We can all agree that air travel has become, shall we say, less glamorous over the past few decades. Between smaller seat sizes and overbooking of flights, it seems we are treated more like cattle than VIPs. But what if we could add some refinement to air travel? What if there was a place inside the airport you could go, sit down, relax, and have a terrific meal to insulate you from the indignities placed upon you by the whole air travel experience? Well, good news! Such a place exists and you can find it at the Louisville International Airport’s Book and Bourbon Southern Kitchen.
The Louisville International Airport (recently renamed the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport) offers nonstop flights to over 30 destinations, including just recently, Los Angeles. Thanks to it being a major UPS hub, they rank third in North America in the amount of cargo handled. This means there are a ton of passengers and packages coming and going, especially during the week of Derby. So, it only makes sense that such a place should have dining options that rise above your typical Subway or McDonald’s (not that there’s anything wrong with those places!) The fine folks with HMSHost created Book and Bourbon Southern Kitchen to highlight the spirit of Kentucky through its culinary offerings and you need to put it on your list of must-eat places.
The visual aesthetic of the restaurant would be enough to make you happy and forget you’re in an airport. The brown tones, worn wood, barrel head décor and backlit bar displaying bottle after bottle of bourbon beckons you inside. And once inside, you will be equally elated at the offerings on their bountiful menu. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you can be sure to satisfy your hunger no matter the time of day. Besides the usual lineup of salads and sandwiches, Book and Bourbon has special menu items that reflect the things that we here in Kentucky like to eat that are made with Kentucky Proud products. Fittingly, these are indicated on the menu with the outline of Kentucky next to them, and they are the ones you want to order! For an appetizer, the sweet potato bravas are an excellent way to start your meal. Roasted sweet potatoes caramelized with local honey are intermingled with jalapenos and sit on a bed of whipped avocado. The buttermilk fried chicken and waffles with its maple bourbon butter would earn the approval of any good Southern cook. Don’t forget the cornbread, either! Even if you don’t think you like cornbread, try this! It’s grilled and drizzled with honey. You will be smacking your lips and asking for more. The portions are plentiful, the service on point. And if you have room for dessert, which may be difficult, there is Derby pie with ice cream to take you to the finish line.
If you aren’t particularly hungry, and want to kick back at the bar, why not get to know more about the spirit that people all over the world identify with Kentucky? The friendly and knowledgeable bartenders at Book and Bourbon will be glad to walk you through a bourbon tasting of a few of the more than 85 bourbons they have in stock, including rare labels like Pappy Van Winkle, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, George T. Stagg, and Jefferson’s Presidential Select. They have something for the novice right up to the bourbon snob. Another plus is they have recently been named as one of the 44 official spots on the Urban Bourbon Trail. Before you hop on that flight, keep in mind you may be sitting next to a crying baby on your flight, so you want to fortify yourself accordingly.
It’s no wonder that Book and Bourbon has won numerous awards, including the 2018 Airports Council International - North America, Excellence in Airport Concessions Awards: First Place for Best New Food and Beverage (Full-Service Concept). But don’t take our word for it, get out to the airport to try it for yourself. Even if your destination is Detroit in the dead of winter, you will be happy to arrive at destination delicious when you choose to spend some time at Book and Bourbon Southern Kitchen.
PS. A big thank you to the wonderful staff and service for such an amazing experience and these wonderful swag bags!