"Louisville may be a recent discovery on the national scene, but it has been a regional hot spot as far back as the Civil War days, when locally famous joints like Mazzoni’s would rush fresh oysters North from the Gulf in boxcars filled with ice on the old Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Some mistake us for “Southern” because of the influence of the Appalachian diaspora here and migration from rural farms, but Louisville is actually an urban industrial city first populated by German, Irish, and Italian immigrants from the Northeast (akin to Cincinnati, St Louis, and Milwaukee).
"As it was then, so it is now: Louisvillians love to eat, drink, dine, dance, and gamble, offering a tempting getaway to the more dour Scotch-Irish who came over the Cumberland Gap to populate Kentucky’s rural counties. In modern times, an established foodie community has stood ready to rapidly embrace modern trends from bistros in the ‘70s to regional Chinese in the ‘80s; with the ‘90s came brewpubs and microbreweries and waves of immigrants and refugees drawn by our long tradition of welcoming new arrivals, and they brought with them a remarkable array of international fare.
"In the past decade, aggressive efforts to reinvent downtown and inner-city neighborhoods have gifted us with hot new restaurant zones like NuLu (East of downtown), making creative use of 19th-century buildings with impressive gastropubs and farm-to-table eateries that have drawn national attention. So has our close connection to bourbon whiskey, including the city’s much publicized “Urban Bourbon Trail” that connects fine eateries that also graciously serve Kentucky’s adult nectar."
-- Robin Garr, editor at Louisville Hot Bytes