Friday, May 22, 2009

610 Magnolia, Louisville KY: unusual restaurant, amazing food, creative chef

Located in the heart of historic Old Louisville on an out of the way side street is 610 Magnolia, from the outside, a small, unpretentious building with no indication that it is, indeed, one of the finest restaurants, and maybe the finest restaurant in Louisville. If you were to walk by during the day, you would never guess that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an extraordinary chef was creating extraordinary cuisine.

Offering his guests a combination of southern hospitality and urban sophistication, he has created an interior which is a simple statement in elegance with the original wooden beams along the ceiling, mullioned windows, and French doors leading to alovely garden patio. Inside the restaurant are highly polished mahogany tables, Frette linens and Riedel crystal that add up, along with the unsurpassed wine list, to a truly unique dining experience.

Chef Edward Lee has been cooking professionally for 10 years in America and Europe, training under Chef Frank Crispo in New York. At 25, he opened Clay, a successful Asian-inspired restaurant in the NoLiTa section of Manhattan. "I was the chef, the manager, the dishwasher and the host there. After five years, I was looking to rise to the next level."

He discovered 610 Magnolia eight years ago, while researching the best American restaurants. A regular customer in New York who was also a Louisville native, told him about the restaurant and its eccentric chef, Ed Garber. When Lee visited Garber during Kentucky Derby week 2001, they began a mentor-apprentice relationship that resulted in the passing of the torch from one Ed to another. Garber closed 610 Magnolia in July. Lee, in partnership with businessman Brook Smith, reopened 610 Magnolia on September 11, 2003.

610 Magnolia has reopened, in 2003, under the leadership of Edward Lee, a former innovative New York City chef who has studied under Ed Garber, the former chef and proprietor. The restaurant is now open to the public three nights a week. The restaurant focusses on New American cuisine, blending the eclectic with classical European techniques to produce a contemporary and exciting approach to dining that has always been the benchmark of 610 Magnolia. Chef Lee brings to the diners of Louisville a top tier dining experience comparable to the finest restaurants in this country.

Chef Lee believes that a true dining experience requires an entire evening. So there is only one seating nightly. "Your reserved table is yours for the whole evening,” he said. “That's what it takes to make a dinner memorable." The menu changes week-to-week depending on the seasons. The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tables will not turn. Reservations are required. A full bar serving a small a la carte menu opens at 5:30 p.m. 610 Magnolia is also available for private events.

Photos: courtesy Dan Dry
If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a comment


  1. I really like your beautiful blog and especially the recipes. I still haven't found your Fibromyalgia blog though. Can you help?


  2. Thanks for the nice comment. Here is the Fibro URL:

    Please come again. Glad you liked the site.

  3. Perhaps things have improved drastically at 610. When Garber manned the kitchen it was heaven. We tried once with Lee at the helm - awful!!! Had to send back an entree.