If you are visiting Louisville and you ask someone on the street “What’s a unique Louisville place I could sample while I am here?” I imagine five out of six people would direct you to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, a rather one of a kind and rather world famous sort of place. Lynn’s is, full disclosure, probably my favorite restaurant in Louisville. Notice, I didn’t say it was my favorite FOOD in Louisville, but we will talk about that later.
The thing that Lynn’s does best of all is atmosphere. Walking into Lynn’s is sort of like walking into an FAO Shwartz as a child—there are just so many things to LOOK AT! So many things to SEE! So many SMELLS AND COLORS AND GLITTERY THINGS! This must be how dogs feel all the time. Lynn’s has a giant coffee pot pouring foaming coffee out front, Lynn’s has a big stone moose and turkey, Lynn’s has a horse that looks like a toaster, and that’s all before you walk into the shop. The shop itself is filled with fun little gadgets and do-dads. Once you’re seated, (perhaps at a table showcasing a tiny moving train inside, or one of the ugliest lamps displayed throughout the shop and restaurant, or most likely a little can full of plastic animals to play with) Lynn’s becomes a tad less shiny. Now keep in mind, I LOVE THIS RESTAURANT. I LOVE IT. But I tell you honestly I have very rarely received good service. Several times I have waited too long for the food that, when it arrives, it arrives cold; BUT NONETHELESS, I LOVE LYNN’S. The food is delicous, absolutely. I’ve eaten almost everything on the menu, so I’m going to do something a little different here and make a list of the stand outs and the stand downs.
1. The Boubon Ball French toast is crunchy, sweet, dessert-y perfection.
2. The pecan chicken is tender and succulent and infused with a bacon-y delightfulness that does not disappoint
3. The Portabella mushroom wrap offers a healthy option without sacrificing taste
4. The biscuits are big glorious hunks of buttery, bready goodness served with soghum butter, strawberry jam, and sweet cream butter.
5. The mac n’ cheese (when not overdone or served cold) is excellent. Not as good as Avalon’s lobster mac, but still reasonably good and people rave about it.
6. The FRIED GREEN TOMATOES NEVER DISAPPOINT.
DO NOT EAT
1. The drinks. The drinks are good but unless you LIKE paying ten dollars for a six ounce dirty martini you could get down the street for four dollars, don’t bother. Their specialty drinks go in and out but are mostly too sugary.
2. The Bourbon Ball milkshake, unless you’re a HUGE FAN OF BOURBON. It is like drinking straight whiskey with a cream chaser. Bunny and I ordered it expecting a flavored milkshake, and we actually sent it back. WE NEVER SEND ANYTHING BACK.
3. The hot brown—flavorless mess. Absolutely. If you’re going to get a hot brown in Louisville, Bristol does a really good one.
4. The onion rings and the sweet potato fries, if they’re not straight from a bag, do a really good impression of freezer burned treats. I love a good onion ring but Lynn’s usually disappoints in this area. BUT THEY HAVE UPON OCCASION BEEN DELICIOUS.
For any kind of party or celebration, Lynn’s is a neat and cheery place. I did my 22nd birthday there, and our recent “White trash night” pictured above, kicked off there to much delight from all. You must go to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe at least once, if not to sample the delectable fare, then at least to marvel at the atmosphere.
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