Growing up on Bardstown Rd I experienced the greatest neighborhood transition in the history of the Highlands. I look back and remember a lot of the restaurants and shops that have come and gone. I remember seeing entire city blocks transform by way of renovated buildings, and storefronts that once sat empty being filled with life again. The 90s was a crucial decade for the revival of the Highlands. Many of the businesses that were instrumental in the success of the neighborhood are still going strong. One of those businesses is Uptown Cafe at 1624 Bardstown Rd, and I went there for my junior prom dinner back in 1997.
what would you say ya’ do here?
Uptown Cafe is one of the first upscale casual restaurants in the Highlands. Situated on the corner of Duker Ave and Bardstown Rd it has a prime location right in the middle of the Deer Park and Bonnycastle neighborhoods. Formerly, the Louisville classic was flanked on one side by its sister restaurant, Cafe Metro, which closed in early 2007. Now the restaurant has been renovated, updated, and still cranks out delicious food in a great atmosphere at a nice price!
where would you like to sit?
I will sit anywhere that they will allow me to sit! The atmosphere inside Uptown Cafe is great. It’s never too loud to carry on a conversation, the art and decor will catch your attention, and if the weather allows, you can sit outside and watch the Highlands go by. Whether you sit in the bar, at a table, or al fresco, the atmosphere is very inviting.
what are you having?
Uptown Cafe’s menu is a treat. On it you will find some traditional American fare with an inventive twist at every turn. Chef Matt Weber does a fantastic job of keeping things interesting by marrying traditional flavors with more of a modern flare. Although this Highlands restaurant has been around for 20+ years, it keeps up with (and often surpasses) the food and beverage newcomers that are rapidly appearing in Louisville. It’s also nice that they point out the gluten free items on their menu. On our recent visit, we started with the Smoked Gouda and Tomatillo Queso. I had never tried it before, but now it’s one of my favorite appetizers in the city. This is NOT a standard, generic cheese dip. In fact, when it comes to the table, you may think they brought you the wrong appetizer. It’s not heavy, and the flavors are fantastic. My wife got the Roasted Chicken Breast with red wine sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh veggies for dinner, and I got the Grilled Ginger and Beer Marinated Flank Steak with veggies and au gratin potatoes. The flank steak was very tender and perfectly cooked. The au gratin potatoes and the veggies were flavorful and fresh. The whole time we were eating I kept saying, “I can’t believe it’s been so long since I have been here.” I definitely won’t let much time pass before we return. Other favorites of mine include the Jaegerschnitzel and the Chili Rubbed Pork Chop. Every entree they offer is under $20, with the exception of the Grilled Beef Tenderloin and occasional specials.
where’s my server?
I have never once had to ask the question, “where is my server,” at Uptown Cafe. After working in restaurants for fifteen years of my life there’s one restaurant quality that I appreciate more than anything else, and that’s a knowledgeable, attentive, happy server. Great service is just the perfect cap on top of all the awesomeness that is Uptown Cafe.
Don’t forget about this classic Highlands establishment because it will impress you every time to walk in the door. Your next date night should be at Uptown Cafe on Bardstown Rd in the Highlands. Make your reservation online!
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