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Review – Claudia Sanders Dinner House

Tonight we kept up a little family tradition, and got take out from Claudia Sanders Dinner House for dinner on election night.  Claudia’s is one of our favorite restaurants.  We get dinner from them a few times a year as a treat, and they catered the shindig that Irish Woman and I threw when we got married.  The restaurant was started by Colonel and Mrs. Sanders after he sold off Kentucky Fried Chicken in the 1960’s, and their fried chicken is how I remember KFC from when I was a child, only better.  Imagine if your southern grandmother was in charge of a menu at a very nice eatery, and you have Claudia’s.

Service at the Dinner House is excellent.   Staff is courteous, friendly, and efficient.  When we eat in the restaurant instead of getting take-out, every one of us is treated as if we were the only patron.  Of course, when I asked what was good on the menu, I got the very Southern response “Honey, it’s all good!”.

The facility is done up in classic Southern style with burgundy carpeting, good lighting, fresh paint, and it is clean to the nth degree.  There is a small gift shop at the main door, which features both memorabilia for the restaurant and the Sanders family, as well as Kentucky treats such as bourbon balls and bourbon infused barbecue sauce.  The restaurant is on two levels, with a well-stocked bar available if you want a nip of Kentucky’s finest before enjoying your meal.

One quibble about the facility is parking.  The parking lot is a tad small, and the parking spots are tight.  Be patient if you’re trying to park something bigger than a Smart car on a busy night, and I’ve never been there when it wasn’t busy.

The food is, of course, the most important part of any restaurant experience, and the food here is excellent.  Of course, they have fried chicken, but baked and grilled chicken is also available and are very good.  The chicken liver dinner is one of my guilty pleasures.  Their ham dinners seem to be a favorite with the kids.  Each meal comes with its choice of side dishes.  Our favorites are the fried apples, mock oysters (an eggplant casserole), country-style green beans, and of course, mashed potatoes with gravy.  I’ve also tried their stewed tomatoes, creamed spinach, and corn pudding and I enjoyed all of them.  All meals also come with yeast rolls, which are an excellent medium for sopping up gravy.

Now, I will never try to fool you and tell you that the food at the Dinner House is health food.  Come on, it’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  It all tastes good, but I can hear Jenny Craig quietly sobbing every time we take a bite.  As a treat or for special occasions, though, it’s perfectly fine to indulge and enjoy.   I just can’t convince myself to eat a salad in a restaurant that smells of good Southern cooking.

Price wise, Claudia’s is not bad.  It’s not a low price alternative, but for a rather upscale restaurant, it’s pretty reasonable.  We normally get the 15 piece family meal, which comes with four pints of sides and a dozen yeast rolls, with an extra side of mashed potatoes for about $40.  This feeds our family of four very well for at least two meals, so we spend about $5 per person per meal, which is cheaper than going to KFC and we get better food.  You might pay out a little more, but it’s an excellent value for the quality and quantity of food you get.

The location of the Dinner House can be a challenge if you’re not from Louisville or the surrounding area.  It’s located a couple of miles west of Shelbyville, Kentucky, on US-60.  If you’re staying in downtown Louisville, it’s probably a 30 to 45 minute drive to get to the restaurant.  It’s worth the trip, but the drive may be a bit daunting to someone from out of town.

Like I said, Claudia Sanders Dinner House is one of our families favorites.  If you’re in the Louisville/Shelbyville area and have a hankering for outstanding food and service in a unique location, you ought to give them a try.

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2 Comments

  1. Roy

     /  November 6, 2012

    If you’ve never tried their Sunday morning buffet, you ought to.

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