Louisville’s most missed businesses

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Former ear X-tacy store sign at the Frazier History Museum. | Photo by LOUtoday

We’ve been feeling nostalgic recently after the closing of Village 8 movie theater + Hibachi Sushi Buffet in Fern Creek, so we asked you to indulge us as we traverse down memory lane by sharing what Louisville businesses you missed the most and boy do you all have some memories.

Over 50 readers responded, sharing former businesses like Hawley Cooke Booksellers, Palermo Viejo, and Wild ‘n Wooly video store. Even some current local businesses wrote in to share their favorite bygones. Lou Oyster Cult misses Rye on Market + Joe Davola’s, while Heine Brothers Coffee confessed its love for Louisville Beer Store and Butchertown Grocery.
While there were 50+ former businesses submitted, here’s a deeper look at two that seemed to tug your heartstrings the most.

💿 ear X-tacy

It’s no surprise to see this legendary independent music store still beloved throughout Louisville, especially by readers Derrick D., John C., Ed. H., Jessica H., Rebecca A. + Instagram follower @Jsunjsun.

“Before Spotify, the way to discover new music was with headphones at the listening stations. Also seeing big name acts play intimate concerts in the store,” Rebecca reminisced.

After 26 years in business, this alternative record store — which was known for carrying hard-to-find music + hosting in-store shows closed in October of 2011. The record store moved several times over the course of its life and today I Love Tacos resides in the building it occupied from 2001-2010 at 1534 Bardstown Rd.

While they may be gone, its legacy lives on in the “Cool Kentucky” exhibit where the ear X-tacy store sign is on display.

Bonus: Watch the documentary on how ear X-tacy came to an end.


Vintage photo of City Editor Katie dining at the former El Camino. | Photo by @kendall_regan

🌮 El Camino

In a former life, The Eagle at 1314 Bardstown Rd. was a taco and tiki bar oasis, but in 2016, they permanently parked the camino. Readers Kendall R. + Instagram follower @hunter_rommelman both wrote in saying how much they miss the authentic Mexican street food and the pig roast they did for the service industry on Mondays.

They’re no El Camino, but the owners still operate two other bars and restaurants in the 502 — The Pearl + The Silver Dollar.

And with that all we have left to say — and in the words of Sarah McLauchilan — is “I Will Remember You.”

Continue your journey through Louisville’s memory lane:

🥘 Restaurants

  • Papalinos, @Nicjf22
  • Brazo’s Mexican Grille, @Ehausr
  • Butchertown Pizza, “Giant slices were literally the best in the city” — Tim M.
  • China Inn, @kelscole03 + Stuart E.
  • Lydia House, @NorthLauren
  • Sari Sari, Thereasa S.
  • Morel’s, @Sheridan_gates
  • Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, @pstgang
  • Blue Boar Cafeteria + Elizabeth Rouse-Wong, Karen M.
  • For Goodness Crepes, @hnfreeland
  • Taco Punk, Candice W.
  • Palermo Viejo, @larkinmeg + Derrick D.
  • Austin’s Restaurant, @laura.mosher4
  • Ehrman’s Bakery in Mid City Mall, “Loved their homemade ice cream and pastries.” — Keith P.
  • Ostra | @lindseytm28
  • Burgers Market, @ketihlrunyonsr
  • Goodall’s Diner, Mary Patt S.
  • The original Kaelin’s, @uunzzz
  • Corbertt’s, Jessica A.
  • Another Place Sandwich Shop, @nextupkixs
  • Lilly’s Bistro, @harley_posed
  • Azalea + Avalon, Kerry R.
  • Mazzoni’s, “I really miss the rolled oysters when Mazzoni’s was a restaurant.”- Billy
  • Eiderdown, Derrick D.
  • Hopcat, @Megsfern
  • Porquanos Mexican Restaurant, Vicki C.
  • Baxter Station, “The best mac and cheese ever along with the little train that cruised around the dining area.” — Cookie Y. + Rick V.
  • Spring Street Bar and Grill, Cookie Y.
  • Mastersons, Cookie Y.
  • Ferd Grisanti, Mike B.

🍺 Bars

  • Mr. Lee’s, @hilleryocsnally
  • Jim Porters, “Coolest bar ever!”- Rebecca A.
  • Monkey Wrench, Derrick D.
  • The Red Lounge, Nina C.

🏬 Shops

  • Wild and Wolly Video, @Jsunjsun
  • Hawley Cooke Booksellers, “It was an oasis and for me a break from a hectic day. I put my credit card in my pocket and left everything else in the car. I could spend hours browsing through the books and once the staff got to know you, they had wonderful recommendations of books they thought I would like.” — Diane M.
  • Bacons Department Store, “It was great, you could go there and get anything. It’s where I bought my first furniture. And was famous for its midnight madness sales.” — Kelli T. + Mary K.

🎭 Venues

  • The Toy Tiger, “In its late years, for its indie shows. It was the only place where I could see My Morning Jacket (before they were big) and then walk out into a room that was prepped for “female oil wrestling” — Jessica H.
  • Vogue Theater, “I saw several great movies there like ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ and after it was restored ‘Citizen Kane,’ and of course ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.” — Karen C.
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