It's not very surprising that Louisville has a strong tradition in seafood with its proximity to the Ohio River. For the early settlers the creatures that lived in the Ohio River was a staple of their diet. As a result, some unique culinary creations were developed.
One such item came into the local cuisine in the 19th century when Phillip Mazzoni and his brothers immigrated from Italy and opened a saloon. They developed a a unique oyster dish as a free giveaway to patrons that purchased a drink. The dish consisted of three raw oysters dipped in an egg-milk cornmeal batter and then rolled in cracker crumbs. The oysters were then deep-fried and served hot. It is unknown weather they invented the recipe, or if they brought it with them from Italy like many immigrants.
The oyster rolls became popular during Prohibition, when Mazzoni's was able to stay open after converting to a restaurant. The dish became a hit and spread across town, to where now many local restaurants and fisheries have their own version.
Much like the hot brown, the oyster roll is unique to the Louisville culinary tradition. It is rare to find it on the menu outside Louisville, so the River City is the best place to try it out. Mazzoni's--which has been open for over 125 years and recently moved to the Middletown area from its original downtown location--is the best place to get them.