What best defines a “hole in the wall” establishment is more about ambience than architecture. Easy access, casual, affordable and more often than not, a local best kept secret, are the things that inspire lunchtime traditions for many patrons.
Other criteria might be the seating capacity, a few table tops or perhaps just a counter. Some have that “Mayberry” appeal, others are more downtown. Awards for community sports teams on the wall, local publications on the counter, lively banter from weather to traffic, family news to politics is in the air.
The one-on-one service with a smile on an owner’s face and a hefty chopping knife in his or her hand makes for a comfy rapport in these small yet popular diners.
Folks who are used to dining in larger establishments or even chain restaurants might consider the hole-in-the-wall to be more of dive in their book – so they miss out on a great experience off the beaten path.
There are an array of mom ‘n’ pops, start-ups, family owned and operated and local traditions to serve your midday meal in style – either on the run or for a table of friends.
One such Louisville tradition is Frank’s Meats & Produce. Described as a “carnivore heaven,” this local favorite handles anything from a Dagwood sandwich to event catering is loved by its loyal following. Near the Fairgrounds on Preston, Frank’s is easy to find. Just pull up to where the asphalt lot meets the chain link fence and go in for a freshly prepared lunch and pick up some fruit and veggies for the house on your way out.
If you’re downtown getting your vehicle registered around noon, hit the east crosswalk and you’ll be smack dab in front of AP Grocery & Deli. Enter the narrow doorway and head all the way back. They’re pretty much a hallway squeezed into the 200 block of 5th Street but a whole lotta cookin’ goes on inside. The busy store is carry-out only so you’re on your own for a table. If that table is your office and you’re tied to a deadline, AP delivers. One of today’s special’s in meatloaf, by the by.
Enjoy savory visit to the Mediterranean in the Deer Park neighborhood of the Highlands. Whether its to-go, menu orders or buffet, the Pita Hut offers fresh-from-scratch Greek sandwiches, salads and entrees. Falafels, kabobs, hummus and babganoush, gyros. olives, baklava are as authentic as the gentleman who serves them. With the expansion of the restaurant into the neighboring side of the familiar Bardstown Road building, there is plenty of room to spread out. Hopa!
Handing it over to my Facebook foodies at this point. Here are their hole-in-the-wall suggestions as they were posted:
Sari Sari. Excellent Filipino fare on Frankfort Avenue.
Joe DaVola’s on Barrett- it’s crazy good!
D Nalley’s on South Third w/o a doubt.
Who could not enjoy Check’s Cafe?
Check out the Mexican restaurant next to August Moon – it used to be the Cycle Coffee Shop / BBQ. I stopped in there Sat & had the best fish taco I’ve had outside of CA!
Mirage on Preston
Sante Fe Grill, the purple building on Third Street. Cheap and authentic Mexican
Lonnie’s in St. Matthews
Send in your favorite hole-in-the-wall dining spot! It’s never to late to suggest a good deal and a great meal.
Thanks for supporting our local economy, one sandwich at a time!