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Kentucky: Fry up some fun in the Bluegrass State

Nosh on fried chicken, fresh veggies and more in the Bluegrass State. It’s a trip that even the Colonel would love.

Drive 196.1 miles, 2 hours, 47 minutes


1. Bowling Green

Starting Point

Bowling Green is home to some of the best sustainable farms in the country. Every autumn, southern Kentucky hosts the Food Day Expo, a day-long event aimed at anyone who grows, sells, buys, prepares or eats food. Local farms like Need More Acres and the Root Cellar, a store that specializes in selling locally grown meats, dairy, veggies and produce, promote sustainable foods. Home Café & Market Place is an organic foodie restaurant that specializes in gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, subs and garden fresh salads where each meal is the “real deal.”


2. Louisville

Drive 115.1 miles, 2 hours, 3 minutes

Louisville is a foodie’s nirvana, serving eclectic dishes, urban cuisine and regional favorites that keep food lovers coming back for more. One of the most memorable dining experiences in the city happens at the iconic Brown Hotel. For old-world elegance, it’s dinner at the AAA four-diamond English Grill, serving contemporary American cuisine with a Bluegrass twist. J. Graham’s Café is the home of the original “hot brown,” that decadent concoction of turkey and bacon with a sinful Mornay sauce slathered on Texas toast.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Shelbyville

32.3 miles, 45 minutes

Shelbyville is considered the Saddlebred Capital of the world and home to the restaurant that made Kentucky synonymous with fried chicken—Colonel Harland Sanders’ world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken. Today, Claudia Sanders Dinner House is a Southern dining tradition serving up down-home American dishes like country ham, chicken livers, pork chops, corn pudding, and yes, amazing fried chicken, but not the Colonel’s recipe. Wrap up dinner at the Saddlebred Lounge for a round of Kentucky bourbon enjoyed in a relaxing Southern atmosphere.

Getty Images/Hemera

Getty Images/Hemera

4. Lexington

48.7 miles, 59 minutes

Lexington offers a myriad of dining options, from dinner out for the horsey set to casual, regional fare. Even healthy eating is making an impact on the local dining scene. The Merrick Inn, named after the oldest Kentucky thoroughbred in history, is revered for exceptional Southern food. Savor one of the Inn’s rare and vintage bourbons after dinner.