The $10 Challenge: The Bard’s Town

I’m in the second row of a small, empty theater. To my left, six actors stand in a circle doing vocal warm-ups. To my right, a full glass of white wine.

The wine is celebratory. One of the actors on the stage is my husband.

I am at The Bard’s Town, a restaurant and theater venue on Bardstown Road. It is a night full of firsts. This is my first time at The Bard’s Town. This is Rob’s debut in The Halloween Trilogy of Radio Plays (more on that later). And this is the first time I’ve started writing The $10 Challenge while still in the place where I ate my meal.

The Bard’s Town is unique in its ability to cater to a diverse audience. The restaurant portion of The Bard’s Town has a full menu of tasty items for the foodie like me. The second-floor theater houses a rotating schedule of performances by local theater companies for arts lovers like my husband. And there’s a full bar with flat screen TVs, and that pleases everyone. How can you not have a good time when your belly is full, your head’s fuzzy from the crafts on tap, and you’re supporting local theater?

If you hadn’t noticed from the name or the fetching fellow in the restaurant’s logo, The Bard’s Town tips its hat to playwright and all-around good guy William Shakespeare. The names of menu items are plays on the titles of or lines from famous works by B. Shakes (let’s start calling him that). I’m a sucker for puns, so I giggled as I scanned the menu, which is organized like the outline of a play. Here are some of my favorites:

    • Parting is Such Sweet Potato — sweet potato fries with cheese, bacon, salsa, sour cream and jalapenos ($8.99)
    • To Bean, or Not to Bean — black bean burger with red pepper aioli ($7.99)
    • The Shrimpest — grilled shrimp with lemon ($7.99)

Eventually, I had to stop laughing and decide what to eat. Rob, who had previously eaten at The Bard’s Town, recommended the pulled pork sandwich called My Kingdom for Some Pork! ($9.99). I added a side of coleslaw.

My Kingdom for Some Pork! and spicy coleslaw at The Bard’s Town.

If this whole theater thing doesn’t work out, The Bard’s Town folks should set up a barbecue pit on the street. It’s hard to find good barbecue, and I would have never guessed I’d find it under Act Two, Scene One of The Bard’s Town menu. The pork is loaded onto a toasted bun, and the people in the kitchen made the wise decision to put the barbecue sauce on the side rather than coating the meat in it. That way, you can taste the peppery smokiness of the swine, which tasted like it had been lovingly smoked for hours. I started by pulling pieces of the juicy pork with my fingers and dipping it into the tangy, tomato-based sauce. Then I drizzled the sauce on the sandwich and went to town. It was fantastic.

I always try to give coleslaw a chance at a restaurant, but the results often fall short of my expectations. Though The Bard’s Town adds a spicy kick to this cabbage dish, it was missing the pizzazz that I hoped for.

Next time, I’m going for the sweet potato fries, which I swiped from Rob’s plate throughout the evening. I dipped these crisp suckers in my barbecue sauce, which turned out to be a perfect combination of sweet and spice.

I capped my evening with a glass of white wine ($4 during happy hour) and a climb to the second floor to see Rob perform. I’m thankful that Rob introduced me to The Bard’s Town, not only for the food, but for the well-rounded evening that this venue gave me. I’m rooting for The Bard’s Town and everything it promotes — a good meal, a good drink and good times with local entertainment.

Notes about The Bard’s Town

    • A Trio of Halloween Radio Plays, the show in which Rob performs at The Bard’s Town, has shows at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 19, and 20. The show is presented by the Coffee Cup Theatre Company and is performed in the style of old radio plays. The actors perform The Canterville Ghost, The Cask of Amontillado and The Monkey’s Paw. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors.

The Stats

    • My Kingdom for Some Pork! with a side of spicy coleslaw: $9.99
    • Glass of house white wine: $4 (happy hour price)
    • Total (w/tax): $14.83

Mission: Failed

5 thoughts on “The $10 Challenge: The Bard’s Town

  1. No joke, one of the best kept food secrets in Louisville (not anymore!) is the side of mac & cheese at the Bard’s Town. It’s under $4, I think. Plenty for a meal. Delicious. And with a splash of hot sauce… even better!

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