I guess since the Billy Reed article, bars and restaurants have been on my mind. My neighbors have been as well. Most of what Billy mentioned in his article is not what I’ve experienced in my neighborhood bar and restaurant, Rubbies. The family owned and operated (since 1989) Rubbies is located at 6905 Southside Drive. Rubbies is one of the few sit down restaurants in this portion of the south end.
Linda (owner) worked for Holiday Inn for about 18 years and would pass the building that is now Rubbies on her way to and from work. She, like many of us, dreamed of working for herself. Linda went down to the Louisville Business Association to ask about the vacant building (previously Hunt’s). Linda was told the area was blighted and that she shouldn’t buy the restaurant, that nothing would last there. Thirty years later, me and many in the south end, and even some from the east end, are glad she didn’t take the advice. Linda, her husband, and their children/grandchildren (life-long south enders) worked so hard to make Rubbies what it is today, which is: a laid back, casual, and accepting restaurant and bar that keeps their regulars and new comers happy. They take pride in knowing the goings-on with their regulars, watching children grow up and go to college, and seeing friendships form at their tables and bar. I truly believe Linda and Scott when they say a lot of their customers are family. The contribution to the area is immeasurable when you think of typical restaurant staying power. They both love Louisville’s restaurant scene and foodie culture, which allows them to be more and more creative. Thursday’s at Rubbies are when the kitchen showcases their creativity, with a new special.
Linda and Scott (Linda’s son and Rubbies General Manager) take pride in making most of their food from scratch from great ingredients. Outside of an incredibly chill and welcoming atmosphere, smoked meats are Rubbies claim to fame. Anyone who has been to the Taste of South Louisville event has likely had Linda’s baked beans and brisket. I’d strongly encourage you to also have their smoked wings. Linda told me that many of their menu items were inspired by their customers. One item in particular is the Chicken Erv. Linda made a chicken sandwich for a customer, and at the time, it wasn’t on the menu. As she was delivering the sandwich, her friend Erv asked if it could be fried. They didn’t have a name for the sandwich, so they dubbed it “Chicken Erv”, and that’s the way it’s been since.
They both indicated they enjoy hosting benefits (for animals and people alike), and they make a concentrated effort to support school sports and other clubs in the area. Linda stated that if Rubbies is investing in children to help them build their future, then those children will maybe grow up to help the future of Rubbies.
One last interesting thing I learned is that Rubbies along with Ratterman Funeral Home (Southside/New Cut) were instrumental in the decision to not widen Southside drive. Hundreds of Rubbies customers protested the plan because widening Southside drive would have meant that Rubbies would no longer be here today.
When I asked Linda what she wanted the rest of Louisville to know about Rubbies, she said, “We’re a family owned business that tries to be a positive and important part of the community. We keep good people employed here who also love to provide personable service.” And, it’s true: there are more than a few employees at Rubbies who have been there for decades, and personally speaking, they are absolute treasures.