In the heart of Bardstown lies The Java Joint, a refueling station where hungry patrons can stock up on sandwiches, soups, quiches, and coffee. The menu unfolds to reveal a long list of sandwiches, such as the 3rd Street club—a trio of roast beef, bacon, and provolone topped with veggies and blue cheese. Between bites of quiche or spoonfuls of soup, diners sip on freshly roasted Heine Brothers coffee, made from organic beans that were fairly traded for a rare baseball card. Plaid tablecloths, wooden chairs, and a wall of pottery make one part of The Java Joint's interior as rustic as a tree fort's breakfast nook; this look is starkly contrasted by a bright mélange of colors at the front of the eatery, where purple, green, and yellow walls sprout from a black-and-white checkered floor.
Every day, Snappy Tomato Pizza’s cooks mix high-protein flour in 60-quart mixers to create the fresh dough that gives the restaurant’s pies their signature taste. They adorn each round pizza crust with mozzarella cheese, fresh vegetables, and sauce crafted from the tomatoes of select California growers. They carefully separate tomatoes by acid content, with only the best ones used for sauce and the worst ones saved to throw at any smug looking teenagers. Oven-baked hoagie sandwiches, Tyson chicken wings, and cinnabreads topped with cinnamon streusel and vanilla icing round out the full menu.
Connected by an asphalt web of highways, state roads, and thoroughfares, blocky yellow signs gleam nonstop, casting a dandelion glow from the words “Waffle House.” The booths at the eateries fill 24 hours each day with the aromas of sizzling pork chops, Jimmy Dean sausage, and endless mugs of coffee. Line cooks brown shredded potatoes on a grill as waiters shout back in a language all their own for hash browns “smothered,” “covered,” or “topped”—served with onions, cheese, or chili, respectively. Angus burgers and steak melts share space on the rippling-hot surface at all times of day, allowing tired drivers to stop for food when they are on a long journey or just listening to an 11-hour drum solo on the radio. The first Waffle House switched on its lights in 1955, and some menu items still bear the names of Waffle House staff of the past, including Bert's chili from Dallas and Alice's iced tea.
Inside Cobbler's Cafe's sky-lit dining area, you can still see some of the original bricks from when the building was constructed in 1878. Since that time, it's been a doctor's office, a jewelry store, and a shoe-repair business. From shoe cobblers to baked cobblers, owners Jayme and Kristi Burden have transformed the space into a quaint café that serves coffee, espresso drinks, and organic teas aside breakfast dishes and baked goods. Diners can sink teeth into omelets and breakfast sandwiches loaded with bacon and cheese or pick up fresh-baked muffins and scones.
Delano's crafts a menu of delicious pizza, pasta, calzones, grinders, and more. Because tongues are fussy about what you feed them, the pizzasmiths forge their crusts out of fresh dough made daily, then they cover it with sauce that's measured out carefully, lightly applied, and politely thanked for its contribution.