Louisville: Ollie’s Trolley Serves Up Spicy Burgers To Go
In Old Louisville, just down from Spalding University, is Ollie’s Trolley. Ollie’s is the last Kentucky vestige of a burger chain headquartered in Louisville, and founded by John Y. Brown in the 1970s. Once there were Ollie’s Trolleys in various cities in the east, now there seem only to be Trolleys in Louisville, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C. and those are no longer really connected. Chains aren’t usually the sort of thing I focus on at Eat Kentucky, but a Kentucky based failed chain with only one Trolley standing is just the sort of chain that appeals to me.
Ollie’s is designed for walk up and go. TheTrolley has an order window, a pickup window, and a kitchen. There’s about enough room for about three customers to stand, give or take a customer depending on how many Ollie Burgers they’ve eaten. Whatever you order, you’re ordering to-go.
My wife and I each got a signature Ollie Burger with cheese and “dressed”, that is, with the special Ollie sauce. We each got an order of Ollie fries with Ollie seasoning. The seasoning is a proprietary blend of 26 herbs and spices, which is more than twice as good as eleven herbs and spices.
Both burgers and fries use the seasoning, and whatever is in the seasoning—I caught some isolated celery in there somewhere—it’s clear why it has stood the test of time. In fact, once you have an Ollie burger and fries you’ll wonder why the chain ever failed if all of the Trolleys made them like this.
The Ollie dressing is somewhat Big Mac-like, but far better. We got a cup of dressing on the side to dip the fries in—highly recommended. The Ollie spices and Ollie sauce, well, spice up the taste, nothing bland going on here.
Ollie’s may have arrived in Kentucky as a destined-to-fail burger chain, but its origin shouldn’t disqualify it from serious consideration as one of Louisville’s, and Kentucky’s, best hamburgers. Let’s hope the Trolley keeps serving up Ollie Burgers for decades to come.
978 S Third Street
(Corner of Kentucky & Third)
Monday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM