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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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‘Fun’ky Paradise

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 @ 12:12 PM

104Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner?  Amidst all the feedings, diapers, and helping Adam with work parties, the weeks of December have just flown by.  I barely got to enjoy the fall and now I am preparing myself for the cold months ahead where we will be mostly home bound.  During these winter months I like to daydream about fun trips and destinations that evoke the term paradise in my head; and while Louisville isn’t often what springs to mind as far as a paradise locale, they do have a restaurant that truly brings that thought to mind.

Lynn’s Paradise Café opened in 1991 as the venture of Lynn Winter, who as a former woodworker had great passion for art and creating things, but decided with a twist of fate to take on a new culinary fueled adventure.  With her love of the creative, she sought to create a restaurant that not only was aesthetically interesting, AND I MEAN INTERESTING, but she began introducing new takes on food that are truly artistic in both their ingredients and appearance.  Also, attached to the restaurant is a shop that boasts some of the most unique nifty-gifty stuff you will ever see, as well as a large assortment of hats and glasses that we all had a blast trying on..

Over the years the restaurant has continued to grow and thousands of people from around the country come to visit and try some of her winning creations every year.  Lynn’s has been featured on Food Network’s “Best of,” Diner’s Drive-Ins & Dives, and Bobby Flay even paid Lynn a visit to offer a “Throwdown.”

So with my parents now living in Louisville, we knew on our first visit down there we would have to make sure Lynn’s received a visit. We had heard ahead of time that the wait can be a bit insane and that although it’s a large place, many MANY people go there on the weekends.  We were also there with the whole family on a holiday weekend, so we were prepared for a possibly lengthy wait. Luckily, there is no shortage of fun things to look at and picture opportunities…

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In total we waited about an hour to get seated, but looking at all the merchandise and trying on funny hats helped the time fly. Still, we were definitely hungry. We got to sit right next to a large tree smack-dab in the center of the restaurant, which truly displays how Lynn’s is an eclectic “paradise” if I ever saw one…bright colors, crazy décor, and odd shaped chair and tables throughout. You wonder if there is even one ounce of free wall or ceiling space? But I guess that’s what adds to whole atmosphere.

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With a variety of interesting menu options, we all ordered and waited in anticipation.  I will say it now… I once again ordered poorly.  It wasn’t that my meal wasn’t good…, it was just that I really should have chosen something more exciting than the homemade granola, and after a couple of bites I was sort of sick of it and looking for other flavors.  Luckily, Adam shared some bites of his meal with me, which was outstanding!  His breakfast came with fried green tomatoes, which we both have now discovered are AWESOME…, something I would have never thought considering. I mean…I don’t like tomatoes, so I thought there would be no way I’d like fried green ones. Let just say…I WAS WRONG!  These were so good I am now afraid I will measure any other fried green tomato against these and they just might never measure up.  Lynn’s tomatoes also came with this dipping sauce that I can’t describe other than it added the perfect amount of creamy zing. His egg scramble was also pretty good; and their cheese grits….WOW! Also not a big grit fan…but Lynn’s is doing it in the yummiest way! In all, we all really seemed to enjoy our meals and I think almost everyone cleaned their plates.

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SIGNATURE DISH: While they aren’t known for any one dish in particular, there are definitely a few that stand out as fun variations on classic dishes.  Lynn’s French toast recipes and scrambles are definitely signature to her and more than worth the visit.

TASTE: I think we were all pretty blown away by the depth in flavor in each of our dishes; and while I said I was disappointed with my order, it wasn’t because it wasn’t good…far from it. Actually, it was some of the best granola I’ve had, I just needed more flavors to accompany it. Lucky for me, the meals are all large and I was able to get bites from other people’s…which were all good!

AMBIANCE: This is really what makes Lynn’s. The décor is SOOO fun. Our table literally was curved around a giant tree in the middle of the restaurant!  Also, there is plenty of unique artwork and other fun kitschy features hanging throughout the whole place that you are never bored with your surroundings; and while it makes it a tad difficult to maneuver through it all, it is truly what makes the overall appeal.

PRICE: Definitely more than your good ol’ IHOP or Denny’s type place.  For our family of 7, it was over $100; which I guess isn’t terrible considering you’re in the city. Plus, the food was well worth it. It was homemade, hearty and wholesome. In my world, you pay a little extra for the special touches and non-preserved ingredients.

SERVICE: Our waitress was super friendly and very helpful.  Like her surroundings, she also had some eclectic body décor, which I got the sense that many of their wait staff had as this restaurant is pretty funky.  Our meals came out quick and given the crazy amount of people scattered throughout the restaurant, the wait staff was well equipped to deal.

Lynn’s boasts quite the unique environment and possibly the type of dining atmosphere you don’t run into on a day to day basis.  Although it is pretty “out there” as far as style is concerned, this does not seem to deter any patron from enjoying the whole experience.  So whether it is the décor, the store, or the food that is drawing the people in (or all 3), you will witness a variety of visitors that truly LOVE Lynn’s!  We were no different.

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Lynn’s was the perfect ending to a great trip to Louisville and I hope I am able to return again soon, if for nothing else than to get my fried green tomato fix! I’m proud to give this local favorite, Lynn’s Paradise Café 4 ‘Little Piggies’

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