Eliza Myers

State Spotlight: Kentucky


Eliza Myers
Published March 05, 2014

Barbecue smoked all day to perfection, bourbon with a smooth finish and fresh ingredients straight from the farm all contribute to the plethora of flavors that connect people to Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State boasts a number of original recipes. Groups can experience innovative dishes like the hot brown, mutton barbecue and spoon bread at various restaurants across the state that made those recipes famous.

Crowds from all over the world go to Kentucky for tastings of local bourbon brands, most of which can be sampled at the Kentucky Bourbon House. For a less traditional distillery experience, the Silver Trail Distillery’s new venue offers crafted moonshine.

Whether it’s the classic hot brown or an innovative distillery, groups can choose the version of Kentucky cuisine and spirits that appeals most to them.


Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn


The first recorded barbecue in Owensboro’s Daviess County happened in 1834. Barbecue fires have been almost continuously lit ever since. Each May, thousands of barbecue fans flock to Owensboro for the International Bar-B-Q Festival.

Travelers can enjoy Owensboro barbecue year-round at the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn. Since 1963, the restaurant has served the region’s traditional barbecue, which has become known for its use of mutton rather than beef. This difference originated from the region’s surplus of sheep compared to beef cattle.

The restaurant’s buffet serves up all the barbecued mutton a diner could want, plus homemade sides like corn muffins and burgoo, as well as numerous desserts, including warm cobbler.




Bowling Green

Exciting changes lie in store for a south central Kentucky favorite. After more than 25 years of serving regional cuisine, Mariah’s will move in April from its historic building to the first-floor development at Hitcents Park Plaza in downtown Bowling Green.

The new location brings more seating, updated equipment and favorite menu items such as specialty salads, hand-cut steaks and pasta dishes. Mariah’s also prides itself on preparing freshly brewed tea, freshly squeezed orange juice and desserts made from scratch in-house.

The beloved restaurant will serve as the anchor of the development, which will include a total of five restaurants. The new location is next to Bowling Green Ballpark and includes banquet room facilities for larger groups.



Kentucky Bourbon House


A mint julep on the veranda of a 1787 Federalist mansion can provide a relaxing evening after a day of touring Kentucky’s extensive Bourbon Trail. In case groups do not have time to tour all nine distillers on the trail, the Kentucky Bourbon House welcomes guests for bourbon tasting and dinners.

Michael and Margaret Sue Masters own the Chapeze Mansion, which they have transformed into the Kentucky Bourbon House. Groups of up to 55 can enjoy sampling regional bourbons while listening to humorous anecdotes and ghost stories from Masters. Visitors can choose from 60 premium, ultrapremium and rare Kentucky bourbons.

For a more educational experience, Masters offers Bourbon University, where he shares his knowledge of bourbon over 10 premium bourbons, two Kentucky ryes and a classic Kentucky lunch.

Margaret Sue Masters offers cooking demonstrations and prepares the traditional Kentucky cuisine for the site’s dinners.


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