March 16, 2015 by Ashlee Clark Thompson
All the exclamation marks. All the confetti. None of the pants. That’s how I will celebrate today’s release of my first book, Louisville Diners. Unless I pull a Harper Lee, I hope this is the beginning of a fruitful career in the publishing world. Louisville Diners is available online and in local Louisville retailers. You can also get the goods straight from me at upcoming events. Don’t see Louisville Diners at your favorite store? DEMAND they stock it (seriously, guys, let’s throw a few hissy fits and get this book to the masses). Let’s mark this special occasion with a couple of shameless self-promotions, yes? First, here is an excerpt from Louisville Diners. This little section comes from a section about the diners of Dixie Highway. Consider it an amuse bouche, if you will. You have to buy the book to get the whole meal. *clears throat* *lowers voice an octave to obtain a proper writer’s tone* Let’s do this.
Growing up, fast-food giants were the guests of honor at the dinner table every Thursday night. My mother worked at the beauty salon until 8 p.m. on those days, which was her one late night of the week. As an adult, the 8 p.m. cut-off time doesn’t seem too bad. As a kid, my mother’s late night stretched through homework time and snack time and TV time until it finally collided with bedtime. My mother needed something quick, easy, and portable to bring to the table before I had to go to bed. Convenience eclipsed local ownership. So the fast-food restaurants scattered along Dixie Highway, the main thoroughfare for my southwest Louisville community of Shively, became reliable dinner companions. My family’s omission of local Dixie Highway diners from our meal rotation was an understandable oversight. When I was a kid, it was a big deal when a major restaurant or retailer arrived on Dixie Highway, and an even bigger deal when they left. Not much has changed in 20 years. There are just as many chain restaurants as I remember – maybe even a few more. It’s still a boon for Shively and the other communities in the South End when a national giant takes notice of Dixie Highway and validates the buying power of this area. Big names in casual, fast-casual, and fast-food dining continue to take root along this roadway with the hopes of growing this region’s restaurant appeal. In the years of my childhood and a healthy portion of my adult life, the corporate signage was so big that I missed the perennial diners that give substance and pride to the South End. There is a lot of good, local eating at the diners that dot the Dixie. You just have to spot them amongst the abundant collection of chain restaurants, used-car dealerships, big-box retailers, cash-advance storefronts, and car washes that populate the roadway… Dixie Highway is long enough to put some space between these diners and let them nourish their own distinct communities of regulars. These eateries thrive in the shadows of their big-name competition by preserving the flavor that’s unique to this chunk of Louisville. Diners here have gained a clientele so faithful that fanfare follows renovations and re-openings on a level once reserved for the big boys in the restaurant industry. The food here is borne of necessity rather than innovation, but there’s also a healthy dusting of novelty and creativity…
Like it? Want to read more? To commemorate today’s book release, I’m going to give away a signed copy of Louisville Diners. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post that answers the following question: What is your favorite diner and why? You have until Saturday, March 21 at 12:01 a.m. to leave a comment. I’ll announce a winner Monday, March 23. Good luck!
Updated: The original question was, “What is your favorite Louisville diner?” However, our first commenter kindly reminded me that there are folks who will read this book that aren’t from Louisville. *face palm* So let me know about your favorite diner, wherever you’re located.