When I'm traveling, I like to find out what the signature dish is in each state I visit. And yes, every state has at least one signature dish. Kentucky, of course, is no exception.

The Derby City Hot Brown

When I think of signature Kentucky dishes, the Derby City Hot Brown is the first thing that leaps to mind. Maybe it is for you, too. And restaurants all across the Commonwealth--I'd bet one in every town of a certain population or greater--try their hand at it, and why not? Food Network superstar Bobby Flay has even tried HIS hand at it, and he did so in a competition with chefs who worked where the dish was invented, Louisville's Brown Hotel. It's what Food Network says is the best place to eat a Hot Brown. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Food Network's Best Places to Enjoy Kentucky's Signature Dishes

But the Hot Brown isn't the only signature Kentucky dish that tickles the Food Network's tongue. In fact, they've listed the best restaurants in the Commonwealth where you can ENJOY said dishes. And if you thought it was JUST the Hot Brown, you've got another think coming. Naturally, an enterprise like Food Network would do a deep dive into each state's best culinary offerings, so here we go with the rest of its selections.


This has always sounded like something my grandmother would have served to her church friends, but if she did, I never heard about it. It was only recently--relatively speaking--that I was introduced to this tangy cucumber spread also made with cream cheese, onion juice, and select seasonings. And if you love Benedictine, you'll enjoy a visit to The Cafe on Louisville's Brent Street where you'll find a sandwich called the Queen Anne. It features the famous spread served on artisan walnut wheat bread with sliced cucumbers, bacon, and lettuce.

Deviled Eggs

I had no idea deviled eggs were a signature Kentucky dish, but I'll take it. In fact, I'll take the whole tray. (Oh, did someone else want one?) Honestly, the folks at Dudley's on Short in Lexington may not allow me to come back if I eat their deviled eggs the way I OFTEN eat deviled eggs. (Yes, the above sentence about the tray isn't a huge exaggeration.) Anyway, Dudley's is where Food Network goes for its deviled egg fix. And now I must go there, too.

Clearly, everything else seems amazing, too. How in the WORLD has this place escaped me?

Spoon Bread

Sort of a cross between cornbread and a soufflé, spoon bread may sound like a dessert, but it really isn't. However, just the right amount of sweetness does come through, like the best corn muffin you've ever eaten kicked up a couple of notches. And according to Food Network, nobody rocks spoon bread like Boone Tavern in Berea KY.

Can I just say that it's very difficult writing this piece while merely snacking on mixed nuts?

Barbecued Mutton

I'm not sure why I even WROTE the word "barbecued." I've never eaten mutton that wasn't. What on Earth would THAT taste like? Anyway, while there are other dishes on the Food Network list, I went looking for this one for the wrap-up, and I wasn't disappointed. As I was scrolling toward it I was thinking, "There is no possible way they could pick a restaurant outside of Owensboro." And they didn't. Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn is their choice for mutton. Maybe yours, too. As an Owensboro native, I was simply not going to tolerate a selection outside our county line.


I don't know about you, but I'm hungry. Let's see...I'll have an order of mutton, some spoon bread, and a couple (I mean 20) of those deviled eggs.

Bon appetit.

Kentucky Restaurants and Bars Featured on National Television

Kentucky has been well-represented on a number of television series, and not just on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Check out the list:

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer

50 Most Popular Chain Restaurants in America

YouGov investigated the most popular dining brands in the country, and Stacker compiled the list to give readers context on the findings. Read on to look through America's vast and divergent variety of restaurants—maybe you'll even find a favorite or two.

Gallery Credit: Paul Feinstein

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