There’s no question about it – Bardstown, Kentucky, is indeed a small town. But the experience it offers is nothing short of huge. Steeped in Southern tradition and surrounded by breathtaking countryside, Bardstown boasts a quaint and eclectic community spirit as well as the coveted title “Bourbon Capital of the World®.”
Bardstown was settled in 1780, making it Kentucky’s second-oldest city. And in the 237 years since then, its residents have truly perfected the town’s unique culinary atmosphere. It features something special (and delicious!) for every kind of hungry traveler – including historic restaurants like Old Talbott Tavern, which is rumored to be haunted by the infamous outlaw Jesse James, and My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, an ever-elegant 1940s culinary experience on the move.
If you’re new to the Bluegrass state, you’ll want to make sure that no matter where you go, you order the heart and soul of Bluegrass culinary creations – the one and only Kentucky Hot Brown. This decadent comfort dish is an open-faced sandwich with turkey, country ham, and bacon. It’s covered in a creamy Mornay sauce and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese before being broiled to crisp the bread and brown the Mornay. And when they’re in season, homegrown tomatoes are a very popular addition to this signature dish. You can find the Kentucky Hot Brown at various places throughout Bardstown, including Kreso’s, Mammy’s Kitchen, The Old Talbott Tavern, and The Rickhouse.
Of course, no visit to Bardstown is complete without a nip or two of Kentucky’s signature spirit – Bourbon. Home to seven of the world’s most renowned distilleries, Bardstown has utilized its bourbon industry to help build, sustain, and propel the city’s fascinating culture for more than 200 years. In fact, about 80% of the world’s Bourbon, meaning you can find Bourbon flowing into every nook and cranny of central Kentucky.