Kentucky Bourbon and BBQ brings Southern food to KW

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Kentucky Bourbon & BBQ is the newest addition to the Uptown Waterloo restaurant scene. It soft launched on Sept. 20, and the official grand opening happened this past weekend, on Oct. 4.

The modern country-themed bourbon and barbecue restaurant specializes in southern comfort food, and has a respectably-sized menu.

“Right now we’ve got 25 bourbons, we’ve got a pretty significant smoker menu, we’ve got brisket, pulled pork, fried chicken, smoked chicken wings. We do smoked chicken, and our fries are made in house,” said Adam Cole, operator at Kentucky Bourbon & BBQ.

“The food comes with two sides, which a lot of places aren’t doing. So you’re never sitting at the menu, looking at it and going, “I want the potato salad but I also want the cajun corn,” you can do that here and it’s included in the price,” said Cole.

Located at 103 King St N., the restaurant, which formerly housed Kentucky Variety and Empress of India, has a ground level patio and approximately 6500 square feet of space.

“We’ve been crazy busy, slammed for Friday and Saturday night dinners—any time after 5 o’clock. Our lunches have been great as well, so we’ve been enjoying some pretty good success so far,” Cole said.

The restaurant space is light, bright and sleek. Porch lights line the front entrance to the L- shaped building, along with stacks of firewood and brewery barrels, immediately setting the stage for the classy yet country theme.

A concrete bar top lines the wall opposite to the front door. Long, wooden tables are arranged around the space for patrons, and there is a brightly lit “Kentucky” LED sign opposite to the floor-to-ceiling windows.

“It’s a little more trendy, there’s a lot of “Instagrammble” elements, like the feature wall—the Kentucky sign, there’s selfie mirrors in (the washrooms). There’s a couple other things that are going to come too and it’s just a clean, crisp environment,” said Cole.

The restaurant has received positive ratings online and on social media, from the community and students alike.

“We’ve had a lot of students, but it hasn’t been exclusively students. If you’re a third, fourth year student, this is a great place for you because you’re still mingling with people who are (aged) 25-35, and you can honestly meet people who are real estate agents, people who are doctors—they’re in here too, but they want to have a good time as much as any of the students,” Cole said.

“It’s kind of a melting pot where you can go and be an adult without feeling like a student—it’s kind of different.”

The large restaurant space is ideal for accommodating the substantial weekend crowd, and they’ve been doing a good job of getting people in the doors.

“You can usually get in with your ten friends. You don’t have to wait in a huge line, so it’s good,”said Cole.

Their food menu is accompanied by a drink menu, consisting of 25 bourbons, 12 on-tap beers, and an extensive liquor list. They also have $3 PBR’s and $3 jagers daily.

“It’s pretty cheap for students,” said Cole.

“We definitely want to see the students out, but not just on Friday and Saturday night. This is a great spot to eat, hang out with your friends and watch the game.”

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