Sandwiches are delicious. I can’t get enough. A couple of years ago I wrote an article about some of my favorite sandwiches in Louisville. Now it’s time to revamp that list. Since the first article was written, more than 15 new restaurants have shown up in Louisville with at least one sandwich on their menu. Some of the old favorites still hold true, but I have to admit that the newcomers are no joke. If you like sandwiches, you should make your way through this list. Inevitably someone will say that I forgot one. I’m sure that’s great, but to me these sandwiches have definitely earned the title of Louisville’s Top Sandwiches.
BRISKET SANDWICH | Red Barn Kitchen | Lyndon
I know the name Reed Johnson only because I have tasted the brisket that he makes. It’s hard to forget. It’s better than any. I have had the pleasure of tasting this brisket in many different dishes prior to RBK. Now, Reed brings what is quite possibly the best brisket in the world to Fernando Martinez and his crew at Red Barn Kitchen in Lyndon. It’s smoked to perfection and piled on a tasty bun. There isn’t much else to say. Get the sandwich and ask for a side of Alabama White Sauce. That’ll do.
KY CUBAN SANDWICH | Monnik Beer Company | Germantown
First off, people tend to talk about the Cuban sandwich like it’s a scientific formulation for the perfect potion to cure the hungry. It’s pork, cheese, pickles, and bread with some mustard, people. Let’s save the Nobel Prize for other contributions. But seriously, I love Cuban sandwiches. I love the crispiness of the pressed bread, the gooeyness of the cheeses inside, but most of all I love a creative adaptation of the original. That is exactly what Germantown’s Monnik Beer Company has done. They have Kentuckified the Cuban sandwich and it is awesome! They pile it on with deviled pork shank, KY country ham, pickles, cheese, and house-made beer mustard. The flavor is fantastic. Try it with a Monnik IPA.
SHRIMP PO’BOY | Cafe Lou Lou | St Matthews
Cafe Lou Lou will always have at least one of my favorite sandwiches in Louisville on their menu at at all times. Whether it’s the chicken portobello roll or the spinach artichoke roll it doesn’t matter because neither will fail me. However, today I bring you something that is often offered as a daily special, in hopes that it will become a standard menu item. The BBQ Shrimp Po’ Boy at Cafe Lou Lou has quickly become my new favorite! The term “BBQ” is meant in the New Orleans sense of the word. It describes the amazing mixture that the shrimp are cook in to produce a plethora of flavors that explode in your mouth. The “crusty on the outside, yet soft and awesome on the inside” French bread comes directly from New Orleans, and you cannot beat it. Get a side of cajun crisps with this sandwich and you’re good to go!
PBLFT | 502 Cafe Smokehouse | U of L Campus
502 Cafe, which was formerly just a food truck, recently opened a permanent location near U of L, and they have created their own version of the BLT. PBLFT stands for Pork Belly Lettuce Fried Tomato, and it’s quite simply one of the best sandwiches you can find in Louisville. The smoked pork belly is fantastically tender and it literally melts in your mouth. The house-made fried green tomato adds crunch and flavor, and the famous 502 Cafe Bourbon Bacon Jam is the icing on the cake that brings all the flavors together to party. Loaded up on Texas Toast with an order of sidewinder fries, this sandwich will make you happy every time you eat it.
FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH | Royals Hot Chicken | NuLu
The Nashville-style hot chicken trend has certainly made its way into Louisville with full force. Hot fried chicken has appeared on menus all over the city, and quite a few restaurants solely dedicated to the concept have opened and flourished. When the folks behind Feast BBQ decided to get on board and open Royals Hot Chicken, I knew it had to be delicious. The menu is simple: you get chicken tenders, tofu, or a sandwich, and they also have a couple of salads. The fried chicken sandwich is the bomb. Fried chicken tenders with mayo, pickles, and some iceberg lettuce is all setup on a potato bun. All you have to do is pick one of the five different spice levels and go. Add a side of pimento cheese grits and you will become a repeat customer.
HALO CHICKEN SANDWICH | Saints Pizza & Pub | St Matthews
When Saints changed up their menu and decided to start using a smoker, I was all over it. Throughout the process of reinventing themselves they stumbled upon a few things: 1) A fantastic smoked chicken wing and 2) The Halo Chicken Sandwich. Brined and smoked pulled chicken gets piled high on a bun and topped with pepper jack cheese, crispy onion straws, and finished with the Halo sauce, which is a sweet and spicy sauce that makes your tongue dance. I would also have to recommend the Halo sauce for your wings. The Halo Chicken Sandwich goes great with a Bells Two Hearted Ale. If you visit them during the warm months, eat on their patio!
BEER CHEESE PHILLY | Flanagan’s Ale House | Highlands
I already wrote about this sandwich, but I wanted to make sure it was mentioned among friends…other sandwiches. I don’t know exactly what makes this sandwich so fabulous, honestly. The beer cheese is delicious for sure. But I think the main reason this sandwich always tastes to good is because it is consistently steaming hot with the same amount of onions and peppers, and the same amount of beer cheese. There’s so much to be said for consistency, and I think this sandwich is on that train. The steak is super juicy and the bread is soft and warm. I usually get the onion rings with it because Flanagan’s onion rings are crunchy and awesome. Lagunitas IPA works just fine with this sandwich.
FISH SANDWICH | The Fishery | St Matthews
Sometimes you just want a big piece of juicy, golden brown, perfectly fried fish with homemade tartar sauce sandwiched between two pieces of plain white bread. That’s exactly what you get a the St Matthews staple, The Fishery. While The Fishery has more deliciousness than just this simple item, it’s also important to point out that you can get a fried fish sandwich at a lot of local restaurants, and it’s usually pretty good. The Fishery just makes a perfect fish sandwich. That’s all. It’s not fancy, it’s not made with truffle oil or a sweet and spicy pineapple chutney. It’s just the basics and it’s great. Get some hushpuppies on the side and thank the owners for rocking!
These Louisville sandwiches aren’t the only sandwiches in the city, but they are some of the best. The fact that the Louisville restaurant scene is where it is today speaks volumes about the number of talented chefs in this town. Get out there and eat some sandwiches!
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