Dining At The Newly-Opened Walker’s Exchange in the Historic Galt House Hotel

November 10, 2019
Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Hey, y’all.

The Galt House. It’s a Louisville – and a Kentucky! – property that we all know and love.

Words that originally came to mind when I thought about the Galt House: Landmark. Historic. Classic.

A word that now come to mind: Transformative.

In case you aren’t aware, the Galt House is currently undergoing a gorgeous, extensive renovation. The upgrades are jaw-dropping. You’re going to be impressed – and I truly feel that the work positions the property to grow (even more so!) alongside the boom of our city, our community, and our downtown.

I’m proud of all that is happening, yet I’m most thankful that the Galt House has been thoughtful in their expansion; updates were made and tradition was respected. That, to me, is the sweet spot.

While I’ve loved seeing the renovations to the overall hotel experience, I, of course, am most interested in the dining options. Today, I’m giving you a comprehensive look at what you can expect from the menu at Walker’s Exchange — and let me tell y’all: you’re in for a treat.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

The history is fascinating and I want to quote it here, as it is important to understand the pertinence of this institution:

“Being the first, and, for a brief time, only tavern in Louisville, Walker’s attracted all the great names that built Louisville, including statesman Henry Clay. By 1845, Walker’s was more than a tavern and changed its moniker to Walker’s Restaurant Hotel. Success followed Mr. Walker and he moved his thriving hospitality business to a newly erected building on Third Street between Main and Market for its final iteration as Walker’s Exchange. With its convenient proximity to the river in a thriving port city, Walker’s Exchange served the best and freshest cuisine transported from one end of the country to another. Walker’s hosted weary guests and hungry city folk until the 1890s. In 2019, Walker’s Exchange returns once again with a modern, open floor plan, and serving three square meals of Louisville cuisine every day.”

How great is that? Walker’s Exchange offers rich, delicious southern cuisine via breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a Sunday brunch. The restaurant itself is bright, modern, yet extremely comfortable. An oversized oven is the focal point of the kitchen and your mouth will water at the courses that come out of it. Oh, and when the weather warms back up — be sure to enjoy the outdoor dining experience, which boasts views of the Belvedere and is shaded by the Galt House‘s third floor balcony.

Now, the food!

I took my friend Tanya to a preview luncheon a week ago. I didn’t know what to expect, yet I was very impressed. The meal started with a lovely Burrata Salad, which was accompanied by roasted tomatoes, beets, arugula, aged balsamic, and a grilled baguette. If there’s burrata on the menu (if unfamiliar: a fresh, Italian cow’s milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream), rest assured: I am ordering it.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Next was Walker’s Mercantile Chopped Salad — a lettuce mix with chickpeas, avocado, tomato, cucumber, feta, bacon, and a balsamic vinaigrette. It’s very light and healthy!

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Following the salad was the French Onion Soup which was, to me, the star of the show. I am drooling at the mere memory and I can’t wait to return for an order (or two!) of it. Walker’s French Onion Soup is oven-baked, has gruyere, and brioche croutons. I wish there was an appropriate word to describe the flavor. The best that I can do: robust, decadent, and rich. Two thumbs up is a hyperbolic understatement.

Give me all of the oysters — on the half, Rockefeller-style, chargrilled… I love them all. Walker’s serves Oysters Rockefeller, complete with sambuca, bacon, spinach, grana padano, and white wine.

The Grana Padano (a cheese from the Po River Valley in Northern Italy) really stood out, as did the plating. Gorgeous.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Artisanal pizzas? Yes, they have those, too! I highly recommend the Fig and Pig Pizza, which is topped with fig spread, fontina, balsamic onions, arugula, Kenny’s bleu cheese, and Broadbent Country Ham. Y’all should know by now that country ham is the way to this country boy’s heart.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Next, a classic: Rigatoni Bolognese. Bolognese is my favorite and for good reason. It’s flavorful, comforting, homey, and rustic. Walker’s Rigatoni Bolognese features slow-simmered beef and pork, San Marzano tomatoes, and grated parmesan.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Dessert, too. Because… why not? How about a rich, delicious Bourbon Bread Pudding? Yeah, I thought y’all would like that.

Dining at Walker's Exchange, the new restaurant on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel in Downtown Louisville; by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Walker’s Exchange is now open to the public and is located on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Be sure to visit them, arrive hungry, and tell ’em that I sent ya!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This post was kindly sponsored by Walker’s Exchange; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

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