A Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Tour of Kentucky

Kristina Rosen

What could be better than a tour of Kentucky based around food? If the tour was guided by Guy Fieri.

If you haven’t seen Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives or you don’t know who Guy Fieri is, then you 1) don’t watch enough cooking shows, 2) live under a rock, or 3) don’t appreciate good American food. This popular Food Network show follows food guru, Guy Fieri, as he travels to the best diners, drive-ins, and dives across the country.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised Guy has made a few pit stops here. Kentucky is home to unique eateries from roadside diners, hole in the wall dives, and vintage drive-ins. If you’re goal is to travel more or try new places throughout Kentucky, let Guy lead the way on your next adventure.

The Parkette – Lexington

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to eat in an old-time classic drive-in like the ones in movies? If so, look no further than The Parkette. Located off East New Circle, this retro diner is best known for its atmosphere and food choices including burgers and shakes.

Guy’s Favorites: Double Burger and Kentucky Poor Boy


Wallace Station – Versailles

Located along the Bourbon Trail, this beloved neighborhood deli is best known for their sandwiches and baking everything from scratch. Guy couldn’t stop raving about their Big Brown Burger made with beef, ham, bacon and creamy Mornay cheese sauce.


Rick’s White Light Diner – Frankfort

Authentic Cajun cuisine in Kentucky? I’ll take it! This little diner serves southern favorites like Louisiana crawfish pie and oyster po’ boys. According to Guy, Rick “can’t even spell bland.”

Guy’s Favorites: Oyster Po’ Boy with French Bread, Chef Rick’s Classic French Bread, Louisiana Crawfish Pie  


Guy’s Louisville Favorites:


Louisville is introduced to its first “bed & beverage” thanks to this new local eatery. What was once an old Highlands Victorian home is now renovated into a coffee haus and cafe. Come for their fresh made-from-scratch foods, but stay (the night) for their guest rooms on the top floors.

Their cheesy bologna sandwich won Guy over. This sandwich includes two fried slices of housemade bologna perched on a cheese-smothered brioche bun. Topped with a sunny-side up egg, mustard greens and splash of hot sauce to finish.

The word “dynamite” was used to describe the sandwich. I’ll leave that up to you as I opt for Guy’s next pick: the lamb grits.


Grind Burger

What started in a tiny trailer has now become the ideal spot to find the best chef-driven burgers in the area. Think Grind Burger’s grass-fed patties are noteworthy? Wait until you try their veggie patty made from roasted veggies, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and more. Even Guy can attest to the phenomenal taste and texture.

Guy’s Recommendations: Veggie Burger, Cuban Sandwich


Irish Rover

A pub located in Louisville, Irish Rover is known for its authentic Ireland flavors and dishes. If Lamb-Stuffed Cabbage and Cottage Pie is what they serve in Ireland, I’m screwed.

The cabbage rolls, as the name implies, are stuffed with a wine-and-whiskey-laced mixture of ground lamb, vegetables and seasonings.

Another notable dish is the Cottage Pie, which is made from a stew of beef, potatoes, vegetables and Guinness. Then served in a sourdough bread bowl, and topped with potatoes and shredded Cheddar cheese.


Momma’s Mustard

Louisville meets Kansas City style BBQ thanks to this barbeque spot. As the name would suggest, Momma’s Mustard is best known for their housemade mustard and pickles. Try the beef ribs paired with pickles or dry-rub chicken wings paired with buttermilk ranch dressing.

As Guy said after smashing a basket of chicken wings, “Good smoke, nice rub.”


Seafood Lady

A tire shop turned restaurant, Seafood Lady is the place to find the best Florida-style seafood in landlocked Kentucky.

It was love at first bite when Guy tried the full combo platter: a seafood dish of jumbo shrimps, a snow crab cluster, smoked sausages, an ear of corn and a Cajun boiled egg, all doused in a Cayenne-spiked sauce. He also recommends The Hulk: a homemade waffle topped with fried lobster and shrimp.


The Table

Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a restaurant, eat a good meal, and then pay what you wanted? At The Table, you can.

All meals are pay-what-you-can, and some diners even choose to help around the cafe in exchange for their meal. The farm to table cafe in Louisville puts the community first and offers fresh meals made from locally sourced ingredients.

What does Guy recommend? The pork butt: smoked with a barbecue spice rub, shredded onto a Kaiser roll, then topped with housemade condiments like chili mayo and a pickled relish known as chow-chow.


Word of advice: Don’t mess with Kentuckians and their favorite local restaurants. If Kentucky is known for two things it’s their loyalty to local food and Kentucky basketball.