The Rise of Red Herring

Chef Jacob Coronado.
Photo courtesy of Jaimie Schapker.

A glimpse at the artful kitchen behind the popular bar

Content provided by Estes Public Relations

Appalachian meets Tex-Mex in Jacob Coronado’s kitchen, where he’s taken his Houston roots and paired them with the love of his adopted Louisville home to create Red Herring Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen’s new brunch. 

“Huevos rancheros was the ultimate breakfast for me growing up. That is the taste of home,” says Red Herring’s chef and co-owner. “And everyone loves a burrito, especially for brunch.”

Coronado’s version of huevos rancheros combines house-smoked brisket with breakfast potatoes, black beans and chipotle crema. He also adds the smoked flavor to pork and hollandaise on his eggs benedict. The French toast uses brioche made locally by Wiltshire bakery and is topped with bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, Angostura bitters whipped cream and blueberry jam.

It’s the kind of fare you’d expect at a tiny neighborhood cafe where you wait in line for an hour to eat at one of the three tables before it closes at 2 p.m. – except Coronado’s kitchen is open until 2 a.m.

Red Herring opened in the historic Hilltop Theater last spring and brought more than just life back to the iconic space. It brought about a new way of drinking and eating in Louisville.

“We’re a bar that goes above and beyond,” Coronado says. “We source all our ingredients from local farms, and what we can’t get from them we make ourselves. You will only find lunch, dinner and brunch dishes made with what’s in season. We also consider what we would want to drink with (the dishes). Our goal is to take the techniques we use for upscale dining in a big restaurant kitchen and adapt them for a bar.”

Red Herring’s risotto is a prime example. During beet season, Coronado whipped up a beet version with candied orange, sunflower seeds, carrot crumble and parmesan. Bar manager and co-owner Clay Livingston then took those ingredients as inspiration for a drink.

“We took the remaining juice and combined it with rum, ginger syrup, lime juice, orange flower water and a roasted lime wheel to pair with the dish,” said Livingston. 

One of the first drinks on the menu, the basil-melon Collins, was inspired by the cantaloupe Coronado included on his charcuterie board.

“We used a rum base with a basil and melon syrup and froze melon juice into ice cubes,” explained Livingston. “The initial sips tasted closer to a Collins, but as the ice melted you got a stronger melon flavor that enhanced the food.”

It’s not only the flavors that matter; it’s the techniques, too. Coronado and his team use a special machine to clarify the oil for their olive oil bonbon that’s served with certain dishes at lunch and dinner. Livingston used the same machine to clarify milk for a spin on the classic white Russian.

Few places in Louisville put this much thought into a cohesive dining and drinking experience for guests. For any appetite, Red Herring can provide the ultimate culinary experience, even for brunch. VT

Red Herring Cocktail Lounge & Kitchen

1757 Frankfort Ave.


Events and specials

Derby and anniversary party

All day Saturday, April 28 through
Saturday, May 5

Covered patio with heaters or fans

Four varieties of mint juleps

Beat the Bartender Karaoke

Tuesdays 8 p.m. to midnight

Sunday Social

Every Sunday starting at 6 p.m.

All you can eat barbecue ($8)

Bourbon specials

Live Bluegrass music

Weekend brunch

Every Saturday and Sunday

10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

$2 mimosas

Rent out Red Herring:

Host your next birthday, wedding shower or engagement party at Red Herring. The upstairs mezzanine is available for any size party – from ten to 97. There is no room fee.

Food options range from $15 to $25 per person. Drink menus range from $18 to $35 per person. Email or call 502.907.3800 to reserve a date.

Brunch menu

Biscuits & Gravy ($9) Sausage provided by Groce Family Farm in English, Indiana mixed with a house-made gravy poured over flaky, buttery scratch-made biscuits and topped with the house bourbon barrel-aged hot sauce. 

Smoked Pork Eggs Benedict ($7) Homemade English muffin topped with smoked hollandaise sauce and pulled pork.

Huevos Ranchero Burrito ($12) Traditional tortilla stuffed with black beans, breakfast potatoes, smoked brisket and topped with a spicy chipotle crema. 

French Toast ($8) Griddled Wiltshire Bakery brioche smothered in blueberry jam, bourbon barrel maple syrup and topped with a dollop of Angostura whipped cream.

Breakfast Sandwich ($8) Groce Family Farm sausage patty topped with American cheese and a fried egg between two slices of fresh Wiltshire Bakery bread. Guests can replace sausage with bacon and add blueberry jam for an extra cost.   

Breakfast Hash ($15) A breakfast classic done right with crispy breakfast potatoes, bacon cured in-house, tender onions and peppers and topped with melted American cheese and two sunny side up eggs.