Off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
is a review of things to do, places to stay
and honey holes to visit off the
Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Mammy's Kitchen & Barby Jeremy Schell
There is just something special about a good, authentic, southern cooked meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. That feeling of total satisfaction, gluttony perhaps, when the only thing that will feel better would have been to remember to wear your stretchy pants because you're not going to say no to the last biscuit. Think about it, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, meatloaf, fried pickles, country fried steak, pancakes, waffles, cheese, and oh, even more cheese. Seriously, is there anything better?
When you’re in Bardstown, Kentucky, either visiting or touring several of the outstanding local distilleries, you’re going to want to enjoy a great meal, so get Off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and visit Mammy’s Kitchen & Bar. Now don’t let the name fool you, Mammy’s offers everything from relaxed dining seating, bar seating, and even casual seating near their stage where you can listen to local artists from time to time. They always seem busy, but don’t worry, there will be a table for you. From my experience, the service is always outstanding. If all this wasn’t good enough, the cocktail, whiskey flight and bourbon menu is one of the best you’ll find in the area.
Open seven days a week, Mammy’s starts offering breakfast at 6:30 a.m. every day except Sunday, when they open at 8 a.m. Lunch is available every day, and dinner, Tuesday through Saturdays. The cooking at Mammy’s is just how our grandmothers would make it, especially if they are from the South. It is always a shame when it’s said everything on the menu is good, but at Mammy’s, everything is delicious.
If you’re arriving for breakfast, choose between one of the numerous omelets, breakfast sandwiches, including Shaved Country Ham Biscuit ($4.99), Biscuits & Homemade Sausage Gravy ($4.99). Breakfast entrées include: Steak & Eggs ($11.99), Hangover Skillet ($9.99), or start your day with the Kentucky Breakfast Hot Brown ($12.99). You’ve never had a hot brown until you’ve experienced one from Mammy’s. If sweet is your jam, the Bourbon-bon Pancake ($8.99), Blueberry Pancake ($6.99), and the Stuffed French Toast ($8.99) will all make you crave a large glass of whole milk to wash them down.
For lunch or dinner, the starters are a meal unto themselves. My personal favorites are the Bacon Cheese Tots ($8.99) and Fried Pickles ($6.99). Also enjoy the Fried Green Tomatoes ($7.99), Crispy Onion Rings ($8.99), or just be healthy and have Mammy’s Stuffed Tomato with homemade chicken salad stuffed in a fresh tomato on lettuce ($7.99).
The sandwich and burger selection are second to none and perfect for soaking up a fun-filled morning of distillery tastings. You can never go wrong with any of these sandwiches including the; Kentucky BLT with fried green tomatoes, homemade pimento cheese and bacon ($8.99), Fried Bologna & Cheese ($7.99), Mammy’s Reuben ($8.99) or the Best Grilled Cheese EVER on Texas toast, American and pepper jack cheese, tomato and bacon ($7.99). Although they call it the Best EVER, I have to agree. Sometimes the carnivore in you must be satisfied and Mammy’s burgers are just the cure. Try the Southern Burger with homemade pimento cheese and two fried green tomatoes, the Bourbon Burger with Uncle Marty’s Bourbon Sauce, Swiss and fried onion straws ($9.99), the Breakfast Burger with country ham, fried eggs, Swiss cheese and maple mustard ($9.99), or my personal favorite, (yes, there’s a pattern here), the Hot Brown Burger with grilled Texas toast, turkey, country ham, Morney, shredded cheddar, bacon and tomato ($10.99). If you’re really hungry or just trying to satisfy that growing tapeworm, double up any of the burgers for $2 more.
The dinner entrees remind me of Sunday night dinners after church. My grandmother would laugh and tell stories while getting the meal prepared and slap my hand for grabbing a spoonful of mashed potatoes. There’s nothing better than the Downtown Kentucky Hot Brown (yes, you may have heard about this before). Grilled Texas toast, oven roasted turkey and country ham covered in Mammy’s Morney and topped with sliced tomato and bacon ($12.99). Of course, you’ll wish you were riding a bigger Hog on the way home when you’re done. If a mountain of cheese, meat and bacon isn’t for you, try the Bourbon-grilled Chops – two 6 oz. pork chops grilled and covered in Uncle Marty’s Bourbon Sauce, topped with fried onion straws and two sides ($15.99). The Chicken-n-Waffles ($13.99), Smothered Grilled Chicken ($13.99) and the Country Fried Steak ($12.99) are all excellent choices. If you’re arteries are clear or you just don’t care, go for the Chicken-Fried Chicken, Boneless all-white meat chicken, breaded and fried. Served on top of cornbread and smothered in white country gravy ($12.99), it’s amazing! Please take a moment for yourself to ponder all of these, I just did.
Don’t let the food scare you away, no self-respecting bar in Bardstown, Kentucky, would be complete without an endless bourbon and whiskey selection. Like many Kentucky bars, the bourbon list can be somewhat overwhelming, however, Mammy’s offers several pre-selected whiskey flights. Each flight is a one ounce pour of three selected whiskeys made by Mammy’s bar staff. Several excellent options include the Out on Bond ($18) which includes the Jim Beam Bonded, Henry McKenna 10 yr., and Old Grand Dad. The Only in Kentucky ($14) – Heaven Hill 6 yr., JW Dant, JTS Brown is an excellent choice. The Old Fo’ ($20) – Old Forester 1870, Old Forester 1897 and Old Forester 1920 is a great value for the money and the Beautiful Booze ($25), which includes Willett Pot Still, Blanton’s, and Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit is also a fun flight to enjoy.
If you’d rather enjoy a 2 oz pour of your favorite whiskey, prices are both affordable for some and a little steep for others. Because everyone’s wallet is different, here are few to consider: JTS Brown ($6), Henry McKenna 10 yr. ($9), Wild Turkey 101 Rye ($9), Old Forester 1920 ($11), Weller Antique ($12) -- this is a great buy for the price, Jefferson’s Chef Collaboration ($12), Woodford Reserve Double Oak ($15), Blanton’s ($16), Maker’s Mark Cask Strength ($16), E. H. Taylor Barrel Proof ($18) – another great buy for the price, Elmer T. Lee ($20), Rock Hill Farms ($20), and Weller 12 yr. ($20). Now if you’re looking to spend a little more coin for something you may have trouble finding, any one of the 2016 - 2018 Old Forester Birthday Bourbons may still be available ($40). You can also try the Willett Family Estate 10 yr. Rye ($40), William Heaven Hill 14 yr. ($55), Blade & Bow 22 yr. ($60), Elijah Craig 18 yr. ($60), Kentucky Owl ($65), or the oak bomb, Heaven Hill 27 yr. ($100). As expected, no Kentucky bar would be considered legitimate without some Pappy on the shelf. You’ll certainly be able to see the bottles and for the price, might be worth trying before they are gone. Prices are not outrageous for Chicago, DC or NYC, so if you’re in town and enjoying the Trail with friends, show off your baller status and sip on a pour of the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 yr. ($70), Pappy Van Winkle 15 yr. ($90), Pappy Van Winkle 20 yr. ($140), or, Pappy Van Winkle 23 yr. ($160).
When you’re Off the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Mammy’s Kitchen & Bar is authentic Kentucky charm, southern cooking and an outstanding bourbon bar. Visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just an afternoon dram.