Jerry's Restaurant opened in 1961, and since then it's served family-style meals, which incorporate some of the 15+ vegetables the kitchen uses. The team cooks breakfast, lunch, dinner, and whatever meal humans think up next. Their food ranges from cheesy spaghetti and lemon-pepper chicken entrees to potato skin and onion ring entrees. Jerry's serves the popular J-Boy sandwich—a double-decker cheeseburger with a special sauce—and even a hot fudge cake.
Joe’s OK Bayou claims to be “da best Cajun,” but there’s also a humility to the enterprise—starting with the playful name and extending to decor that alludes to a low-country shack with a sheet-metal awning and rough wooden walls. Home-style cooking comes naturally to owner Joe Wheatley, whose father farmed grain and raised hogs before opening similarly rustic restaurant The Feed Mill with other members of the family in a former feed-storage building.
Since 1995, Joe and his team have striven to introduce Louisiana flavors to a northern audience, seasoning crawfish étouffée and chicken-and-sausage gumbo with spices that are bold but not painfully hot. Visiting in 2008, the Courier-Journal’s Marty Rosen found that this mission succeeded, with “bold, accessible flavors, friendly, quick service and extremely affordable prices.” He also found oysters “big and glossy with fine, firm textures—as fresh-tasting as any I've eaten along the Louisiana or Alabama coasts” on the menu’s wide selection of simply prepared coastal creatures—fried gator tails, catfish filets, and frog legs among them. Abita beers, the star of the drinks menu, hail appropriately from Louisiana, and join wines and other domestic and imported brews at the full bar.
Movie Tavern transfixes one's taste buds and imagination by blending all-digital cinema with premium seating and sit-down dining. Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive 45 minutes prior to showtime, so that they can leisurely peruse an extensive menu of chef-inspired American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. Nimble and unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. At select locations, guests can opt to sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the bar before heading in to see a show. Audiences get to enjoy first-run films every week, retro cinema every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and breakfast food paired with early morning movies on Saturday and Sunday. While geared toward adults, the family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies along with film-inspired dishes. Guests can head to the bar or straight to the movie without ordering food, giving them some latitude in shaping their night out.
Additionally, Movie Tavern treats audiences to myriad benefits with their membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free movie ticket on the spot and one free ticket every year on their birthday, as well as invites to screenings and other special events.
In 1818, George and Elizabeth Moore built a new house in which to raise their future family. Their youngest daughter, Mariah, would go on to spend her entire life in the home her parents had bequeathed to her. When Rick Kelley and David Sears decided to transform the historic residence into a restaurant nearly a century after her passing, they chose the name to honor its longest-term resident. They also added a 3,000-square-foot expansion and restored the fireplaces, wood flooring, and brick walls to their original appearance.
Thanks to these refurbishments, Mariah’s old home seems to have found new life in the 21st century. Where she used to cook, chefs now hand-cut steaks and slide thin-crust pizzas into a large brick oven for firing. As Bowling Green's oldest standing brick structure, the nearly 200-year-old Mariah Moore House offers diners much to gaze at if they can pry their eyes away from the hearty fare on their plates. The building’s historic accents include a Brunswick bar top from the 1880s, an aged carousel horse, and a TV-video wall salvaged from Grover Cleveland’s presidential situation room.
Mama Lea's Kids Zone is aptly named. With fun games for all ages (including toddlers), plus pizza, this is the place to keep the kids happy. But the grownups should leave content, too, thanks to a menu packed with buffalo chicken wraps, philly steak and cheese sandwiches, and build-your-own pizzas. Along with being the spot for everyday family meals, Mama Lea's Kid Zones also hosts birthday or sports team parties.