Beginning tomorrow, hundreds of church leaders will arrive in the city of Louisville to attend this year’s D6 Conference. If you’re not familiar with D6, it’s far more than a conference; it’s a place where ministry teams can gather each year to learn, worship, pray, and strategize about how to embed God’s truth in the lives of the next generation. D6 is at the forefront of a movement to strengthen the people of God by forging a partnership between churches and families.
But what should you do in Louisville when you’re not in the conference sessions?
That’s what this post will help you and your team to decide!
Wednesday Afternoon: The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
On the way to the D6 Conference, stop by 2825 Lexington Road and tour the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Designed by the Frederick Law Olmsted firm, the Georgian architecture of this campus is some of the most elegant that you will see anywhere. Enter at the Sesquicentennial Pavilion—that’s the building with the domed roof—and ask the concierge at the desk for a map to take a walking tour of campus. If you have time, head to the second floor of the library and see Sheryet-Mehyet—an Egyptian priestess, now mummified, who died seven hundred years before Jesus was born.
Wednesday Dinner: Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel
After the family ministry showcase at the Galt House, you’ll want to grab something to eat before the first breakout sessions. You could follow the crowds to Proof on Main—and you’d find outstanding food there in a unique atmosphere connected to an art museum and a hotel that was recognized by Conde Nast as one of the top ten hotels in the world three years in a row.
But, if you’re like me and enjoy long walks in downtown areas, I’d recommend making reservations ahead of time and taking a hike to the English Grill at Brown Hotel (335 West Broadway). There, you can enjoy the original version of Louisville’s signature dish, the Kentucky Hot Brown. This is the meal that convinced National Geographic to rank Louisville as the number one food city in the world. The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon, tomatoes and mornay sauce. It’s a one-mile walk from the Galt House to Brown Hotel and one mile back, but that will keep you from getting drowsy during the 6:30 PM breakout sessions!
If you don’t want to walk quite that far, you can get to the Brown Hotel by catching the green ZeroBus free of charge at the Galt Hotel and disembarking from the bus at Muhammad Ali Boulevard; then, it’s only two blocks to the Brown Hotel. After you’ve finished your meal, walk north to Muhammad Ali Boulevard, find the green ZeroBus sign, and wait for the bus there.
Wednesday Night: Coffee at Quills, America’s Best Coffeehouse
If you have a car, gather some friends and debrief at Quills Coffee (930 Baxter Avenue). Quills won the America’s Best Coffeehouse championship in 2015—and for good reason. I’ve visited dozens of coffee shops on three continents, and Quills is still one of my top three coffee shops. Their Central American and Mexican coffees are particularly full-flavored.
Start with a Chemex full of the El Eden blend, but be sure to try the Cafe Miel and Smokehouse before you leave town.
Thursday Breakfast: Scarlet’s Bakery
If you don’t have a car or if you’re a late riser, grab something at your hotel. Otherwise, make it a point to show up at Scarlet’s Bakery (741 East Oak Street) as soon as they open at 7:00 AM. Scarlet’s Bakery started in 2015 to provide an opportunity for women to leave the sex trade industry and to gain job skills to build new lives for themselves and their families.
If you enjoy sweet breakfasts, order one of their Famous Cinnamon Rolls; if you’re like me and prefer a savory breakfast, try the Bacon Cheddar Chive Muffin. Either way, don’t miss trying a cup of Good Folks Coffee, fresh from one of Louisville’s finest local roasteries.
Thursday Lunch: Mussel and Burger Bar
Leave the conference as soon as the breakout sessions end and head to one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Mussel and Burger Bar (113 South 7th Street), one of the ten best places in the United States to eat a hamburger according to TripAdvisor.
Each morning, steak truffle fries are sent directly from heaven to Louisville to serve to patrons at Mussel and Burger Bar. Each fry is roughly the size of a compact car, and a serving of them could constitute a meal in and of themselves—if it weren’t for the fact that the hamburgers are so amazing.
There’s the Spanish Blue Burger with fig marmalade, the Bacon Breakfast Burger with maple syrup glazed pork belly, and the Chorizo with serrano ham. But then there’s also the Blue Cheese Beer Pancetta Mussels, which are as tasty as any burger on the menu.
Thursday Dinner: Lots of Options!
If you want to stay close to the Galt House after the afternoon general session, make reservations ahead of time to eat at MilkWood, in the same building as Actor’s Theater (316 West Main Street). There, you’ll find octopus bacon, chicken and waffles, Shumai deviled eggs, shrimp and pork dumplings, and dozens of other unique dishes.
If you’re interested in experiencing another part of Louisville, head over to my favorite area of the city, Bardstown Road. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find on Bardstown Road:
- Sapporo’s for sushi (1706 Bardstown Road): The first time I had Sapporo’s sushi, I almost became postmillennial. The VIP roll arrives on a flaming plate; the Surf’n’Turf and the Red Bull include beef on a sushi roll. Beef, it’s what’s for sushi.
- Havana Rumba Express for Cuban steak chimichurri or vaca frita (2210 Bardstown Road): If you choose Havana Rumba Express, don’t forget to end the meal with a cortadito, bold Cuban coffee with a foamy milk cap and a piece of sugar cane.
- Holy Grale for all-around culinary excellence (1034 Bardstown Road): It’s in a former Unitarian church building, so get your food here but not your theology.
Thursday Night: The Comfy Cow
After the last session on Thursday evening, gather your team and talk about what you’ve learned at my children’s favorite spot in all of Louisville—a pink Victorian house located at 2221 Frankfort Avenue. There, you will find The Comfy Cow, one of the top twelve ice cream shops in the world. To taste some of the finest sweet flavors that this fine city has to offer, order an ice-cream sandwich with Bourbon Ball ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate-chip cookies.
Friday Morning: Wild Eggs
Before you leave town, you must eat at least one breakfast at Wild Eggs (121 South Floyd Street).
They have nachos for breakfast. What else is there to say? Nothing—except that I like their Crabby Patty Bennie best, and so will you if you don’t mind crustaceans for breakfast.
Friday Lunch: Please and Thank You
You won’t need lunch after eating breakfast at Wild Eggs! So head instead to Please and Thank You at 800 East Market Street for a ganache latte and the best chocolate-chip cookie in the cosmos. The ganache is not your typical coffee drink; it’s chunky, gooey dark chocolate mingled with Good Folks espresso and marshmallows.
Be aware: Please and Thank You is loud and cramped and funky, and there is no decaf anywhere on the premises—but they do have a record store, packed with classic LPs from the 1970s and 1980s. You’ll find everything from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to vintage Foreigner and Rush on the racks.
Friday Afternoon: Louisville Slugger Museum and Steel City Pops
After the last general session of D6, head west on Main Street toward the massive bat and tour the factory where Louisville Slugger bats are crafted. On your way out of town, cruise down to 1021 Bardstown Road and stop by Steel City Pops. Peanut butter banana, espresso, strawberry shortcake, cookies and cream, guava, and curry are just a few of the popsicle flavors you’ll find there.
Wherever you choose to eat and to fellowship, have a wonderful time at the D6 Conference in Louisville!
If you try any of these spots, let me know what you think. And, if you happen to find something excellent in Louisville that I failed to list, let me know that too!