"We don't want to be your dental office—we want to develop a lifelong friendship," says the staff at Skees Family Dentistry, where Dr. Dawn Skees leads a team in caring for patients during all stages of life. Her practice's mission statement prizes patient comfort, fostering anxiety-free dentistry through an unhurried pace and step-by-step communication—whether cleaning chompers, straightening smiles with ClearCorrect aligners, or performing oral surgery. Dr. Skees believes in educating patients to take better care of their teeth, even sharing her expertise over the airwaves as the exclusive dentist on the Body Talk radio show on 970 AM WGTK.
Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets has always been ahead of its time. Founders Rob and Pumpkin Auerbach have sold all-natural supplements and organic food for more than 35 years—starting well before many Americans had even heard of such nutritious goodies as wheatgrass or fruit. "My father always said that they opened the store about 10 years too early for the area," daughter and COO Summer Auerbach told Vitamin Retailer in 2012, when the publication named Rainbow Blossom Retailer of the Year. But when world-famous rock bands began touring around Louisville, they relished Rainbow Blossom's wholesome pastas, produce, and macrobiotic and vegetarian cuisine, boosting the revenue and reputation of the mom-and-pop grocery and helping it expand to its present-day network of five locations.
Today, the family-run enterprise enjoys an avid following from health-conscious customers who stock up on organic dairy, produce, and veggie burgers or enrich their diets with nutritional bars, supplements, and vitamins. Plant extracts and amino acids keep bodies in healthful balance, and shelves full of naturally derived cosmetics, bath products, and housewares keep homes free from harsh chemicals and damaging pollutants.
The deli denizens at Mike Best's Meat Market hand-slice sandwich meat, assemble a medley of prepared fare, and reign over an impressive potpourri of proteins, including handmade sausages. Midday visitors can peruse a variety of offerings from the lunch menu before sating hunger or filling cracks in building foundations with marinated steak sandwiches ($7.25), or a rotating selection of plate lunches ($7.99). Mike's handmade, house-smoked sausages ($6.19/lb.) are available in a variety of encased varieties, such as herb-flecked english bangers, spicy italian sausages, and german brats. Expertly butchered cuts reclining inside deli cases include rib-eye steaks ($18.99/lb.), pork chops ($4.99/lb.), and lamb loin ($18.99/lb.). Those opting to dine in can nosh on edibles inside the casual dining room, equipped with two flat-screen televisions, complimentary WiFi, and unlimited napkin-related conversations.
A third-generation family pharmacy established in 1952, Butt Drugs keeps regulars coming back with an old-fashioned soda fountain and friendly service. Treat-seekers and rogue dentists can pick up a variety of gourmet confections, such as homemade marshmallows covered in caramel—known as modjeskas ($8/lb)—or tuxedo espresso beans covered in white and dark chocolate ($8.95/lb). The shop's own line of novelty apparel lets fans show support for a local institution and amass raised eyebrow glances by donning an "I Love Butt Drugs" T-shirt ($9.95) or hooded sweatshirt ($18.95). With a reliable pharmacy and cheap cups of fresh hot coffee ($0.35) at the barstool-lined soda fountain, many locals make Butt Drugs a regular daily stop.
Dedicated to combining the pleasures of tea and "good, wholesome food," according to co-owner Karter Louis in the Louisville Eccentric Observer, Hillbilly Tea invites patrons to sip at organic whole leaf teas and feast on mountain-inspired fare made from locally sourced ingredients. Like in a lavish dollhouse sauna, steam rises from mugs filled with black, green, herbal, and rare teas, from the sweet, full-bodied Swamp Tea to the aromatic Darling. Ingredients from local enterprises such as Duncan Farms and Stone Cross Farms combine for contemporary fare based on traditional Appalachian recipes, and vegetarian options such as barbecue tofu burgers slay hunger more effectively than a medieval knight in a chain-mail apron. Praised for its "old-fashioned country cooking" by the Courier Journal, Hillbilly Tea complements its brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes with savory additions such as chai butter and tomato jam.
Nestled into a historic late-19th-century building, River Bend Winery offers an eclectic mix of American fare augmented by wines forged on-site at the downtown location. Hail hungry mouths with the chef's selection of artisan cheese and fruit on the sweet-tasting tray ($11), or nibble the Maryland-style crab cakes ($9). Main attractions on the dinner menu include the slow-roasted pork osso buco in a red-wine-tomato sauce ($19).
Haymarket Whiskey Bar surrounds imbibers with a historical patina as craft beers flow from seven rotating taps. Tastings treat sippers to a selection of five different craft beers of American and Belgian descent selected from the bar's extensive collection of brews. The seven-beer allotment rotates regularly, keeping the bartender busy as they discuss each sample's highlights and ensure that customers' taste buds don't commit the faux pas typical of overfamiliarity.