by SLICK TRACY, Hotel Detective & Food Sleuth (Uncovering the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly)
The Garage Bar is also known as the GarageOnMarket because it is located on Market Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Housed in a long-time service-station garage, it continues to pay a symbolic homage to those roots. The decor is less art and more left-over from years earlier. It is as if the new owners did not want to bother cleaning up the place. Actually, this is part of the unique charm.
If you plan a visit, do not expect a sedate, formal meal in a quiet restaurant located in the corner of a hotel or downtown high-rise. This is a place that tantalizes your taste buds while embracing you in a relaxed attitude about life in general.
The Garage Bar is convenient for visitors to downtown Louisville. It is in the area referred to as 'East Market' or the 'Nu Lu Neighborhood.' According to the 1919 city register, the corner spot location was actually and originally a saloon. The new owners nod slightly in that historic direction by providing a very large assortment of bottled craft beers, Kentucky bourbons, ice cold draft beer, wine, and most cocktails. When the two old garage doors are opened, the attractive bar immediately draws a person inside, while the employees express a genuine enthusiasm for your visit.
Many locals simply call this 'the pizza place' because that is about the only constant on the menu. Actually, the Chef is from an Italian family and reared in New Jersey, so his love of making pizza is more than a pastime. It is a love affair. Pizza is prepared in a wood-fired brick oven and served fresh.
Other menu items vary widely based upon the availability of the food and sources. Most items are organic, obtained from local farmers. A lot of emphasis is on seeking out artisan produces or vegetables and others who work to sustain agriculture along the Ohio River Valley. The ingredients are noticeably fresh and local.
Other menu items lean to the Southern style of menu items. During a recent visit with a fairly large group, the items were served menu style and included a specialty known as Shrimp and Grits that included a tiny bit of country ham and red-eye gravy. An alternative entree was the Oven Roasted Skirt Steak that was covered with roasted grapes. Vegetable selections included Eggplant Caponata and Charred Broccolini. Perhaps the most popular item for the evening were the two desserts, Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Bread Pudding. Of course, there were pizza pies that were continuously supplied to the tables. Patrons either enthusiastically endorsed one or two items or partaked of their own personal preferences in food. All the menu items were presented well in serving dishes that complimented the entire décor and eclectic environment.
There is a noticeable relationship with the 21C Hotel and Museum. This is immediately evidenced by the 'art' on display, including the car crash in front of the old garage building. Further inquiries found out that the Garage General Manager, Megan Breier, worked in promotions at the 21C. Chef Michael Paley was Executive Chef for the 21C restaurant.
Generally speaking, the Garage is open to the public 7 days per week but will close for special occasions and groups. Because of the sporadic closings and the varied menu items,
the Garage has a fluid Facebook presence:
The staff is very efficient in posting the current menu items, photos, and anticipated closings. Be sure to check this out before planning your visit.
Otherwise, the Garage should be added to your 'Must-See-Visit' list whenever you are in Louisville, Kentucky. The menu is frequently changed and uses local ingredients from regional farmers. The menu items are meant to share with those around you. The food items are designed to pair off with the wide selection of wine, beer, Bourbon, and other drinks. Pizza is the heart and soul of the presentations, with at least a small nod towards some Southern roots.
To contact The Garage, go to their Facebook page or www.GarageOnMarket.com . It is located at 700 East Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202. Phone is 502-749-7100. General Manager Megan Breier can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org