- 9308 Cane Run Road, Louisville, KY, 40258
- Overall User Rating:
- (15 ratings)
- 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday - Thursday 11 a.m. to 11p.m. Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday Closed Monday
- Official Web Site:
Sometimes a restaurant is just a restaurant — but not Mike Linnig's Restaurant.
Founded in 1925, Linnig's is one of Louisville's iconic establishments, a place so far removed from the center of the city that for most of us going there is a pilgrimage — not merely because it resides in a remote part of Jefferson County, but because arriving at Linnig's feels like a trek through time to a happy past where kids frolic in playgrounds stocked with swings and slides, where grown-ups while away the hours with gossip and a bottle of beer, and where the food is abundant and unchanging over the years.
In Louisville, there's really no place quite like it. Family-run for going on 90 years, it's more than a restaurant; it qualifies as a quintessential Louisville experience.
Customers opt for self-service (place your order and pick it up at the counter) or table service (indoors or out). Either way, the folks are friendly and even when a thousand customers crowd the premises (as frequently happens on a summer weekend), service is courteous and efficient.
Indoor dining areas are awash with knickknacks, old photos and stuffed animals. A recently added dining room features a curved glass wall reminiscent of a greenhouse.
Outdoors, you'll find picnic tables and little huts where families and groups linger through long afternoons.
The bill of fare is dominated by fried seafood. Yes, there are other options: chilled peel-and-eat shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce ($4.90 for ¼ pound, $8.15, ½ pound; $14.95, pound). You'll find crisp garden salads ($3.15) and an assortment of countrified sides.
And for those eschewing fried food, there are baked and grilled entrees: a half chicken ($8.45; $12.65 as a plate with sides); swordfish steaks, salmon or tuna ($14.25); tilapia ($13.20, all with potato, salad and rolls). And there are burgers, barbecue and grilled chicken sandwiches.
(Be warned: The kitchen's command of grilled and broiled seafood falls short compared to its mastery when it comes to the art of frying; dishes such as grilled, marinated swordfish are competent, but uninspired.)
It's fried food that brings people to Linnig's, especially the fried fish (sandwich, $8.60; plate, $12.80). We're talking fish as big as the one that got away. Big, juicy filets wrapped tightly in crunchy, golden batter that pairs well with Linnig's tangy, caper-laden tartar sauce.
Some places will sell you a fish box for two; Linnig's doesn't need to do that, because for many people a single fish plate accompanied by a gigantic basket of house-breaded onion rings ($5.50) is a de facto meal for two.
Alternatives to the fish include clams ($9.70/$13.90); shrimp ($12.95/$17.15); pan-fried oysters ($12.75/$16.95), chicken or chicken livers ($8.45/$12.65); alligator ($12.25/$16.45) and big braces of juicy frog's legs (in a grainy breading that doesn't have much intrinsic flavor but benefits nicely from a dab of the house cocktail sauce, $12.50/$16.70).
Nearly every time I stop at Linnig's, I order a bundle of bright green onions ($2.10), and recently — after years of experiments, says one of the managers, Nancy Linnig Wuerth — the kitchen has added a fried “sweet and spicy pickle” that will turn some heads.
If you don't fill up on seafood, you can indulge in pies and brownies.
Either way, you can follow your meal with a stroll over the floodwall to a walkway that links Linnig's to the southwest portion of the Ohio River Levee Trail & Riverwalk. There you can burn off a few calories along the banks of the Ohio.