About Town: Garage Bar

Top Photo from Garage Bar. The others, taken by me, are up on my Flickr.

Did you know that Kentucky is a notch in the intercontinental Ham Belt? Yessum, the world's best dry cured hams are all made along this particular latitude, including Prosciutto di Parma, Serrano, Westphalia, Black Forest, and Kentucky's very own Colonel Bill Newsom's Country Ham, among many others. Ham Belt, Bible Belt, Stroke Belt, Corn Belt. We wear all the belts in KY. Some of those I never knew existed, though it is clear that out of them all, our place on the Ham Belt should garner the most pride.

Map created by Cooking Issues, from their excellent article, "Country Ham Fantastica, Our Hams' place in the World."

It is no wonder that Garage Bar, the hip new pizza place in Louisville, would give our state's country hams some merited hype. The restaurant features a ham bar, highlighting four country hams from the Ham Belt (KY, TN, VA), along with tasty Southern snacks like various pickles, pimento cheese sandwiches, boiled peanuts and hand-shucked oysters. But enough about the ham. Garage Bar's focus is on their delicious, hand kneaded, wood-fired pizzas topped with local meat and produce. They offer draft and bottled craft beers, nostalgic bottled sodas like Cheerwine and Peach Nehi, as well as a few fancy fountain beverages (Louisville Egg Cream, hibiscus soda).

For an appetizer, Kurt and I ordered the Father's Country Ham plate with whipped red eye aoli and a baguette. We shared the arugula, tomato and country ham pizza while our friends tried the white pizza with a farm fresh egg on top. We had a few beers too, followed up by a round of vanilla swirl soft serves. Between conversations, my eyes were drawn to the decorative relics left from the building's history as an auto service garage. An open garage door served as a welcoming bar entrance and a rack of old tires were mounted high along the ceiling. Exposed air ducts and shiny metal surfaces were neat accents to a the minimalist, light-filled dining room.

These days, our dinners out are few and far between. We love to cook and we eat well, and I'll admit, it is rare that a restaurant experience matches our expectations when compared to the cozy weeknights at home sharing a fresh meal made from scratch. That's why when we go out, we want it to be more than just eating - we cross our fingers for a memorable and exciting event. Although our ticket was a bit pricier than our usual pizza dinner, Garage Bar upped the ante with a unique menu, fun atmosphere and friendly service. We left with the post-meal satisfaction that I covet. You know that special fullness that leaves you feeling cheery and warm? Worth every penny.



After dinner, we walked a couple blocks over to Slugger Field to meet up with friends and watch our first Bats game of the summer on the ballpark's lawn. After the Garage beers (and more stadium beers), Kurt fell asleep in the grass while I chatted away, oblivious to the score. It was the perfect summer night. 


  1. Ham Belt?! Why haven't I heard about this before?!

  2. Ha ha I didn't know there was a Ham Belt either! That is hilarious!

    P.S. The Garage Bar looks awesome!


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