Favorite Restaurants Back Home

People always ask me what I miss about back home in Kentucky. After family and friends, I always have to say food. It’s my daddy coming out in me; that man can tell you the best place to eat in any small town in central Kentucky north or south. Inspired by the blog of my hubby’s friend Joe, I thought I would reminisce about some of my favorite places to eat back home.

1. Skyline Chili: Some of my Chicago-area friends have no idea what I mean when I say Cincinnati-style chili. When I explain that it is chili mixed with spaghetti, the only way I grew up eating chili, I get lots of looks of disbelief. Skyline is Cincinnati-style turned up to eleven. It’s addictive. I first had it when some buddies from work invited me to join them for lunch. When I discovered that beans were optional, they had me at hello. My first baby was baked on a 3-Way (spaghetti, chili, and shredded cheddar cheese), garlic cheddar bread, and their large sweet tea at least once a week throughout my pregnancy. They also used to have an excellent spaghetti with tomato sauce. Whenever we make it back to Kentucky, I try to schedule a trip to Skyline. (It’s been known to inspire spontaneous moans of joy a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.)

2. Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders: In a previous post I wrote about how my best job ever was at Mancino’s in Bowling Green. Even when we make it back to Kentucky, we don’t always make it down to Bowling Green. If we do, though, we try to hit Mancino’s. I always have such a hard time choosing, though, between a steak grinder (hold the veggies), the BBQ grinder (add pineapple for extra tang), or the Reuben. I have fond memories of the Hawaiian pizza and the taco salad as well. Oh, and the garlic cheese bread.

3. Tumbleweed: Tex-Mex. My favorite dish there is the chicken and cheese enchiladas with sour cream. I just haven’t found the like anywhere else. Plus there are the fond memories of my husband and friends downing their gigantic margaritas and questioning the waiters. (Who is the most famous person you have ever met? Who are the top three presidents of the 20the century? What color underwear are you wearing?)

4. Happy Inn: This little hole in the wall where Kentucky Street splits in Bowling Green was my introduction to Chinese food. It was also located directly behind my dorm. Sweet ‘n’ Sour chicken, fried rice, and egg drop soup. I’ve never found a Chinese place whose sweet ‘n’ sour sauce I have liked as well.

5. Backyard Burgers: This chain that had only one store in Louisville, but it had a delicious honey-mustard chicken sandwich. It was more honey than mustard, more sweet than spicy. The sauce stuck to the grilled chicken and the tasty bun. Throw in some waffle fries and a sweet tea and you’ve got a winner.

Sometimes I make a special trip to the closest Meijer to pick up some frozen Skyline. It’s not quite the same as the real thing, but it gets me by. If I get desperate for a taste from back home, we head for the Texas Roadhouse whose corporate headquarters is based in Louisville. Of course, so is the HQ for Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and of course KFC, but they don’t inspire the same level of taste bud devotion.

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2 Comments on “Favorite Restaurants Back Home”

  1. Joe Says:

    Glad to see that I’ve inspired you. A few things to add– one is that there is a Mancino’s in Louisville, if you make it back that far. I won’t pretend it’s as good, but it’s a good imitation anyhow. Two is that Happy Inn is apparently gone. I say apparently because over the last year or so, it’s been de-assembled and re-assembled several times. The building is for sale now and I think it may have finally bit the dust.

    All the Best,


  2. Laura Witten Says:

    BG has a backyard burger now. 🙂 I went by Happy Inn to reminisce not too long ago myself! And as for what Joe said – they have opened and closed too many times to count, so you never can tell. I dislike Chinese food, so I think I actually only partook (is that a word?) once, but always loved seeing the Muckrakers play there.
    And the Mancino’s you worked at isn’t there anymore, I don’t think (on Scottsville Rd) but the one near the ‘new’ Kroger on Campbell Lane was still there a few months ago. I don’t get that way very often!

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