Lunch Plus One is a simple outing to enjoy with friends or visiting relatives or guests. It’s always a treat to explore one of Louisville’s many historic neighborhoods, so for this Lunch Plus One, let’s visit the Germantown area with its collection of shotgun and camelback houses, restaurants and bars, and front porch swings.
Oscar’s Germantown Hardware
1515 South Shelby Street
Who doesn’t love a hardware store? I remember as a young girl walking with my grandfather to Spangler’s Hardware at the Douglass Loop to pick up a needed tool or even just a light bulb for the front porch. I recall being fascinated with the shelves and bins of thingymajigs or doodads, the use for which I had no clue but was intrigued nonetheless. A veritable feast for my young senses.
Although Spangler’s is no longer around, fortunately there are still a few locally owned hardware stores in Louisville. The one featured in this Lunch Plus One is Oscar’s Germantown Hardware, a neighborhood mainstay at the intersection of Shelby Street and Burnett Avenue. For spring renewal, in addition to hand tools, plumbing supplies, and paint, Oscar’s is the place to go to find garden tools, seeds, flower pots, hoses, or anything needed for a project around your house. You can also pick up helpful advice from one of the employees to make sure you purchase the exact item you need to complete your grand design.
Check’s Cafe Neighborhood Bar and Grill
1101 E Burnett Avenue
Once you’ve made your purchases at Oscar’s and gotten your car loaded, head down the street for lunch at Check’s Cafe at the corner of Hickory and Burnett. If it’s a pretty day, use the chance to walk — it’s just a block or two. Check’s, which has been around for six decades, is another pillar of the Germantown neighborhood. It is the type of place where everybody knows your name. Patrons include neighborhood regulars sharing tables and stories with others who come in for lunch from surrounding businesses or those who just want a friendly atmosphere and a hearty comfort-food meal.
Nothing pretentious about Check’s. Step up to the bar under the Order Here sign and choose from the menu which includes everything from bratwurst to fried chicken to pan-fried oysters. Or maybe your taste runs to a bowl of the cafe’s famous chili or bean soup and cornbread. A server will yell out your name and deliver your plate right to your table. There are plenty of TV screens — I counted at least 10 if not more — so no matter what seasonal sport is being played, you never have to miss a home run, a putt, a touchdown, or free throw. Before you leave, take a look at the galleries of vintage photos of the neighborhood characters who have wandered in and out of the cafe over the years. I guarantee you won’t regret your Lunch Plus One excursion to Oscar’s and Check’s.
By Lucy M. Pritchett | Photos by Melissa Donald
P.S. Renew your spirts and travel to places you didn’t realize you should go.