10 restaurants to try in south Louisville near Iroquois Park – Courier Journal

Is it just me or are the traditions we love here in Louisville that much more special now that we’ve lived through pandemic life? I hope this deep sense of gratitude for being able to go out and see friends and have fun never fades.
This year is the first “normal” feeling year for the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular since 2019, and even though the event at Iroquois Park has always been wildly popular, it’s one of those things I’m sorry to say I took for granted and never got around to attending.
Well, in 2022 and beyond, I’m not going to take these things for granted, and this, the 10th year for the immersive experience, will be my first time going. Of course, there can’t be an evening activity with friends without much discussion about where to eat!
I’ve written before about the growing and vibrant offerings in Beechmont, but only scratched the surface. So for some ideas for how to make a night of it, I chatted with 21st district Louisville Metro Councilwoman Nicole George, a passionate supporter and cheerleader of the community and its diverse food offerings. (I first met George when she led a culinary tour of the south end’s international market and knew out of the gate she was a kindred spirit!)
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So, while there are vendors with food at the event, George said, “one of the benefits of having the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park is you get to enjoy some of the dining options in Beechmont/Iroquois/Southside neighborhoods, some of the most diverse ethnic cuisines we have in the city.”
Here are some places to check out:
An easy option would be to head across the street before or after making your way through the pumpkin festivities, George says.
Colonial Gardens, 818 W. Kenwood Drive, has a couple of options in the evening, she says, with Taco Luchador serving up tacos and tortas that you can wash down with sangria or margaritas, and hearty fare like burgers and wings on hand at The B.A. Colonial. This spot is more than just a convenient place to grab a bite and is definitely not a strip mall situation.
“We’re really proud of our history,” George says, and the complex was the site of Louisville’s first zoo.
Also close by, “as part of that network on Kenwood you have Back Deck BBQ (801 W. Kenwood Drive),” she says.
Dishing out BBQ that pulls the best from several region’s styles (think Texas-style brisket, Kansas City burnt ends, and Memphis ribs), this joint promises no sauce needed. Honestly, they had me at the Burnt Ends bomb (Fridays and Saturdays only), with the trifecta of Burnt Ends, Pulled Pork, and Cole slaw heaped on a bun the way nature intended.
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Just a few minutes from the park “we have the Woodlawn corridor,” George says.
This city block, which gives me neighborhood envy every time I stroll it, packs in a slew of eateries with the flavors of the world.
“You have Annie’s Cafe, which is Vietnamese, you have Caribbean Cafe, which is Haitian, you have the Louisville Streatery which is a concept ― they currently have Fresh Out The Box which is there consistently, and then they bring in other vendors,” George said.
As part of that, there is going to be an event on Oct. 29 from 4-7 p.m.
“There will be food trucks and a street fair right there on Woodlawn. So what you could do if you’re planning to attend [that day] is stop in for the street fair, and then head down to the park,” she said.
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Depending on the ever-fickle weather in our fair city, this may be one of the last chances this year for a picnic dinner. Think outside the usual picnic box, and go for global flavors with something from, say, Kohmi’s desserts, 4134 Taylor Blvd. Savory and sweet treats (tamales and elotes or churros, anyone?). The new-this-summer shop is owned by two sisters, George says, “and everything is delicious.”
Nearby Salvadoran eatery La Guanaquita, 4231 Taylor Blvd., draws pupusa fans. The thick, handmade stuffed corn tortillas could hit just the spot before a traipse around the park.
Also new in the area, Yummi Yummi sushi, 7131 Southside Drive, was opened by the chef from Oishii Sushi at 2810 Taylorsville Road, George said. Sushi rolls make for a super-easy picnic so that should be a strong contender.
Whatever choice you make in this choose-your-own-culinary-adventure, don’t forget to get your tickets to the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular online ahead of time as they tend to sell out.
Happy Halloween!
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Tell Dana! Send your restaurant “Dish” to Dana McMahan at thecjdish@gmail.com and follow @bourbonbarbarella on Instagram.

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