Thanks to Food Network and ANY network featuring series that spotlight American restaurants, we've all been privy to unique eateries on which television has shone its bright lights over the past decade-plus. And from that, fans have been able to plan "foodie tours" on the strength of it.

Immediately, I think about Guy Fieri and Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives--arguably, Food Network's biggest hit--and all the small diners across the country that have played host. His brainchild really opened the door for local restaurateurs to really shine.

Sadly, there are some places that can't fight the economy, regardless of their involvement with a television series that may have increased their profiles. It's a harsh reality that sometimes businesses just have to close.

I've discovered five Kentucky restaurants that enjoyed their day in the sun but have since closed since the episodes on which they were featured aired.


Back in 2011, the Food Network spent some time at Lynn's Paradise Cafe and made the now-closed one-time Louisville staple the main focus of episodes of two different series. Alton Brown went to culinary heaven after diving into a Kentucky Hot Brown, naming it one of the best things he ever ate. And in July of that year, Lynn's breakfast menu stepped into the spotlight as Man vs. Food Nation indulged in Triple B French Toast--buttermilk black walnut bread with homemade blackberry sauce and bourbon meringue. Yes, I want that right now.

In 2013, this announcement appeared on Facebook telling fans that Lynn was moving on to her next adventure:

J.J. MCBREWSTER'S -- Lexington

I'm discovering that Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives has been on the air much longer than I realized. In 2010, during the popular series TENTH season, Guy Fieri brought the crew to J.J. McBrewster's in Lexington for a heaping helping of the restaurant's smoked turkey and melon sauce. It was a signature dish at J.J. McBrewster's which closed in 2016.

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I'm not sure, but maybe on the same day Guy and company featured J.J. McBrewster's, they ventured out onto New Circle Road to record a segment at the legendary Parkette Drive-In.

We know they didn't air in the same episode, but Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives WAS there in 2010. Sadly, this summer, the Parkette abruptly closed.

VIRGIL'S CAFE -- Bellevue

In 2011, house-smoked kielbasa (which sounds thoroughly amazing) brought Guy Fieri and the triple D team to Bellevue in northern Kentucky. According to the Virgil's Cafe website, which you can still access, the eatery specialized in Creole cooking, always homemade. It also utilized vegetables from its own garden. Unfortunately, Virgil's was only open for six and a half years, closing in 2015 with this announcement:

It is with heavy hearts that we let you know that Virgil’s Café has closed its doors. It has been a fantastic 6 ½ years & an honor to be a part of the Bellevue community. We greatly appreciate all the years you have allowed us to work with you & serve you. We greatly appreciate all the years you have allowed us to work with you & serve you. We have had many loyal guests, employees, & vendors as part of the Virgil’s family and truly value the lasting relationships we’ve made throughout our time here. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts & look forward to whatever the future may hold.


You sure can't blame a TV crew for driving a long distance to indulge in coconut cream pie topped with toasted coconut. I know I can't. I'd probably do the same thing. But when Guy Fieri showed up at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop in Olive Hill between Lexington and Ashland on I-64, he and his team enjoyed more than just the pie. The video of that appearance is no longer available, but you can check out an old promo for Smokey Valley and remember the good times...and good food.

Alas, I will never get to enjoy any of Smokey Valley's wares, as the popular truck stop shut down in 2015 when the owner decided to retire after 42 years in business.

A Food Network appearance does not, apparently, bring with it the "magic touch." On the other hand, a majority of these restaurants closed their doors because the owners were ready to retire or seek a new adventure.

I guess, all in all, that's the BEST way to go out. On top.

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:

15 Discontinued Fast Food Restaurant Items Kentucky/Indiana Folks Miss Most

Have you ever shown up to your favorite fast-food restaurant to order that one menu item you absolutely love only to find out they no longer serve it? You're not alone.

Restaurants in the Tri-state with Amazing Views

Whether you are feeling good ol’ family-style comfort food or more of an upscale seafood dish, the Tri-state has you covered with some of the best views that can’t be beaten.


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