Louisville Magazine recently rounded up a list of the city’s 37 most crave-worthy restaurants. I was thrilled to participate, because it gave me an excuse to visit some of my favorite dining destinations. Check out my picks, which represent two staples in my family’s diet: Asian fare and pizza. Bon Appétit!
CHIK’N & MI
2319 Brownsboro Road
When I first heard about the oddly named Chik’n & Mi moving into a spot that’s been home to a string of short-lived restaurants, my expectations were low. Turns out that skepticism was unwarranted, as the Clifton restaurant is bustling nightly and for good reason. This Asian comfort food joint focuses on Laotian-spiced fried chicken and ramen, both of which are delicious. But no meal at this restaurant would be complete without a few delicate pork belly steam buns. If you sit at the bar during happy hour (Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), you can feast on an assortment of “bar bites” — steam buns, lettuce wraps and egg rolls for a buck apiece, along with appetizers like fries sprinkled with bonito (dried tuna flakes) and miso mussels, which range from $5 to $7. It’s worth noting that the bartender did not give me the side-eye for bringing kids to happy hour, and in fact she cheerfully complied as my adventurous seven-year-old asked for increasingly spicy hot sauces — and then ultimately provided him with an unsolicited but much-appreciated glass of milk.
BUTCHERTOWN PIZZA HALL
1301 Story Ave.
It was a sad day when Papalinos Pizza closed on Baxter Avenue. The pizzeria offered New York-style slices in a town overrun with purveyors of extra cheesy, doughy options. Good news for Papalinos fans: Former owner Allan Rosenberg is the man behind Butchertown Pizza Hall, where patrons are likely to recognize some familiar flavors, like the delectable spicy chicken sausage. The first time I visited Butchertown Pizza Hall, inside the former Hall’s Cafeteria, across from the JBS Swift plant, my husband was “ravenous” and ordered two slices. That was ill-advised, as a single slice is a fourth of a large pie. But the pizza is so good that we managed to polish off all the slices, buttery garlic knots and a salad with goat cheese, cranberries and pine nuts. The best part: We leisurely enjoyed a couple local draft beers while our kids played in the arcade (Donkey Kong, Ms. Pac-Man) adjacent to the dining room.