LGBTQ+ Friendly Restaurants
Over the past decade, Kentucky has become one of America’s premier foodie destination, with world-class dining and award-winning chefs. You can dig into traditional southern comfort food with a haute culinary twist, or experience a multicultural meal from one of the state’s diverse, eclectic chefs.
But the culinary scene here would not be the burgeoning success story without the LGBTQ+ community. So many of the best, most dynamic restaurants throughout the state are owned, managed, and helmed by queer folks. Others have become trendy, hipster havens for diverse, queer crowds.
Below are our favorite LGBTQ+ owned restaurants to check out for your next vacation to Kentucky.
Le Moo - Le Moo is a stylishly designed, gay-owned steakhouse, featuring a one-of-a-kind Vintage Louis Vuitton Booth and a menu including items like a Filet Flight, Miyazaki Wagyu, and Steak Tartare. It gets extra queer every Sunday when it hosts a drag brunch (11a.m. and 1:30p.m.) featuring a decadent brunch buffet and a whole lot of talented queens!
Toast on Market - Located in the stylish NuLu neighborhood, Toast on Market is a popular brunch spot with a diverse queer staff and come as you are attitude. The menu features an extensive drink menu - -like the Sunrise Screwdriver and NuLu Sweet Tea with Bourbon… Yum!. Between drinks, indulge on a Monte Cristo or their elevated Bacon & Egg Sandwich (get a side of cheesy hash brown casserole, it’s next level!).
V-Grits - V-Grits in the Highlands serves decadent, Southern comfort food in a vegan package. The restaurant itself is bright and modern, filled with succulents and vining plants, and houses Chimera Brewery so you can try a local beer. Try their Fried Green Tomato Sandwich in a queer-friendly, diverse environment.
The Silver Dollar - The queer and trans employees at the Silver Dollar help make this beloved neighborhood spot one of the city’s most exciting. Their slogan is: “Whiskey by the Drink” — so expect to find an extensive array of bourbons to pair with their Californian cuisine. We like the Smoked Hen and Hickory-Smoked Beef Brisket.
Proof on Main - Proof on Main is proof you can mix serious artistry with fine dining. Located in the 21c Museum Hotel, this restaurant is plastered with beautiful portraits over bold wallpapers, and their dishes are just as bright and colorful as the decor. Ruby trout, the Proof Bison Burger, and sides like the Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread all pepper their seasonal menu. You can expect to find a diverse clientele as unique as the restaurant’s interior!
Dragon King’s Daughter - This popular sushi place in the Highlands is a stone’s throw from the Highland’s gay bars. It provides a unique take on Japanese dishes. with sushi rolls named after gay icons like Sushi & the Banshees and The Patsy Stone Roll. They also have a great Happy Hour from 3-6p.m. every day.
Grassa Gramma - Owned by the same gay owner as Le Moo, Grassa Gramma is a tribute to Italian Heritage and the passion of its matriarch. The restaurant is stunning — the interior evokes the feeling of a small Italian village, with brick walls and floors, iron work, lush red curtains and a flowing cherub-covered fountain. You can expect an extensive Italian wine list, pizza, plenty of pasta, and savory meat dishes.
Third Street Stuff and Coffee - This funky LGBTQ+ owned cafe is the perfect spot to grab a cup of Fair Trade Certified Organic coffee, locally baked goods, or a sandwich, and hang out with other cool queer people in the community.
Kentucky Native Cafe - Located at the 120-year-old Michler’s Greenhouse, Kentucky Native Cafe is located outdoors among the trees and ferns in an intimate, natural setting. You can expect to see all sorts of LGBTQ+ people here enjoying beer and wine with local and fresh vegetarian dishes on a rotating menu.
Lexington Diner - This classic diner offers down-home cooking with an upscale twist, prepared by their lesbian chef, Ranada Riley. With breakfast available all day, you can get overstuffed omelets, French toast and waffles, and of course, a delicious brunch cocktail.
Lockbox - Located at Lexington’s 21c Museum Hotel, Lockbox offers a revolving menu with locally grown food in a queer-friendly and artistic space. They serve dishes like Lockbox Benedict or the Farm Egg Frittata.
Sidebar Grill - This casual joint hosts plenty of gay clientele and some excellent pub food. People swear they have the best burger in Lexington. Come in for a beer, a bite, and some great company.
Epping’s on Eastside - Epping’s on Eastside is a queer-friendly, upscale dining experience with a fierce Drag Brunch! They cure their meats in-house, support the region’s diverse farming and food community and keep a local-first mindset in everything they do.
The Futile Bakery - While the Futile Bakery does all kinds of sweet treats, they do one thing especially well: cinnamon rolls. These gooey, decadent cinnamon rolls are hard to resist! Pop into this gay-friendly business to pick one up.
Lussi Brown Coffee Bar - This lesbian-owned coffee shop and bar is the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee, something sweet or even a specialty cocktail.
Keystone Bar & Grill - This beautiful bar is known for their nine different Mac and Cheese dishes served up in their very own cast-iron skillets. The vibe here is queer-friendly and relaxed, and the perfect place to carbo load!
The Standard - Located in an old 1930s garage, The Standard is now a hip joint where you can find colorful art mixed in with homages to the restaurant's history. Grab a bourbon slush and a fried chicken sandwich from one of their queer staff members in this queer-friendly space.
Lil’s Bagels - Lil’s Bagels brings real Jewish bagels from New York from lesbian owner Julia Keister, and supports the LGBTQ+ community by hosting some kind of fundraiser each month. If you need a real bagel with some extra queer love thrown in, stop by and get a bagel and schmear on their patio!
Braxton Brewing Company - Braxton Brewing Company has a large array of locally-crafted beers, including the decadent Smoothie Sour Pineapple Upside Down Cake. They have a beautiful rooftop overlooking Covington’s historic architecture, and is a lovely place to enjoy one of their Pride Watermelon Wheat beers if you happen to be there during Pride.
Cedar - Cedar is a cozy, queer, and colorful brunch spot that whips up upscale comfort food made from scratch with a big selection of spirits. Try their elevated Chicken & Waffles with their “Junk in the Trunk” Blood Mary.
Hofbräuhaus - Head to the gay-friendly Hofbräuhaus beer garden in Newport for some traditional German food and beer under twinkling lights. We’re talking pretzels, schnitzel and plenty of beer.
Scout & Scholar Brewing Co. - This queer-friendly brewery is adorable and modern, specializing in house-made brews and a lamb burger worth traveling hours for.
The Kitchen and Bar @ Bardstown Bourbon Company - Here you can find upscale Kentucky cuisine with everything made in house from local farms. Try the Country Hams with Bourbon Grains and Kentucky Poutine starters, and of course plenty of bourbon, in this stylish, LGBTQ+ friendly place.
Written by Richie Goff