Sometimes I’m slightly apprehensive about going to dinner at a restaurant with the word “cafe” in its name. In these winter months, a soup and sandwich just doesn’t cut it for me, and I need a little more substance on my plate before I face the harsh chill.
Then there are those cafes that make you feel like your presence is only allowed if you’re part of the “I’m so cool I’m going to pretend I’m not cool” crowd.
Thankfully, North End CafÃ©, – which sits on the tail end of Frankfort Avenue closest to the river instead of St. Matthews – is anything but snobby or assuming and the food choices go far beyond soups “˜n’ sandwiches.
“A long, long, long time ago this area and Butchertown were considered the most northern parts of Louisville,” said Chef Christopher Seckman.
You’ve probably passed North End CafÃ© a thousand times. Nestled in two shotgun houses, the staff has been serving up tasty eats since 2003. When owners Walton Jones and Dr. Whitney Jones and chef/part-owner, Christopher Seckman decided they were going to open a restaurant, they also decided there was only one way to do it: well.
“North End’s philosophy is to sell the best and freshest products available,” Seckman said. “We strive to use as many local, fresh ingredients in order to provide the, best quality product, for our guests.”
The exposed brick walls and high ceilings harnessed up by pillars and beams is the perfect backdrop to the cafe’s diverse menu.
By luck of the draw, on my visit, we managed to score a seat in the bar area. With plenty of natural light cascading over the impressive selection, it was also easy to notice the collection of local art on display. However, it was the extensive and well thought-out drink menu that had my companion’s attention. As he noted, bourbon enthusiasts will be pleased.
We were also thrilled by the tapas menu, which featured an array of choices, ranging from an empanada of the day ($8) to mussels, in a broth of white wine, butter, jalapenos, garlic and shallots, served with grilled Blue Dog Bread ($8).
At friendly manager Torri Coddington’s suggestion we went with shrimp piri piri ($8). The (five) jumbo grilled shrimp drenched in garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime and an olive oil marinade was the perfect amount of spice to warm us up from the recent snow fall.
For an entree, my date went with the all-natural burger ($9.99), a half-pound of all natural grass-fed ground beef; grilled with cheddar, swiss or bleu cheese and served with hand-cut french fries, another suggestion from Torri.
I ordered the Greek salad ($7.99), a generous portion of Romaine and mixed greens, feta cheese, nicoise olives, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onion, and sherry vinaigrette was so delicious it was hard for me not to jump up and yell, “Opa!” (Judging from the cheering crowd at the bar watching a game, had I done so, it would have been perfectly acceptable.)
Before we left, we learned North End CafÃ©, also caters. The menu and on-and-off site catering packages are numerous. If you agree to use one of the private rooms at the cafe, they’ll throw in a free tasting, which in my opinion is worth the money in gold (and Greek salad).
The North End CafÃ© is located at 1722 Frankfort Ave. in Louisville. Call (502) 896-8770 or go to www.NorthEndCafe.com.
Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The cafe is closed Monday.
Right off the beaten path of hip Frankfort Avenue, this down-home place is inviting and relaxing. Choose from a table in the dining room, the patio (during warmer months) or a booth near the renovated bar.
Parking is available on the side of the building or if its too crowded, street parking. This place is worth the walk.
Friendly staff hellos, sizzling breakfast bacon and laughs.
After a long weekend of working on The Voice-Tribune’s bridal issue photo shoot the first face I saw when arriving to North End Cafe was hair stylist extraordinaire Chris Avery enjoying a taco of the day.
Dish Everyone knows to order
Bacon and cheddar pancakes. Short stack $6.99; tall stack $7.99.
Eggplant casserole ($15.50).
Breakfast is served all day – and all night long.
Category: Out & About
About the Author (Author Profile)
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.