Happy Friday, and welcome a new section on the blog! I’m starting what I call “Local Foodie Friday.” I’ve had this idea for a while, but I think it’s time to put it into motion.
I’m ridiculously proud of my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. I always used to hate it growing up, because I honestly saw it as a small town that could never help me attain my dreams. But now that I’m older and have lived in a smaller college town, I know that there really is no place like Possibility City. Our food scene has caught the eyes of travel blogs and national news media alike, and has contributed to Louisville’s rapid growth as a go-to tourism destination – even in months OTHER than May.
Now that I’m an adult with real money that I’m (barely) making myself, I relish every chance I get to go out and explore the city that raised me. With so many food places to choose from, this could be an endless journey; but that, my friends, is a risk I’m willing to take. My wallet may balk, my stomach may beg me to rest – but I’ll keep eating my way through the city one bite at a time, just for you. You’re welcome.
For my very first #LocalFoodieFriday, I’m taking you to the East End for an amazing little salad place that’s moving over from neighboring Lexington. As a Wildcat at the University of Kentucky, I had heard of Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen from other students. I was always dying to go try it, but the only location I knew of was downtown. The downtown parking situation, combined with my fiancé’s allergies to many things healthy (seriously, mushrooms, nuts, AND fresh fruit??), convinced me to pass it up in favor of less healthy and “more filling” options.
Y’all, I messed up.
Having grown to FOUR Lexington locations, Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen decided in April of this year to expand west to Louisville. Their base of operations? Hurstbourne Lane, right across the street from my bae Lucky’s Market. That’s right y’all. Right in the heart of the East End.
Growing up in the East End, I was kind of disappointed that I ended up moving back here after college. The “hip and trendy” places are all closer to downtown, as are the majority of local businesses. But living so far from the life of the city just motivates me more to support local places that choose to locate a little further out. Vinaigrette is a blessing in that sense. The location is perfect for me to pop over after doing some grocery shopping, and I feel like a health god after buying organic produce and finishing the afternoon errands with a salad tbh.
Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen invited me and some other local bloggers to a lunch yesterday, where I finally got to try anything on the menu. I went for the Heart and Seoul bowl, shown here, because duh Korean food is always the best option. The combination of baby kale, farro, and black rice kept me full while cucumbers, red onions, and a special gochujang dressing packed in a load of flavor with a touch of spice. I’m so sad that it was a “featured item,” as I know Vinaigrette’s selection changes with the seasons, but I’m so excited to go back every season and find my new favorites.
No trip would be complete without a cup of soup or an artisanal lemonade, both of which Vinaigrette is famous for. I tried the blackberry vanilla lemonade, and let me tell you: it’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. I mean who thinks of vanilla in a lemonade? That’s the kind of innovation that has brought this place its success. That, plus the amazing service from the friendly staff and general manager – PLUS the fact that their ingredients are 25% local and 100% prepared in-house – makes Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen a place any Louisvillian has to visit. The manager mentioned plans to expand through the city soon…so watch out for a location near you!
I had such a good time meeting fellow bloggers Nicole and Ryann, and interacting with the friendly staff at Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen. I’m so happy to have them be my inaugural #LocalFoodieFriday post! Stay tuned for more in this series. Sometimes I’ll be with other bloggers, sometimes I’ll drag my fiancé along, sometimes I’ll head out solo on my day off, but I can promise you this: I’ll always have something amazing to share to grow your idea of what Louisville can be. Whether you’re a local foodie or an out-of-towner, welcome to this journey with me!
Disclaimer: Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen invited me to enjoy a meal on the house, provided with some information on their business. All opinions expressed are my own.