Whether you’re a long-term resident of Paducah or a tourist dropping in to check out the delights, you’re probably going to want some food at some point. Obviously, you could grab some chips and dips from a convenience store, but where’s the fun in that? For dates night, special occasions, or just a mid-week blowout, Paducah’s restaurant scene more than lives up to expectations. Whether you’re in the mood for a steak, a burger, or something altogether fancier, there’s a restaurant ready and waiting to treat you to some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Give your taste buds a treat by checking out these 10 best restaurants in Paducah, Kentucky.
10. JP’s Bar & Grill
If you like a menu to be one mile long and two feet wide, JP’s Bar & Grill is the restaurant for you. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there’s a good chance it’s available. There’s even a separate kid’s menu with a nice selection of child-friendly classics like corn dog, waffles, chicken fingers, and macaroni and cheese. The portions are as generous as the menu selection – if you came in with an appetite, you certainly won’t be leaving with one. Any night is a good night at JP’s Bar & Grill, but if you want a little extra to go with your peanut butter pie, book a table for Saturday to catch some live music in the courtyard.
9. Strickland’s Seafood Restaurant
If you want something local, something family-owned and something family-friendly, there’s a good chance you want Strickland’s Seafood Restaurant. Cozy and welcoming, this 40-year-old Paducah institution is the perfect place for a mid-week meal or a Saturday blowout. The reviewers over at Trip Advisor clearly agree, with many commenting on the exceptionally friendly service and the great food.
8. The Station Burger Company
There’s a time for fine dining and a time for straight-up, down-home fare served with a smile and with no trace of pretension. If you want the food but not the frills, The Station Burger Company is the restaurant for you. Choose from an endless array of juicy burgers – the Station Burger with bacon has to be tasted to be believed, while the spicy Back Draft burger has just enough chilly to wake you up without bringing tears to your eyes- followed up by some good, old fashioned, creamery- made soft serve ice cream.
7. Bridges Dining Company
If a restaurant gets a 4.7 out of 5 on Open Table, you know you’re not going to be disappointed if you book a table there. Case in point, Bridges Dining Company, a restaurant that does classic, tasty American fare with a good dollop of southern hospitality on the side. Portions are hearty (customers who like to pick delicately at a green salad aren’t catered to), the service is friendly, and the menu is extensive without being overwhelming. Top picks include an entree of homemade chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese bites with spicy chipotle ranch dipping sauce, a succulent whiskey glazed pork chop, and an all-American caramel apple pie with toasted pecans, warm caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.
6. Dairyette ‘Plus’
If you’re lactose intolerant, steer clear of Dairyette ‘Plus.’ As the name suggests, this a place where dairy rules the roost. The milkshakes are legendary – choose between vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter chocolate – while the ice creams are enough to make a grown man weep. The menu isn’t all milk-based, though – the barbeque is probably the best in town and the sandwiches will definitely hit the spot Service-wise, it doesn’t disappoint. If you want to experience the best of southern hospitality without paying a fortune for the privilege, don’t miss it.
5. Parker’s Drive-In Restaurant
Fancy having lunch in the 1950s? Parker’s Drive-In Restaurant is where you can do it. The retro-styled interior has everything you’d expect of a ’50s diner, from the purple booths to the checkered floor, the jukebox to the neon lights. The figurines of Elvis and other pop culture figures from the era don’t exactly spoil the effect, either. The menu is a dream of malted milkshakes, mile-high sundaes, crispy french fries, and juicy burgers. Is it fine dining? No. Does it matter? Not at all.
4. Gold Rush Cafe & Catering
How does chocolate-covered carrot cake appeal to you? What about Frosted Flake–breaded peanut butter and jelly? Or maybe cinnamon pancakes are more to your taste? Whatever grabs your fancy, they’re all on offer at Gold Rush Cafe & Catering, a restaurant that doesn’t just acknowledge a sweet tooth, but that positively encourages it. Not that the menu is entirely devoted to sugary goodness – if you’d rather save the sugar rush for another day, the homemade scotch eggs, chicken and waffles, and homemade biscuits and gravy are all first-rate.
3. Freight House
If you want to experience a true farm-to-table experience, head for Freight House, a restaurant that specializes in seasonal, regional products, sourced locally and delivered fresh to your plate. What you get will usually depend on what produce is available and freshest on the day, but certain dishes like Mom’s meatloaf, shrimp and grits, wedge salads, and pork rinds are all staples and all very much worth a try. Service can be a bit hit and miss, but the quality of the food makes up for the extra few minutes you spend waiting for your cocktails.
2. Flamingo Row
As Culture Trip notes, Flamingo Row is about more than just good food. It’s about an entire dining experience. Styled like something that’s just been air-dropped from the Caribbean, the interior flaunts aquamarine vaulted ceilings, handpainted details, tropical designs, live reggae music, and even a live iguana. The menu is divine, featuring comforting, hearty portions of Caribbean-influenced dishes like Tahitian tuna, shrimp and grits, and coconut chicken. The deserts menu is just as impressive as the main – if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the decadent “Big Fat Cake.”
1. Cynthia’s Ristorante
Cynthia’s Ristorante is a rustic, Italian-themed restaurant hidden away at the very center of historic Paducah. With its exposed brick walls, terracotta accents, romantic lighting, and gorgeous stained glass, it looks like something straight out of Tuscany. But make no mistake – this isn’t a case of style over substance. The food is just as outstanding as the decor -expect a varied menu that brings together highlights from the entire culinary map, from India to Italy and from America to France. If you’re looking for somewhere special for date night or a big occasion, it makes an excellent choice.