Brown Hotel

Review by: Michael Stern

We cannot tell you much about the menu in the restaurants of the Brown Hotel in Louisville because, frankly, we’ve paid little attention to it when we visited. We don’t go to the restaurants; we call room service and have our meal delivered.

What to eat at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY

Because we are historical-minded types, that meal is always a single food – a Kentucky hot brown. This is one of America’s most distinctive sandwiches, invented by the hotel some time in the 1920s. Supposedly, it began as a late-night snack for revelers who wanted something hot, hearty, and fun. A hot brown is a fork-and-knife job for certain: toast topped with white turkey meat under a sizzling spill of cheesy cream sauce, slices of tomato, and strips of bacon.

Although it was invented in Louisville, the Hot Brown is now found in restaurants throughout Kentucky. Its variations are nearly endless. We’ve had “Cajun hot browns” with hunks of shrimp and crawfish or lengths of andouille sausage instead of turkey; we’ve seen Italian hot browns in which prosciutto and mozzarella take the place of bacon and American cheese. We’ve even heard tell of a vegetarian hot brown, made with asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini!

At its original home in Louisville, the hot brown comes in a ceramic dish that contains so much of the luscious goopy sauce that it looks more like a bowl of thick cheese and bacon soup.

What To Eat

Hot brown sandwich


Brown Hotel Recipes


What do you think of Brown Hotel?

One Response to “Brown Hotel”

Sally Youngblood

November 7th, 2011

Twenty years ago when we lived in California, I received a cookbook of famous Kentucky restaurants and their signature recipes, and discovered the Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel. I made Hot Browns from the recipe book and was hooked.

Visiting the Brown Hotel and having a Hot Brown at the source became a wish on my bucket list. Twelve years ago we moved to western Kentucky and I finally crossed that wish off my list two years ago. We dined at the hotel cafe/grill for lunch. Our waiter knew what we wanted (we must have looked like tourists) without our asking. The service was great, the atmosphere very pleasant and relaxed, and the Hot Brown was everything I expected and more.

As mentioned by the Sterns, there are versions of the Hot Brown throughout Kentucky, and I have tried a few of them and was very disappointed. For the real deal you have to go to the Brown Hotel and it is worth the drive into Louisville.


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