A loud whistle sounds off in the distance, signaling the arrival of a diesel locomotive. The train pulls past dozens of trees and into the station. It’s just another day at the Kentucky Railway Museum, where new and restored trains take visitors on nostalgic journeys through the New Haven countryside. The stationary exhibit hall—a replica of the original New Haven depot—houses a collection of railroad artifacts and memorabilia ranging from rail carts and dining cars to steam whistles and the discarded mustaches of malevolent railroad barons.
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.
Colonel Eure opened his first pizza restaurant in 1964 and when time came to open another franchise five years later, he named it Gatti's Pizza in honor of his wife's maiden name. The Gatti's Pizza empire steadily expanded over the next four decades, thanks in part to a commitment to high-quality ingredients such as real cheese, yeast-risen dough made fresh daily, and a 16-ingredient secret sauce protected by Swiss bankers. Today, chefs prepare specialty pies such as the barbecue chicken and bacon double cheeseburger pizza and bake custom creations from a choice of 17 toppings and three crust options. Many Gatti's locations boast a dining room complete with a big-screen TV, and some include a Veggie Tales room, a sports room, and a game room.