Hall’s on the River
1225 Athens Boonesboro Rd.
I’ll be the first to admit it – I bear an anti-Kentucky prejudice.
Call me a bluegrass bigot.
The quickest way to pick a fist fight in these parts is to tell a Kentuckian that his state isn’t part of the South.
I understand the sensitivity. Who wouldn’t want to be a Southerner?
We have nicer weather, tastier food, and better music.
Oh, and we don’t care how many or what guns you own. In fact, the more you have, the safer we feel.
So I get it.
But here’s the problem.
Kentucky is NOT a Southern state.
Kentucky didn’t secede.
Oh sure, Kentuckians will whine that their politicians in Frankfort were forced to remain in the union at the point of federal firearms, but still…
…the fact remains, Kentucky never officially joined the Confederacy.
Therefore, Kentucky is NOT a Southern state.
But, as you drive up and down the rolling hills of western Clark County—past the ancient stone walls and picket fences, the horse and cattle farms, and the old red barns that dot the bluegrass fields south of Lexington—even an anti-Kentucky bigot like myself has to admit, this sure FEELS like the South.
And tucked down in the bottom of a hollow at the bend of the Kentucky River, you’ll find Hall’s on the River, a quintessential Kentucky culinary landmark that’s been serving up the best uniquely Kentucky dishes for decades.
Down here in this part of the Commonwealth, the Southern accents are thicker, the pickup trucks are muddier, and the camo trucker caps are worn more sincerely than in vast swaths of Georgia, Alabama, or Tennessee.
In fact, as I pulled into Hall’s parking lot I thought for sure I could hear Kentucky kickass country-rocker Chris Knight singing “River Road” over the ripple of the water splashing against the pilings:
So drive til you can’t drive no more
Til the road runs out and the green water rolls
Think you’ve gone as far as you can go
Well the party’s just getting started on River Road
As if to testify to Kentucky’s Southern authenticity, Hall’s menu is stocked with southern fried delicacies.
Frog legs. Catfish. Chicken fried steak. Fried green tomatoes. Sweet tea.
Hall’s is a taste of Old Kentucky.
My waiter said that in the summertime, the catfish on your plate sometimes comes straight out of the river flowing right under the floorboards of the restaurant.
And no meal at Hall’s can begin without a sample of the restaurant’s world famous beer cheese – a uniquely Kentucky concoction of sharp cheddar cheese, beer, garlic, and cayenne pepper.