Louisville Set to Premiere Kentucky Hot Brown Week
Who remembers Gabe's Restaurant? It was on Triplett Street across from the Colonel House Motel, where Eagles Convenience Store is now.
It was my parents' favorite restaurant. Seriously, when it doubt, "Let's go to Gabe's." Dad was in the Kiwanis Club and it always had lunch meetings there in the basement. Mom invited me to lunch there one afternoon when I was on summer break from WKU. She had also invited Senator Wendell Ford--a longtime family friend--to join us. The late Kentucky icon was also a big fan.
Yes, having lunch with Senator Ford is one of my favorite memories of Gabe's. But so was their impeccable Kentucky hot brown. Oh my goodness, it was delicious. Outside of the one and only time I ate at the Brown Hotel, where it was invented, I haven't had one that good since.
And honestly, nobody SHOULD have one better than what they serve at the Brown. It's a signature dish in the Commonwealth. So I have to wonder why it's taken so long for Louisville to devote an entire week to celebrating the best open-faced turkey sandwich any of us will ever eat.
The inaugural Hot Brown Week will happen October 24th through October 30th with multiple participating locations trotting out their best hot browns. From LEO Weekly:
As of this writing, participating venues include The Brown Hotel, where the dish originated, as well as Agave & Rye New Albany, Biscuit Belly, Brasserie Provence, Cask Southern Kitchen, Corner Flavors of Kentucky, Dundee Tavern, Gorilla Bob’s Grub Shack, LouVino Douglass Hills, LouVino Highlands, Napa River Grill, O’Shea’s, Parlour Downtown Louisville, Parlour Frankfort Avenue, Parlour Jeffersonville, Parlour New Albany, Rubbies and The Village Anchor.
So we're not talking about a hyper-localized event. Restaurants from across the Louisville metro will be presenting Kentucky hot brown sandwiches for patrons to enjoy. And while 10/24 is given as the first day of the event, LEO informs us that the event really gets underway on October 23rd at Waterfront Park from 1 PM until 5 PM with a live performance from a band called--and how perfect is this--Hot Brown Smackdown.
I wonder if guests will only get hot browns, or if participating restaurants will also offer VARIATIONS on Kentucky hot browns. Maybe not, but if they do, it would tempting to try one of these:
And the only reason I wonder is because there really IS only one way to make a true Kentucky hot brown. If all the chefs follow a similar recipe, I'd imagine it will be the various tweaks that will differentiate the sandwiches.
I remember several years ago, Bobby Flay came to Louisville and challenged the chefs at the Brown Hotel to a sort of Kentucky hot brown cook-off. Here's how that played out:
At this moment I'm trying to figure when I can squeeze in a visit to Louisville the last week in October. Yes, I realize that if all the Kentucky hot browns are prepared correctly, there shouldn't much difference in how any of them taste.
But who cares? They're KENTUCKY HOT BROWNS.