The following post was written by Kenn Grimes.
Each week in my blog I write about people in, and events that take place during, one of the years in which my book, The Other Side of Yesterday, is set. The year this week is 1926. (Kenn Grimes)
The historic 16-story Brown Hotel was constructed in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in 1923. It soon became the place to stay—and party. Each evening more than 1,200 guests came for its dinner dance. But dancing can become tiring, and early each morning many of the dancers would retire to the restaurant for something to eat, usually the traditional ham and eggs.
The Brown Hotel façade
Eventually, those diners began to desire a more varied menu. Enter Chef Fred Schmidt who, in 1926, came up with what has become, not only the signature sandwich of the Brown Hotel, but of Louisville itself—the Hot Brown.
A variation of the traditional Welsh rarebit, the Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, and a delicate Mornay sauce. At the Brown Hotel, the Hot Brown is served in both the (upscale) English Grill, as well as J. Graham’s Café (which actually bills itself as the “home” of the Hot Brown).
Hot Brown sandwich
But don’t be fooled—the Hot Brown may be found (in a number of variations) at restaurants all over Louisville. My favorite? The next time you’re in town, try the Kentucky Hot Brown at Rubbie’s Southside Grill and Bar, located at 6905 Southside Drive.
Interestingly enough, a second “signature” sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel, around the same time as the Hot Brown. Called the Cold Brown, it was baked poultry (chicken or turkey), with a boiled egg, lettuce and tomato, open-faced on rye bread, and covered with Thousand Island dressing. It is rarely served anymore, and is not on the menus of either of the Brown Hotel’s restaurants.
Exquisitely decorated lobby
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