would die. Um, no. Here’s what you’re doing when you eat out: you show up, sit down, someone serves you so that you don’t have to do anything, and you get a delicious meal that you did nothing to create. That’s what happens when you eat out. You’re paying for a service and a meal that you receive. Look, if the service was beyond terrible, or the food was gross, talk to the manager, but don’t go blasting the server or bartender. Give someone a chance to make it up to you. Be kind and tip well for good food and good service. Now, if you’re eating lunch in St Matthews, here are a few places to keep in mind.
Saints Pizza & Pub
Saints is doing it again. They remain a St Matthews staple while continuously upping their game. Since executive chef, Justin Cruz took over the kitchen, Saints has added a daily special. We’re not talking about some thoughtless recreation of an existing menu item. Some of the daily specials at Saints include a pan-seared pork chop with patatas bravas, chipotle mustard cream, and arugula salad; The Golden Bird Sandwich – Buttermilk fried chicken with mustard BBQ sauce, sweet southern slaw & jalapeños; Specialty flatbreads; The seared Ahi Tuna salad; and quite possibly the best burger I have had in a long time, the WORD Burger – Worcestershire aioli, crispy onion straws, red pepper relish, and Danish blue cheese on a brioche bun. Wow. These daily specials are winning, and Saints still have one of the best patios on the planet.
Diamond Street Grub & Hops
Known for street food from around the world, Diamond Street Grub & Hops is another local spot that is committed to keeping you fed at lunch. Here you find a ton of space to spread out and maintain social distancing, a massive draft beer list, and some delicious treats from around the globe. Whether it’s the cuban sandwich, the street gyro, or the “Cluck Norris” fried chicken sandwich with Pop’s Pickles, slaw, cajun aioli, and pepperjack cheese, the Diamond Street Grub sandwich game is strong. On the lighter side, the Tuna Poke bowl is a refreshing salad that will certainly satisfy. Delicious burgers, Korean Chicken Bulgogi, and pulled pork BBQ rounds out this diverse menu quite nicely, and the service is top notch.
Looking for a healthy option that will still fill you up? Try Green District on Breckenridge Ln. Fresh veggies, meats, cheeses, and homemade dressings make up the bulk of this menu, and you can get in and out of here in no time. A personal favorite is “You’re My Boy Blue” – Marinated Steak, crumbled blue cheese, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes on iceberg & romaine, and topped with fried onions. I get both Blue Cheese & Balsamic Vinaigrette and I make it wrap. That’s right, you can make any of these fabulous salads into a wrap. Another favorite is the “GD Special” – Chicken, sharp cheddar, grape tomatoes, corn, black beans, red onions, and diced avocado topped with tortilla strips over iceberg & romaine. I get the Green Goddess dressing on this one. Yum. No matter what you get, you’ll be satisfied. Try it out!
There’s certainly no shortage of delicious restaurants in Louisville, many of which are serving lunch. At this time in our weird world, supporting local restaurants at lunchtime is one of the best things you can do. Next time you’re rolling through St Matthews, stop at one of these fabulous spots and enjoy an amazing lunch.
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