Cubana Restaurant owner and head chef Mariolis Mora draws on the culinary skills she cultivated in Santiago de Cuba to craft a menu of traditional Cuban cuisine. She grills shredded beef and tosses it with garlic and lime juice to forge her ever-popular vaca frita, and she presses roasted pork, spanish chorizo, and serrano ham between hot bread to build classic cuban sandwiches. For dessert, a cup of cuban espresso offsets the sweetness of housemade flan or bread pudding.
Lauded by the Courier-Journal as a “beach paradise,” Cubana Restaurant’s interior complements the authentic island cuisine. Palm trees pop against vibrant orange and turquoise walls, and the sound of Cuban music inspires impassioned air-bongo solos.
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.
The cheery yellow walls of The Floral Grind Coffeehouse instantly perk up entering clientele, giving patrons the early morning boost they need as baristas top off cups of steaming coffee and aromatic teas. Sharing space with its flower-shop alter ego, the café features a walk-up counter for guests to leisurely peruse the menu as well as a drive-through window that speedily delivers drinks to customers super-glued to their driver’s seat. Behind the counter, baristas combine energizing shots of espresso with syrups available in a variety of classic and sugar-free flavors to fashion a full menu of lattes, cappuccinos, and frozen coffee drinks that match the current season. An assortment of muffins, loaded oatmeal, and biscotti accompany the café beverages, giving guests something to nibble on as they utilize the shop’s free WiFi.
Inside Fuji’s modern, lounge-like dining space, dimly lit by drop lighting, hibachi chefs flip shrimp and slabs of new york strip steak on the grill. Meanwhile, sushi chefs chop, blend, and roll ingredients into 65 varieties of colorful rolls, many oven baked, partially or fully tempura fried, or draped in spicy and sticky sauces. Bartenders pour international wines, beers, top-shelf spirits, and a wide range of sakes to complement each dish. As diners toast to a romantic dinner date with someone special or a successful business lunch with an entrepreneurial sock puppet, servers bustle between tables, ferrying traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes such as broiled mussels, spicy gyoza pot stickers, sukiyaki steaks, and deep-fried, katsu-style pork and chicken.
Certified Angus-beef burgers and cheesesteaks made with marinated, thinly sliced rib eye anchor the menu at Philly Steak & Burger Sports Bar. Chefs cook everything to order and pair meals with piping-hot sides, such as onion rings and sweet-potato fries. The spacious dining room is equipped with plenty of flat-screen TVs and a full bar serving whiskey and moonshine cocktails.
At both of Mango's Bar & Grill's Louisville locations, guests chow down on hearty Mexican fare, from sizzling fajitas and California-style burritos to slow-cooked chilaquiles or zesty fish tacos. But the menu also features American pub treats—think spicy chicken wings and cheese fries—beside south-of-the-border classics such as seasoned carnitas and steak tampiquena.