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Wilshire’s serves up slices of Kentucky’s past with its historic Kentucky cuisine

 Written by Kathy Witt

Here’s something to think about the next time you sit down to a dinner of Kentucky bourbon-glazed pork chops, fried catfish or other traditional Kentucky fare at Wilshire’s Restaurant: You are connected to a Kentucky that predates statehood.

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Owned by Don and Laura Wilshire, the restaurant is located in Georgetown’s Historic General John Payne Home, an 11-room colonial-style manse built sometime around 1790 – just 15 years after Daniel Boone led his first expedition party into what was then part of the state of Virginia; two years before Kentucky became the fifteenth state in the Union; and less than a decade and two miles from when and where Georgetown’s favorite Baptist minister, the Rev. Elijah Craig, discovered bourbon.

A meal here practically comes with a side of time travel, a culinary jaunt that is enhanced by a menu reflecting the building’s location, time and place in history as one of the oldest homes in Kentucky.

The state’s singular gastronomical sensations like catfish, country fried chicken breaded in Kentucky Proud-Weisenberg Flour, seafood croquettes and the beloved Hot Brown join house specialties, including Kentucky bourbon-glazed salmon, crab cakes, blackened mahi mahi and penne alla vodka.

All are served on linen-draped tables in a room warmed up by a fireplace and the glow of the candles, beamed ceilings and seasonal florals. It is space made for long conversations and lingering over custom cocktails, many made with that world-famous Native Spirit brought into being by the good reverend.

Speaking of . . . a vast array of Kentucky’s finest bourbons are stocked at Wilshire’s bar, an expansive gathering space cozied up with exposed stone wall and mood lighting. It fits in perfectly with the atmosphere and the history of a place considered an outstanding example of Kentucky’s “Stone Age” architecture – one that once gave refuge to a brigadier general who served in the 2nd Brigade of the Kentucky Militia and commanded the Kentucky Light Dragoons and who served as a state senator from Scott County from 1830 to 1832: John Payne.Wilshires 3


Wilshire’s offers inside and outdoor dining – with patio heaters and fully lit for a pleasant evening meal. The restaurant also has private dining rooms, downstairs and upstairs. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Saturday. (Note that indoor dining is currently closed until Sunday, Dec. 13.)

Wilshire’s is adhering to all mandates concerning COVID-19 safety and health protocols. Visit the restaurant’s Facebook page for updates. For more information, call 502-863-0034 or visit www.wilshiresrestaurant.com. Updated information about all of Georgetown’s restaurants, including onsite dining, curbside pickup and delivery details, may be found here.


 RECIPE: Georgetown Hot Brown


1 slice sourdough bread, toasted
6 ounces turkey breast, thick sliced
1 cup mornay sauce (Prepared)
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tomato slices
2-3 bacon slices (cooked)
1 ounce parmesan cheese, gratedWilshires Hot Brown


  • Place toast, crust removed, in the bottom of the oven safe dish
  • Pile turkey on toast and smother with mornay sauce
  • Top with cheddar cheese and tomato slices
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and paprika. Bake until cheese is fully melted
  • Top with cooked bacon and serve.

Printable Recipe Card

Author: Kathryn Witt

Kathryn Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Secret Cincinnati, The Secret of the Belles and Atlanta Georgia: A Photographic Portrait. A member of SATW, Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Books & Illustrators, she lives in northern Kentucky.

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