When did I get so shy? I remember being something of a brazen badass when I was a teenager. But as an adult, I'm definitely socially... well, back in the day we used to say "socially retarded," so I am the less-repulsive synonym of that.
Last night, I volunteered at the Louisville Public Media pledge drive, and I didn't introduce myself to a soul there. Just did the answering phones thing (which was monumentally painful for me; I am so phone adverse that the only reason I HAVE a phone is that Mama Lou won't email or text) and ducked out. I did, however, feel compelled to chime in on one conversation.
A lovely Bellarmine freshman (so nice to see so many young people volunteering!) was saying that she and her friends wanted to get all dolled-up and go out someplace super fancy for a friend's birthday... on a freshman budget. And when she said something about her male friends wanting to wear their seersucker suits, I said: "Jack Fry's." She'd never heard of the place and wanted a description, so I said: "It looks like somewhere Sinatra would've hung out." She picked up her phone and made a reservation right then.
And that made me remember an idea I had for this blog.
The only New Year's Resolution that I've mostly kept is that I wanted to try new (to me) restaurants more. Because we live in the most awesome, restaurant-heavy neighborhood in the city, Roommate and I tend to get in ruts. So the goal was to branch out. Eschew the old faithfuls for new untrieds. The problem is: so many of the restaurants we haven't tried aren't really in our budget. What to do?
Well, there's no rule that says that in order to go to a new restaurant you have to really eat there. Right? I'm not a (groan) foodie. I'm not a food critic. I don't have to taste a whole bunch of things to decide whether or not I like a place. The point is to soak up the atmosphere and maybe have a little bit of something.
So every once in a while I will post a Louisville Little Bit where I tell you about how to get in and out of a restaurant that might normally be a budget-buster for a modest amount of cash.
Louisville Little Bit 1: Jack Fry's
Jack Fry's is one of the closest restaurants to my house. And I've only been there twice. Well, three times now. I've known full well that Fry's has very reasonably priced burgers, and I've heard many times that their burgers are among the best in the city.... but for some reason, I've avoided the place because I'd held in my head their $34 steaks and $32 fish dishes. It just screamed "special occasion" or "important night out" to me.
As I said, Jack Fry's looks like a place where Sinatra would've felt quite at home. Live music most evenings. Dark. Old pictures on the wall. Fry's was established in 1933, and it probably hasn't changed much since, even though it changed hands from the original owners to a long-time employee in 2003.
When you live in this neighborhood, Jack Fry's is synonymous with "good smells." Walk by Fry's during dinner hour when you're hungry, and the smell of cooking food is almost unbearable.
A few months ago, I got a bug up my butt to have a really killer burger. And after hemming and hawing for a while-- it was a very ordinary night, a Wednesday or a Thursday-- somehow Roommate and I decided on Jack Fry's. This was shortly after Roommate's heart attack, and we figured that if he was going to splurge on something less-than-good for him, it might as well be fantastic.
And I'll never hem and haw over Jack Fry's again. What a delightful-- and fairly reasonable-- special night! Their burgers are all they're cracked up to be and under $10! The service was exceptional. When I heard that one of the specials of the day came with brussel sprouts (one of my favorites) and asked if I could sub the sprouts for the burger's fries, the waitress didn't bat an eyelash.
Manhattans (my cocktail of choice) are reasonably-priced and delicious. There are a few bottles of wine under $30. And when it comes to atmosphere, between the decor and the live jazz... Jack Fry's can make an ordinary Thursday night feel like a special occasion.
One of the things I like most about Jack Fry's is that it is as swanky as you want it to be. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all in jeans and a sweater. I'd feel right at home in a cocktail dress.
A cocktail at the bar along with a burger or an appetizer... a little bit of Jack Fry's and you can get out of there for under the cost of their $34 steak!