Voted best date night spot in Louisville
By Sarah Carter Levitch
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
Beloved in the community since its opening in 1933, Jack Fry’s has become a Louisville classic filled with distinct charm and character. Known for their bistro southern style cuisine with a French influence, the restaurant serves the perfect atmosphere for a romantic night. We spoke with owner Stephanie Meeks to learn a bit more about the restaurant’s history.
What is the history of Jack Fry’s?
Malachi Jack Fry and his wife Flossie opened the doors in 1933 in the exact same location it proudly stands today. Jack had a vision of opening a restaurant to entice community gatherings and camaraderie. He also had a passion for sports wagering, especially boxing and horse racing, so the restaurant quickly became a casual sportsman’s hangout. A much-loved character, Jack, though tough as nails, would give food and drink to patrons that couldn’t pay their bills. Jack was also known to conduct book-making discretely from the back room and to indulge many, including city officials, during prohibition. The restaurant became a local hotspot, and over the years, Jack thoroughly and proudly displayed his precious photographic memories, many of which remain today. Susan Seiller bought the restaurant in 1987, the same year that Jack passed away. She and Chef Shawn Ward transformed the casual eatery into a culinary favorite.
How did you come to be the owner?
I began in 1996 as a host and quickly fell in love with the restaurant’s history and the hospitality industry. I was approached to help manage the restaurant and decided to quit my full-time sales job and happily jump in. After years of management, Susan surprised me out of the blue and proposed I purchase the historic business and real estate. It all came to fruition in February of 2008. The loving support of the community was and continues to be overwhelming. With the help of Chef Duncan Williams and the excellent staff, I am incredibly proud to expand and carry on the tradition and vision of what Jack and Susan created.
Why is Jack Fry’s the ideal spot for a date night?
The cherished atmosphere is perfect for a date night. It is dimly lit with a live piano that is energetic yet relaxing, cozy and sexy. Haunted with generations of pivotal memories, the stimulating space makes you feel alive and in the moment while also taking you back in time.
What are popular appetizers and entrees?
Some of the favorites include the ricotta gnocchi tossed in a calvados cream sauce with roasted mushrooms and broccolini. Spicy fried oysters served over Weisenberger grits with country ham. Green onions in a beurre blanc, sorghum-braised beef short ribs and black truffle glazed vegetables served over sweet potato purée, crispy risotto stuffed with crucolo and parmesan cheese served atop kale pesto. Prosciutto-wrapped chicken saltimbocca served over creamy polenta and roasted brussels sprouts finished with a lemon-caper berry thyme jus.
1007 Bardstown Rd.
Louisville, KY 40204