The Cottage Inn, a Louisville dining staple starting in 1929, is listed for sale on Loopnet.com.
It was just under a year ago, July 17, 2021, that the restaurant posted this message on its Facebook page: “Sorry, temporarily closed due to staffing, and shortage of employees at this time. We look forward to having good food, good smiles and our customers back soon. We will keep you informed as to what is happening. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for all your support and understanding in this hard time.”
The restaurant was later listed as permanently closed, after not quite reaching 100 years in business and the quaint little building is now a prime opportunity for someone.
Listed for $525,000, the 1,987-square-foot stone building at 570 Eastern Parkway really does look and feel like country cottage. It is being offered as a “turnkey” sale or lease, and is listed as having a dining capacity of about 50 seats. The listing adds, “The kitchen is well equipped and the lower-level basement has plenty of refrigerated and dry food and, condiment/utensil storage.”
The property also comes with 15 parking spaces.
Here’s an excerpt from my book Unique Eats and Eateries of Louisville about The Cottage Inn:
One of the city’s oldest continuously operating restaurants, if not the oldest, the Cottage Inn has changed hands many times over the years, and the restaurant even got some national attention in 1998 when then-owner Cliff Meadows helped foil a bank robbery. Through it all, each owner seems to inherently know and accept that the Cottage Inn has to simply be the Cottage Inn, because the menu rarely changes. Same quaint space, same comforting fare.
It started with Harvey Board, who opened a deli there. Calling it Cottage Inn was apparently a no-brainer, since the building literally is a two-room stone cottage. It’s 1,800 square feet, and it feels smaller, but the welcoming décor and signature green tablecloths complement the always-friendly service. What appear to be several original menus are displayed on one wall, with the slogan “Brother, can you spare a dime?”, a nod to the Depression-era song by Yip Harburg, arched above them.
As you sit, it’s impossible not to wonder what the place was like back in the 1930s—how it sounded, what it smelled like. Was it much the same as today? Regardless, the menu is basic and inviting, with entrées topping out at $11.99 and a promise of a full belly making the money irrelevant. Feast on items like pork chops, Salisbury steak, and bone-in country ham, with sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, sliced tomatoes, and cottage cheese with fruit. There are also pasta dishes and plenty of hearty sandwiches, including a take on the traditional Kentucky Hot Brown.
One of the house specialties is baby beef liver, grilled or fried, which is smothered in sautéed onions and white country gravy—and you can even add bacon for a buck more. But, of course, the time-tested favorites are the fried chicken livers and the fried chicken. The menu teases, “Please allow 15 minutes of extra cooking time for fried chicken. It is well worth the wait!” And it is. Cottage Inn boasts the best fried chicken in town, which may or may not be true, but it’s in the conversation, and all in an environment that throws back to some of Louisville’s early years. Worth a return visit every time.
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