Downtown Jeffersonville, across the river in Indiana, is maybe five minutes from downtown Louisville, just over the Second Street Bridge. It’s maybe a little further from the outlying city, but still easily accessible from I-65, maybe 10 or 15 minutes from the Highlands. In other words, it’s closer to much of Louisville than the East End, and the traffic usually isn’t as bad.
So why don’t more Louisvillians take advantage of the “sunny side of Louisville”?
Maybe people think the attitudes and people in Southern Indiana are a little backward, a little stuck in 50 years ago, and maybe in some ways they might be right. But the part of the region that makes this area “Kentuckiana” also has a lot to offer and some surprising treats.
One of those is an offshoot of a Louisville favorite, the Come Back Inn. Jeffersonville has its own Come Back Inn, located on Spring Street in downtown Jeff, and it matches up just fine with its Kentucky cousin.
The Come Back Inn in Louisville is an old favorite and trusty reliable where the food is always good and the prices reasonable. It’s a comfortable setting for a casual night out with friends or family, and the Hoosier version fits the same bill.
Open since 2001, but no longer under the same ownership, Come Back Inn in Jeffersonville has the same menu as the one in Louisville, and the food suffers not at all in comparison. The ambience of the place is perhaps not as homey and inviting as the other, but it’s still warm and friendly. And if you make it there on a night when Delladee’s working, and luck into her section, this Come Back Inn might even jump a bit ahead of the Louisville one, where I’ve personally found the service mediocre at best.
When a friend asked Delladee about getting a half order of her Greco pasta dish (normally $9.75), she told her of course she could do that, but suggested that since it’s only $2 less, she should just go ahead and get the whole thing and take some home for lunch the next day. After the dish arrived, D. cautioned my friend to stir the dish up throughout her meal, because the pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes have a tendency to sift to the bottom — a hint I’d never before heard offered when friends have ordered the dish in Louisville.
And lastly, when my friend asked her 20 minutes later if she could get the chef to throw what she still had left to eat in a pan to heat it back up, D. showed not one hint of impatience, and cheerfully went off to ask — she was, of course, turned down. (I can only imagine — even though this isn’t the excuse offered by the chef — that doing so would almost have to constitute some kind of health code violation.)
And all this was after another friend asked for her veggie pizza to be made without cheese, and I asked for the specialty pizza of the night, normally made with chicken, andouille sausage, red onions and mushrooms, to be made without the mushrooms. Oh, and when a friend asked about the Belgian ale on draft, Delladee brought her out a small sample. It turned out to be like most Belgian ales, a little sweeter than my friend liked, so she ordered a Darkstar Porter instead ($4.25, like most of their drafts).
Overall, the food was excellent. The Greco was flavorful and filling, the specialty pizza (a 10-inch for $12.50) was a revelation, with the sausage having just enough kick to spice it up perfectly, and the dessert we had, a triple chocolate cheesecake ($4), was insanely good and too rich to finish.
The only two complaints came from the appetizer, a lobster variation on their usual fried wontons ($8.50 for four; the regular prosciutto, cheese, basil and oregano wontons are two for $3.50 and four for $6), and from the coffee my friends ordered. The wontons were unevenly filled with lobster, usually having more of lobster taste and just a hint of lobster meat, and the coffee was reportedly on the weak side.
All in all, though, we agreed that the Come Back Inn in Jeffersonville was a welcome addition to the arsenal of dining spots to frequent and that we would be coming back in.
(Note: Come Back Inn in Jeff is still a smoking restaurant, and there’s not really any such thing as a non-smoking section, at least until Jeffersonville’s smoking ban goes into effect sometime in May.)
The Come Back Inn in Jeffersonville is located at 415 Spring St. Hours are Mondays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturdays noon-10 p.m.; closed Sundays. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible, and most credit cards are accepted. For more info, call 285-1777.
BY CHRISTOPHER HALL