A Bar to Call Home

Wings, the Hot Chick chicken sandwich and the pulled pork barbecue sandwich.

Wings, the Hot Chick chicken sandwich and the pulled pork barbecue sandwich.

There’s nowhere quite like The Back Door in Louisville. A neighborhood bar and grill located on the side of Mid-City Mall in The Highlands, The Back Door is just as known for its delicious and widely appealing food as it is for its cheap and strong drinks as it is for its laid-back pool table atmosphere. At few other places in town can you find such a diverse and friendly group of people eating, drinking and playing pool on a Wednesday night, and for that alone, Louisville is endlessly fortunate to boast such an establishment.

There’s nothing wrong with showing up at The Back Door to grab a couple drinks – well drinks are only $3.25 with daily specials often offering some for as low as $2.75 – and hang out with friends. But you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not head to the, ahem, back of The Back Door to check out the food menu and order a few things to share.

There are certain items on the menu that are absolute staples. The bombers, for example, are unforgettable. Delicious hand-wrapped wontons filled with blackened chicken, jalapeños and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses paired with a sweet chili sauce make for the perfect snack while drinking, as do the wings, one of The Back Door’s most famous offerings. Available in a variety of sauces, wings can be seen on nearly every table when a big game is on TV or when the bar nears capacity on a Saturday night.

DSC_0065Andy Sorrell has been the kitchen manager for the last six months and is quick to credit The Back Door’s regulars with the fact that the menu has remained mostly unchanged for so long. “I was given pretty free reign to come in and do what I wanted, but we’ve got such a great customer base here and so many awesome, almost daily regulars that I didn’t want to come in and start changing everything around,” he describes.

Sorrell has been in the industry for roughly 20 years, learning from different chefs around town. His training, along with owner John Dant’s trust in him, are what has allowed him to create different specials almost every day that demonstrate his own technique as well as his knowledge of his clientele’s palate. In fact, The Back Door is about to add a few new items to its menu, some of which have been past specials.

DSC_0067Sorrell is especially excited about one particular item that many, many customers will be equally delighted to see added: boneless wings. “They’re in very high demand,” he contends of the soon-to-be menu item. “I’ve been working here part-time for about three and a half years, and ever since I started, people have been asking for them. And any time we get some in and run them as a special, they sell like hotcakes.”

Another upcoming addition to the menu is a barbecue pulled pork sandwich. Sorrell explains that it’s important to have different dishes on the menu that cater to The Back Door’s distinct crowds. Early in the evening, he says, a slightly older crowd tends to order the club sandwich, the fish sandwich and soups. Meanwhile, later at night, the younger crowd usually sticks to the fried items and more sharable offerings.

To capitalize on this pattern, The Back Door as of late has implemented a late-night menu that’s a bit more scaled down to the eatery’s best-sellers and dishes it specifically wants to promote. But regardless of whether you show up for that menu or the full one, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. “It’s a big menu and pretty balanced with something for everyone – from salads to the cheesy, bacony everything and everything in between,” Sorrell laughs.

The Back Door serves food from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. So next time you’re craving a bite in The Highlands, check out the famed and storied Back Door. Take a seat at the bar or grab a table on the outdoor patio. Whether you’re looking for nachos, a quesadilla, a Reuben or an egg sandwich, The Back Door has you covered and will serve it up with all the neighborhood friendliness guests have come to expect for years. VT

For more information, call The Back Door at 502.451.0659 or check them out online at thebackdoorlouisville.com.

  • James Michael Ritz

    Great article on a great bar and owner…Way to go John Dant…