For over twenty years, Lynn’s Paradise Cafe has been engaging the imaginations and taste buds of Louisville residents and visitors while receiving national media coverage from the likes of The Oprah Show to the Wall Street Journal and just about everything in between. Locals know it best as the sassy and smart Highlands area restaurant that serves up Southern cuisine with a Bohemian flair.
A Louisville native, Lynn Winter is every bit as colorful as her namesake. While living in California and preparing for a life of professional furniture making, Lynn began working at a restaurant in wine country where she fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the business. After a few years of learning the trade from the ground up, she returned to Kentucky and parlayed her artistic spirit into her own restaurant. Selling her band saw, she purchased an espresso machine, the first in the state. Staying true to the “meat + 3″ heritage of her Southern roots, Lynn created recognizable Kentucky favorites with a focus on “scratch cooking” and incorporating Kentucky Proud products. Before the Slow Food Movement swept our country, Lynn was already a participant, buying the freshest, local ingredients she could find and skipping the quick, processed foods for the old fashioned goodness of creating a meal from scratch.
Although the menu items can be playful, Lynn’s creativity is most obvious in the decor. In what can only be described as a Willy-Wonka-meets-Martha-Stewart style, Lynn has created the funkiest eatery in Kentucky. Pulling into the parking lot, you are greeted by a giant working teapot and a scattered array of fanciful figures.
Awaiting you inside is a groovy little gift shop dubbed the “World of Swirl” which sells endearing oddities as well as Lynn’s own clothing line, Magic Pants. Also, be sure to take a moment to explore the corner containing remnants from the Kentucky State Fair’s “Ugly Lamp Contest,” which the cafe sponsors annually.
The dining area is alive with color and movement in a dizzying array of fun as the mood is always jovial. In fact, a self-described “Happiness Coach,” I suppose you could say that Lynn specializes in creating smiles.
Lynn Winter has forged a restaurant which also happens to be an evolving canvas for her artistic expression. Whether you go for the food or you go for gawking, it matters little since they are both an experience to be remembered. And if you see Lynn, you will want to chat with the friendly, spirited woman who dreamt up the beautiful notion of a Paradise Cafe right here in Kentucky.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe will be featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” Monday, September 12th at 10PM ET. They will be showcasing their Kentucky Hot Brown and have shared that recipe below:
LYNN’S PARADISE CAFÉ KENTUCKY HOT BROWN
The finished product is an assembly of:
Touch of Mornay
Oven roasted turkey breast
The rest of the Mornay Sauce
Sprinkle with a mix of cheeses
Broil in oven
Garnish with sweet dried tomato slices
3/4 # or 12 oz butter
1 medium onion diced
1 shallot minced
12 whole cloves
1/2 # or 1 3/4 cups flour (BOB’S Redmill organic unbleached non bromated white flour)
2 teaspoons salt
1 gallon whole organic milk (JD Farms)
2 cups cream (JD farms)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
Combine and heat the wet ingredients
3 cups grated Pecarino (Santa Teresa) – Set aside 2 cups
2 cups grated Swiss (cave aged Emmentaler)
4 cups grated Kenny’s sharp white cheddar – Set aside 2 cups
Garnish: Roasted Sweet Tomato Slices
Get firm ripe tomatoes.
Toss in olive oil with tongs held over flame or roast in oven.
When slight color appears, toss in white sugar.
In a medium sauce pan on low heat place butter, diced onions and minced shallots. Sauté until translucent.
Next add cloves, flour, salt and whisk until smooth.
Cook the roux until you get a faint nutty aroma (do not let brown).
Heat wet ingredients to simmer and whisk in to warm White Roux to thicken.
Add 1 cups pecarino, 2 cups swiss and sharp white cheddar and whisk until incorporated.
Then strain through a medium strainer and your mornay is complete.
Reserve two cups pecorino and two cups cheddar to top hot browns before placing them in the oven.
Hot Brown assembly:
Cook bacon and set to the side when done.
In a flat bottomed oven proof bowl, place one slice of sourdough bread, top with a touch of Mornay Sauce, next comes 6 ounces of turkey breast, sliced roasted tomatoes and the remaining Mornay Sauce.
Sprinkle with remaining pecarino and cheddar. Place in oven on 375 degrees for 6 to 10 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.
Garnish with sweet dried slices and tomato confetti.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe
984 Barret Ave.