A destination for shopping, dining, and family fun
Louisville’s eastern suburbs, mostly located between the Watterson Expressway (I-264) and the Gene Snyder Freeway (I-265), are home to thriving communities like St. Matthews, Jeffersontown, Middletown and Norton Commons. Each East End community features some of the city’s top restaurants, plenty of shopping and indoor recreation and countless outdoor activities.
Eat & Drink
Breakfast lovers will delight in several options including neighborhood favorites, Cheddar Box Too and Highland Morning. Both have breakfast versions of Louisville’s famous sandwich – the Hot Brown. Or get your Biscuit Belly on with the St. Matthews location of this growing local business. For 100 years, Plehn’s Bakery has been making donuts, cakes, bread and more for generations of Louisville families. You can even grab a pimento cheese or Benedictine sandwich at their old-fashioned lunch counter for a taste of nostalgia.
World flavors abound from street tacos in a festively themed El Taco Luchador and Cuban staples like ropa vieja at Mojito in Havana to a modern twist on Asian classics at District 6, Vietnamese quick service at NamNam and the best of Thailand including all spice levels of satay and pad thai at Simply Thai.
Keeping it stateside and Southern are Lou Lou Food + Drink with their twist on Louisville meets Louisiana and the longtime classic Equus & Jack’s Lounge where you can enjoy fried chicken with buttermilk gravy in the comfort of leather couches if you prefer and wash it all down with one of their legendary Bourbon cocktails. (Literally, the late Bad Girl of Bourbon, Joy Perrine, originated many of the recipes in her famous cocktail book behind the bar at Jack’s – Bourbon Ball cocktail is a must!)
The center of St. Matthews is known for its nightlife and concentration of walkable bars and pubs. Listen to live music at Tin Roof or Gerstle’s Place, one of the cities oldest bars. Rack ‘em up at the Fox Den or take in the local pub feel of Drake’s or The Raven where soccer fans gather for Premier League games and bluegrass pickers have weekly jam sessions on Wednesdays.
At Chenoweth Square, you’ll find several local boutiques. Pick up fashions and accessories at Merci and Lemon Tree. For home décor, there’s Fleur de Lis. Find unique gifts at Cartwheels Paper & Gifts. If you’re traveling with your four-legged friends, pop by the pet-friendly Three Dog Bakery.
Down the street is Colonial Designs, a local favorite for flowers, fashions and home décor. Head further east for larger shopping centers and malls (Mall St. Matthews and Oxmoor Center, and outdoor shopping center, The Paddock Shops) featuring national names. Nearby is Westport Village, home to more than a dozen walkable local shops and restaurants. A new Ballard Design & Frontgate outlet is luring in furniture lovers from around the region.
Eat & Drink
Whether you are looking for a quaint lunch spot with good food or a unique local barbeque joint, you can satisfy your appetite at one of the many Middletown restaurants. Popular lunch spots with Southern flavor are Cheddar Box Café or Cottage Café along historic Main Street. Foodies will enjoy the adventurous small plates and wine pairings at LouVino. Rumors’ fresh seafood and wings have been attracting locals for over 30 years. Enjoy live music at the Blind Squirrel and Barrel 33. Enjoy Louisville’s take on hot chicken at Joella’s or Royal’s Hot Chicken. Masa Japanese Bistro & Sushi have menus filled with fresh sushi and noodle bowls. Pair good food with craft beer at Great Flood Middletown. Several local favorites have brought their popular cuisine to Middletown like Simply Thai, and Havana Rumba. Looking for a pizza to share? Head to local pizzerias Bearno’s, Coal’s Artisan Pizza, or Impellizzeri’s (order the breadsticks—trust us). BBQ fans need to plan a visit to Mark’s Feed Store where they have been serving famous BBQ and sauces since 1988.
Growing from an early settlement to trading center to small city, Middletown is a vibrant suburb that offers small-town charm. Restored cottages along the historic Main Street are home to friendly, locally-owned shops and restaurants. Middletown is also home to the legendary Valhalla Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, this course has hosted multiple PGA events and a Ryder Cup.
Explore the two century-plus history of the community at Middletown Historical Museum or get outdoors at Beckley Creek Park. Part of the Parklands of Floyds Fork, this park features a community garden, walking trails, picnic areas, a fishing lake, as well as agricultural fields at the site of a former distillery. For indoor family fun, check out Renaissance Fun Park’s laser tag, mini golf, arcade and go-karts.
Don’t forget to browse the boutiques along Middletown’s Historic Main Street, including Chick A D’s, Gather and Prickly Pear Boutique, featuring women’s accessories and home décor. Magnolia & Fig offers stylish attire for ladies. Unique fashions, jewelry, home décor and gifts can be found at Two Chicks & Company. Find all things Kentucky at A Taste of Kentucky, or discover treasures at Red Barn Antique & Art Emporium.
Eat & Drink
Come dinnertime, plan a night of “games, grains (beer and Bourbon) and grub” at RecBar or line up for the popular burgers at Mussel & Burger Bar. Try 3rd Turn Brewing for a pub-style gathering spot with 20 taps. El Taco Luchador is the spot to go for tasty tacos. Barbecue, Southern-inspired sides and Bourbon slushies are menu highlights at Feast BBQ. Indian options from Biryani to Vindaloo can be found at the newly opened Vindhu Bhojanam or Honest. Barcelona Bistro offers tapas, paella, sangria and more Spanish treats.
Year round, visitors can explore Kentucky’s natural legacy and early settlement history at Blackacre, Kentucky’s first State Nature Preserve. The 170-acre farm and 1785 homestead includes an 18th-century cottage, spring house, barn and pre-Civil War farmhouse. Indoor family fun is found at Kingpin Lanes with video games, karaoke and Highway 66 mini bowling lanes. Ride go-karts and throw axes at Bluegrass Karting & Events.
Eat & Drink
Start your morning with a muffin, scone or gluten-free or vegan pastry at FIX Coffeehouse & Bakery. Dig into a burger at Karem’s Grill & Pub or pan-Asian eats at Tea Station Asian Bistro. Mercato Italiano serves up paninis and salads for lunch, but really shines at dinner with homemade pastas, a curated wine list and a celebrated patio. Commonwealth Tap is a cozy neighborhood bar. For artisan-made, Italian ice-cream, there’s Gelato Gilberto or the unicorn cake ice cream at Sugar Tree Sweet Shop. Stay at family-operated bed-&-breakfast Chateau Bourbon, which is centered on, you guessed it – Bourbon. The decadent three-course Southern breakfast is lauded.
Located in East Louisville, this walkable urbanist community is quickly building a reputation as a shopping and dining destination. The community also has miles of walking trails, a rose garden, a bocce court, parks and a vibrant town center. Norton Commons borrows from timeless design aesthetics of great neighborhoods like the Highlands and Old Louisville, while also incorporating influences from Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans.
The neighborhood is packed with locally-owned boutiques, all within walking distance of one another. Pick up a Derby fascinator at The Hat Girls. For fashions and accessories, there’s LuluBelles, Something Blue, Blue Loverox Boutique and Underpinnings Lingerie. The latest home décor can be found at Set The Stage.
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