Louisville has some great sandwiches, from that ratatouille sandwich at Toast to the pork belly sandwich and duck sliders at Hammerheads. But if it’s your first time in Louisville and you’re a meat-eater, go to the Brown Hotel for a Hot Brown, Louisville’s most well-known sandwich.
Recently featured on the show Man vs. Food, the Hot Brown was invented by Brown Hotel chef Fred Schmidt in the 1920s as a late night (or early morning) treat for guests hungry after the hotel’s nightly dinner dance. Today, the Hot Brown is an open-face turkey sandwich with bacon, tomato, and Mornay sauce on Texas toast tips (the Brown’s Mornay sauce is made with butter, heavy cream and Romano cheese). While this rich, delicious sandwich wasn’t the main challenge in the Louisville Man vs. Food episode, it’s not the kind of turkey sandwich one eats on a regular basis.
Other restaurants in town also have a Hot Brown on their menu (I know The Cafe has one for $8.95; the Brown Hotel’s goes for $14), and I’ve even heard of a vegetarian Hot Brown. But how can you judge the others until you’ve tried the original? So next time you’re in Louisville, head to J. Graham’s Cafe at the Brown Hotel and try a Hot Brown for yourself.