I promised that I'd give my nieces, Amy and Sara Geiger, a shout out at some point in Road Tips. And since Jack Fry's in Louisville is one their favorite all-time restaurants when they go back home to visit their parents, this is as good a time as any.
I first wrote about Jack Fry's here when I went out to eat there with my sister, Nan, when I was in Louisville last year. She told me that Jack Fry's is somewhat famous around Louisville for having a great gourmet hamburger. I made a note on that and promised myself that I'd give it a shot at some point.
After having dinner with my sister and brother-in-law, Vic, at their house the night before, I decided to give Jack Fry's burger a try before I left to head down to Bowling Green. The Highlands area on Bardstown Road where Jack Fry's is located (see map) is always hustling and bustling. Finding a parking spot in the small lot on the side of the restaurant is usually done by pure luck. It just so happened that as soon as I was pulling into the lot to see if anything was available, a car was pulling out of a space.
I walked in the side door and was greeted by a hostess. I asked if I could sit at the bar for lunch and she gave me sort of a surprised look. "Why, of course," she semi-exclaimed. She took me to the bar and handed me the lunch menu as I sat down on a stool.
Actually, Jack Fry's is almost too nice of a place to have a bar. But the place was established back in the 1930's just after the repealing of Prohibition. Jack Fry was a reputed bootlegger and bookie who ran the place as a beer and shot kind of place. In the 1970's, and under new management, Jack Fry's went through a metamorphosis into an upscale dining establishment. It has been hailed as one of the finest places to eat in Louisville for a number of years.
The lunch menu isn't too deep in choices. And quite honestly, I really thought about getting the pork tenderloin sandwich, roasted in spices and topped with a red peppers, onions and Havarti cheese on a toasted roll. But I came for the burger and that's what I got. I got it topped with swiss cheese and caramelized onions. A side of hand cut fries came with the burger.
As more people filtered through the restaurant during the lunch hour, I patiently waited for my burger. I kind of got the notion from the bartenders that sitting at the bar was sort of gauche. The two guys behind the bar were efficient, but not very friendly. When I was served my burger and fries, it was given to me with not much of a word from the server.
Getting over the rather chilly service, the Jack Fry's burger was everything my sister told me it would be. The meat was fresh, moist and flavorful. The bun - what I think makes a good burger - was light, flaky and wasn't chewy. It was very, very good.
But it should have been good given the level of cuisine served at Jack Fry's. I probably would have given it five stars had I eaten it in a greasy burger joint with the smell of stale beer in the air. But Jack Fry's food is top notch and no matter what you get on the menu it's going to be very, very good. I don't know if I'll go back to Jack Fry's specifically for a burger, but any meal at Jack Fry's is a big treat.