Louisville is undeniably quaint. With its leisurely Main Street, bungalow-housed shoppes, and regular bustle of baby strollers, kids and couples holding hands, it is ultimate Americana.
But Americana isn’t purple and gold-decked walls, conical lights dangling from a thatched ceiling, children’s pictures and smirking dolls hanging in odd corners of a bank-turned-cafe. Is it?
Admittedly, I expected The Huckleberry to house an older clientele, happily sipping away on espresso and indulging in the American gothic of food. Rich French toast topped with ice-cream-sized scoops of salty butter would emanate from the kitchen, oozing streams of maple syrup, complemented by several pan-fried lengths of extra fatty bacon.
But as I eeked my way into the eagerly waiting crowd, hovering covetously over a case of two-tiered carrot cakes and crumb-topped apple pies, the unassuming façade gave way to ageless excitement.
Chaotic conversation buzzed on countless levels; children’s yelps were hushed by doting parents, grandchildren flurried around grandparents, and all the while servers dashed in and out, their mounded trays of flapjacks and carafes of orange juice swaying just above hairlines.
I meandered through low-ceilinged hallways with my significant other, both of us taken by carefully adorned corners with picturesque tea sets and framed pictures of Louisville’s olden days. It was a relaxing atmosphere despite the close quarters. Hosts busily rushed through back doors, side doors, between tables, over tables, beneath hanging plants and raised platters. The murmur of voices was comforting.
Every dish we ordered triggered nostalgia for a time when breakfast at my grandmother’s was the norm, and everything I ate was rich, diet-confounding comfort food. The Eggs Benedict ($8.50) caught my attention instantly. And while its many parts—English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise—make it particularly susceptible to second-rate ingredients, Huckleberry’s rendition was satisfying. Though the hollandaise itself was slightly anemic (I prefer more egg yolks in the base), it played smoothly alongside a tender, paprika-dusted egg and a salty-crisp cut of bacon. Never chewy, it made each bite easy and rich. And the English muffin—where mediocrity so often reigns—was crispy on the edges, while saturated with egg yolk and hollandaise at its center.
But there was more to indulge in than a traditional Benedict. Sampling a bit of the Southwestern Chicken Wrap ($8.95), which fits well on the self-dubbed “funky country” menu, I found the chicken to be disappointingly dry. The accompanying fries, however, were a surprisingly pleasant complement.
Though I’m usually not a fan of Fried Green Tomatoes ($4.95), Huckleberry managed to keep theirs crisp and tender with just a touch of sweetness. The golden hue on the bread-crumb crust was well suited to a dollop of mustard-relish—the standard accompaniment and a welcomed flavor “kick.”
Brunch rarely comes with dessert. But it seemed necessary, an indulgence that was at the heart of The Huckleberry. The Carrot Cake ($4.25) was as most carrot cakes are—sugary, with a little too much frosting. The Huckleberry Peach Pie ($3.25) was a tad disappointing as well; the crust wasn’t as flaky as its looks promised.
But don’t let that keep you from the rest of the menu. One of Huckleberry’s charms is its sprawling offerings, from potato latkes to fish and chips. And, with breakfast overlapping lunch by hours, you don’t have to sacrifice. Get the pancakes and the clam chowder. Who’s going to tell you that’s un-American?
700 Main St., Louisville
Bottom line: Good value, endearing atmosphere and quality food. The pastries could use a homemade touch.