Versailles: Wallace Station Offers Food Worthy of Its Drive
There’s no drive more enjoyable than Old Frankfort Pike, which connects Lexington and Frankfort. The rolling hills, horse farms, and stone fences are quintessentially Bluegrass. But I had a new destination on this trip: Wallace Station.
Wallace Station is a sandwich shop in an old former country store in essentially the middle of nowhere (it seems that way, but it’s actually quite accessible, and a joy to drive to). I had come in search of their Inside Out Hot Brown, a sandwich take on the Kentucky classic.
I arrived a little past peak lunch time on a Saturday, but the line was still out the door and down the stairs. The line moved quickly, though, and I spotted my target on the menu board.
Also calling to me was the pie and pastry display. Wallace Station brings in baked goods from its nearby sister shop the Midway School Bakery, both in the Chef Ouita Michel family of restaurants. I resisted as much as I could, but allowed myself a Woodford cookie, named after the county the restaurant is in. As a former resident of Woodford County myself I couldn’t really pass that up. And while I’m still not exactly sure what the Woodford cookie is, I can’t recommend it strongly enough.
After placing your order at the counter, you can find your seat and wait for the food to be brought out to you. Inside seating is limited; most dining is on the back deck and at picnic tables in the yard. The weather was wonderful that day, the scene idyllic, so I didn’t mind the wait for my Inside Out Hot Brown.
And, indeed, it was worth the wait. The Inside Out Hot Brown is just that. While a traditional hot brown is a baked open faced sandwich with bread, turkey, ham, tomato, bacon, and Mornay sauce that you need to eat with a fork, the Wallace Station version puts all those ingredients inside the bread like a traditional sandwich. The fresh Wallace Station bread from their Midway bakery really takes the sandwich to the next level. This is a serious sandwich that competes on its own terms with the best traditional hot browns. The size is large enough to split with a friend. I ate half and packed up the other for later.
Eager to explore the Wallace Station menu further, when friends arrived from the Atlanta area to visit, Wallace Station was one of the two local restaurant options I gave them for our Sunday after church lunch. I sold the scenic drive hard in hopes that Wallace Station would be their choice, and indeed it was.
With the Station as popular as ever, we worked our way through the line for our order. As impressed as I was on the Inside Out Hot Brown on my earlier visit, I forced myself to explore the menu and settled on the Wallace Station Cubano sandwich on rye. I happen to love Cuban sandwiches, and typically Cuban bread is an integral part of the Cuban sandwich experience. I was curious how well Wallace Station would pull it off.
Well, I shouldn’t have doubted. As much as I loved the Inside Out Hot Brown, the Cubano on rye was absolutely one of the best sandwiches I’ve eaten. It’s a pork delight with just the right kick from the pickles. The rye bread isn’t traditional Cuban, but I had no complaints. Toasting the bread helps arrive at that Cuban bread crunch. It’s not the same as getting an authentic Cuban in Tampa, but rather a brilliant Bluegrass spin on the iconic sandwich. It was a sandwich eating experience that I didn’t want to end. I was able to console myself with a Woodford Cookie, which had called to me again from behind the glass case.
Round 2 at Wallace Station was a screaming success. Our visitors were favorably impressed by the drive and the food, sent back to Georgia as Eat Kentucky ambassadors for the Bluegrass. The good news for you is that your own Wallace Station sandwich is just a drive down Old Frankfort Pike away.
2854 Old Frankfort Pike
Sunday, Monday, Friday, Saturday: 8 AM – 8 PM
Tuesday-Thursday: 8 AM – 3 PM (winter hours)
Portions of this review originally appeared at PinstripePulpit.com.