Nestled in the Irish Hill neighborhood, Baxter Station Bar and Grill has served as a popular bistro frequented by patrons from near and far as much for the convivial atmosphere as the eclectic fare.
So it’s only fitting that owner Andrew Hutto is throwing a 20-day celebration in honor of the eatery’s 20th anniversary and in gratitude of his customers’ loyalty. “We pay attention and we know our customers by name. I think people really feel welcome here,” he said, “and that’s what keeps them coming back.”
Hutto opened Baxter Station on July 1, 1991, in its current location, a long stretch of a building that melds perfectly with the renovated shotgun houses nearby. A year later he added a deck that features a fireplace and retractable roof, making it a prime seating option all year round. The building was originally built in 1892 and used as everything from a neighborhood tavern to a grocery store. The name is derived from the now-defunct train station stop of the same name.
Today, Baxter Station isn’t a place to momentarily frequent. It’s a restaurant-turned-bar that attracts people from all over, particularly those in search of good food served by a friendly staff that just might know your name. (If you get the chance, say hello to veteran bartender and well-regarded artist Brad Devlin, who has worked at Baxter Station for 19 years.)
Baxter Station has 24 beers on tap and 30 bottles of wine under $30, though Hutto promises he’ll have 20 bottles of wine under $20 to go along with the 20-day celebration, which begins Friday, July 1, and is being honored every Monday through Thursday and Saturday throughout the month (Baxter Station is closed on July 4 and is always closed on Sundays). In addition to offering the usual summer menu, Chef Mark Albert will also bring back dishes from the past two decades, including Ginger Salmon, Tuna Au Poivre, Portabella and Pistachio Pasta, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Oysters.
Folks who frequent Baxter Station know you’re welcome to come as you are, and on most nights you’ll see patrons in all manner of dress, from casual attire to formal wear, by those who have made the Highlands hotspot their first stop before attending one of the area fetes.
Baxter Station accepts the Louisville Originals Rewards Card. In fact, Hutto was one of the co-founders of the initiative (www.louisvilleoriginals.com). The bistro is also on the Urban Bourbon Trail, which has brought visitors from as far away as Scotland, Ireland, Australia and all over the United States (www.justaddbourbon.com).
In addition to offering a different soup, quesadilla and dessert each day, you can get your fill of a variety of blue plate specials during lunchtime on weekdays. Most of those meals are priced between $6.95 and $8.95.
“We’ve been a comfortable, casual place with really good food for two decades, and we’re going to celebrate that,” Hutto said.
Baxter Station Bar and Grill
1201 Payne St.
Louisville KY 40204
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Reservations accepted for all party sizes.
Owner Andrew Hutto
Chef Mark Albert
Sous Chef Robert Gruber
Pastry Chef Ginna Mooser
Linguine tossed with Cajun spices, andouille sausage, cream and parmesan cheese.
Smoked Pork Chop
Center-cut chop slowly smoked over cherry wood, then quickly seared and finished with bourbon sauce. Served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Romaine lettuce tossed with sun-dried tomato walnut vinaigrette and topped with basil-seasoned fried goat cheese, roasted red peppers and toasted walnuts.
Black Bean Cakes
A mixture of black beans, peppers, and onions served on a bed of sweet red chili sauce.
Before Mark Albert assumed the position of head chef at Baxter Station, he refined his skills working at the now defunct Steam Fire & Ice and Judge Roy Bean’s, and the still-thriving Cumberland Brewery. Soon, Chef Albert will celebrate a decade of leading the kitchen crew at Baxter Station. “I’ve stayed because of the people,” he said. “It’s like a family here.”
How would you describe your style?
We kind of refer to it as New American. I like to incorporate different elements from all of the different cultures.
You really seem to enjoy cooking and interacting with your customers.
Actually, I enjoy eating more than cooking. (Laughs.) No, I really do enjoy it. I’ve been here for almost ten years. It’s all about using fresh product, using the best product I can and trying not to get in its way.
If you’re off the clock and just hanging after hours, what do you order at Baxter Station?
I love the pork chop. We smoke those in house. We seer it and finish it in a bourbon garlic butter. I usually have a beer, the Dead Guy Ale, or a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. It holds up pretty well to the chops.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.