If you’re hungry for some of the best grub in town, this list of local favorites is for you. From award-winning burgers to authentic Mexican cuisine, Henderson, Kentucky, knows how to bring the flavor.
Serving up award-winning burgers and chili since 1869, Metzger’s is Kentucky’s oldest continuously operating tavern. A local favorite, this historic dive bar is located in Henderson’s East End in an unassuming brick building with a massive sign you can’t miss. Dig into dishes like mouthwatering burgers with Cajun fries. Quench your thirst with a craft brew, spiked seltzer or cocktail. And don’t miss out on the sweet Deep-Fried Bastards – fried biscuits coated with cinnamon sugar.
Known for its legendary baked beans, Thomason’s Barbecue has been smokin’ up finger-licking-good Western Kentucky barbecue since the 1960s. Enjoy a bite outside at one of the red picnic tables and chow down on trays piled high with smoked meats like pork, mutton, beef and even a half-chicken. Of course, you can’t forget the sides, such as beans, slaw, and potato salad. And for dessert? Try a slice of the pecan pie.
Breakfast lovers should put this spot at the top of their list. Located in the Eastgate Shopping Center, this family-owned diner serves up some of the best all-day breakfast in Henderson. From fluffy omelets and biscuits and gravy to pancakes and crispy bacon, prepare to loosen your belt when eating at this local favorite. Beyond breakfast, the dinner specials can’t be missed. Dine on fresh-caught catfish, Salisbury steak, and buttery and flaky chicken pot pie.
As Henderson’s quintessential burger joint, The Dairiette is known all over town for its thin, crispy burgers and over-the-top milkshakes. Easy to spot thanks to its hot pink exterior, grab an outdoor seat under the awning or use the drive-up dairy bar to take your grub to go. Enjoy a Juicy Lucy (a burger patty stuffed with cheese) or the Nashville hot chicken. And be sure to order an extreme milkshake like the Brownie Mountain or the Bedrock Baby, an orange cream shake with Fruity Pebbles!
Yum Yum Chinese Restaurant
If you’re craving some delicious and authentic Asian cuisine, head to Yum Yum Chinese just outside of downtown Henderson. Don’t let its humble exterior fool you – it packs a serious punch when it comes to flavor. Enjoy iconic starters like crispy crab rangoon and steamed dumplings. Chow down on plates of Kung Pao chicken, beef and scallops and string bean shrimp. And, of course, the soups are a must, from the classic wonton to hot and sour.
It’s all about the birria tacos at Bodega Market, a luncheria and grocery store with a standout menu of Mexican cuisine. Dine on street tacos, burritos and fresh tamales. Love sopes? The carnitas topped with cheese are simply heavenly. And you don’t want to miss out on the freshly baked bread, weekend soup specials, and ginormous tortas. You better bring your appetite and a pair of stretchy pants!
Cairo Country Cafe
Tucked away on a scenic backroad, Cairo Country Cafe is the place for good ‘ole Southern eats. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this reimagined country store serves plates piled high with daily specials like chicken and dumplings, meatloaf with macaroni and cheese, and piping hot breakfast sandwiches. Don’t miss out on the ever-rotating menu of delicious desserts like the honey bun cake or confetti cookie sandwich!
Mr. D’s Drive-In
Prepare for the ultimate blast from the past at Mr. D’s Drive-In, a nostalgic burger joint that’s been serving locals for 45 years. While this old-school hot spot serves classic diner fare like burgers, shakes, and malts, it also offers modern delights like breakfast charcuterie boxes packed with fresh fruit, pancakes, and sausage. Try the famous Colonel Jim’s spicy fried chicken or a cozy bowl of chili with grilled cheese.
Brown Bag Burgers
It’s hard to miss this classic diner in Henderson’s downtown district with its bright blue building and rooster statue out front. Serving up a mean breakfast and juicy burgers, it’s the perfect spot to start or end the day. Bite into fluffy pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or chicken with waffles. Indulge in the fried pickles or okra. Love burgers? You can’t go wrong with the classic double with cheese. And don’t skip out on the fresh options like the chicken salad stuffed tomato.
Touted by locals as Henderson’s best-kept secret, Medina’s is the real deal when it comes to authentic Mexican cuisine. Located in a former gas station, this delicious dining spot serves up a wide variety of dishes from mild to spicy. Chow down on made-to-order guacamole, tacos, tamales and stew. Love chorizo? It’s perfect with some red salsa. Wash it all down with a Mexican soda. Word of advice – come hungry; the burritos are enormous.