Ever have a restaurant you haven’t dined at before but are positive it will be a fast favorite? It’s weird I know, but sometimes instead of dining at such a location as soon as possible, instead I save it in my back-pocket, like an Ace up my sleeve, to drop at the perfect moment.
That’s the relationship I shared with Mike Linnig’s Famous Seafood Restaurant. This namesake eatery has conducted business since 1925. That doesn’t happen by accident.
Linnig’s isn’t so much a dive as it is a ‘locals favorite’ that gives off that lived-in-look. I can report the giant planks of fried white fish are crisp, golden, and moist, but the location southwest of the city center on Cane Run Road was never in my normal flight pattern so it took years before I finally arrived.
I almost sampled their fish at the Kentucky State Fair, where Mike Linnig’s hosts an expansive eating and entertainment outpost each year, but that many people in a tent atmosphere can produce mixed results on the wrong night. Besides that isn’t how I wanted my first experience to go.
This past Friday just fell out of the blue to become the perfect day to try this seafood favorite. It was Friday noon. The weekend was mere hours away. After stepping outside into the sunlight, the thought came to me that a lunchtime adventure was necessary. Fried fish; really good fried fish, served near the river sounded spot on.
I consulted the Google, and the all-knowing prophet said we could arrive at Mike Linnig’s in 20 minutes. Saddle up boys & girls!
For those in Louisville familiar with an urban setting, be prepared for an outdoor embrace. The restaurant appears more remote than it actually is. Still, this was an unfamiliar journey for me. Twisting roads, hills and valleys, dips and turns, I zipped along until suddenly, out of nowhere, there was Mike Linnig’s staring at me from across the street. Sure enough it sat in a shady grove along the Ohio River.
It had the right feel, like that of a worn antique. The faded storefront was inauspicious. The restaurant gave off the appearance of a humble beginning that grew outward to address its expanding popularity.
After parking in the overflow lot, I walked across the street. The main restaurant has a couple dining areas, one with a skylight that opens up the room, and there is tons of patio dining amongst the giant wood-carved totem poles right of the main entrance.
I opted for inside, by the back windows beneath the glass-enclosed canopy. There I was rewarded a panoramic view of the layered greens from trees and brush buffering the river.
You can feel the passage of time at Linnig’s. Generations of folks were dining together inside. Older adult children were out with one or both of their elderly parents, plenty of veterans were about, and a few motorcycle enthusiasts were relaxing out back.
The menu was simple and one page. The standard fish sandwich is two giant planks of fish, two squares of white bread, a side, and a piece of Jalapeño Corn Bread for like $10. It’s a whole bunch of food. Do not miss out on the Jalapeño Corn Bread. That stuff will change your life.
I ordered a cup of the house special Turtle Soup to start. The rich, dense color is matched by each spoonful of lasting flavor. A few splashes of Louisiana hot sauce did it right, and paired it impressively with the Jalapeño Corn Bread.
Do yourself a favor and order an in-house mixed Arnold Palmer (sweet iced tea + lemonade) to wash down the meal. It’s sublime.
Other menu items include fresh peel-and-eat Boiled Shrimp by the quarter, half and full pound to start, Whole Catfish, Alaskan Snow-Crab Legs, all manner of Fried Seafood, Pan-Fried Oysters, Frog Legs, Alligator, and enormous stacks of Linnig’s signature Onion Rings.
There are two eye-catching platters on the menu: The Seafood Order sells for $21.95, and the Seafood Plate registers at $26.45. Both are “A mixture of delicious seafoods…”
Considering the lunch portions on display, it’s difficult to fathom the volume of seafood that must come with either of these. But I’ll tell you this, I mean to find out.
I went with the standard sandwich. From bite one, it was everything a person could want in the perfect fried fish experience. It was enough for three meals honestly. Dip this delectable golden fried treat in Mike Linnig’s own tartar sauce and all is well. I humbly requested from my attentive and awesomely helpful server another order of the Jalapeño Corn Bread to-go. I’m going back soon just for the corn bread and Arnold Palmer.
In reader polls from the Courier-Journal, Mike Linnig’s was voted Best Seafood Restaurant; Best Fish Sandwich; and Best Onion Rings.
Find the right day, make the time, and take an adventure over to Mike Linnig’s Famous Seafood Restaurant. They’re dishing up hearty portions of golden seafood at family prices.
MIKE LINNIG’S RESTAURANT | 9308 Cane Run Road | Louisville, KY | 502.937.9888