It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic morning than sleeping in, meandering downstairs, and being handed a well crafted cappuccino. Throw in a beer and breakfast menu that would even make Anthony Bourdain swoon, and you have Gralehaus, the new cafe/bed & breakfast from Lori Beck and Tyler Trotter. Lori and Tyler are best known as the team behind the internationally-acclaimed beer bar The Holy Grale, situated in a repurposed Unitarian church conveniently located immediately behind the turn-of-the-century building which houses Gralehaus. The two restaurants share a German-style biergarten, so theoretically there’s no reason for a visiting foodie to ever leave the premises.
The Windy City comes to Derby City
We’ve been anticipating Gralehaus’s opening for several months now, so a few snow flurries were not going to keep us from grabbing two of our favorite photographers, Ben and Ashely Willis, and checking it out. Louisville has long had a strong microroaster scene, but Gralehaus represents one of the first times a local cafe has started a serious coffee program with a nationally known company like Intelligentsia. When we visited, Gralehouse’s K30 Twin was filled with Intelli’s Honeybadger Espresso blend and Colombia Tres Santos- two delicious coffees that we thoroughly enjoyed.
Kentucky’s First Modbar
Most exciting for Louisville coffee geeks is the hardware. Gralehaus boasts Kentucky’s first Modbar, a modular espresso machine that took the specialty coffee world by storm in 2013. With the modular system, most of the hardware sits below the counter, removing a barrier between customer/barista interaction. A hot water attachment is perfect for brewing pour overs, which Gralehaus pairs with Kalita Waves. Perhaps most importantly, the group heads look like beer taps and fit in perfectly with Gralehaus’s aesthetic.
Brunch Your Heart Out
Breakfast has long been a black hole in Louisville’s otherwise exceptional food scene, but Gralehaus might change that. Most of their dishes are riffs on Southern classics, such as sausage and grits, but with an eclectic twist. The biscuits and gravy, topped with an egg, was a big hit with our crew. The artisanal sodas, made in-house and on tap, are another stand out option. The shrub soda pairs particularly well with an espresso.
Seating is both scarce and in high demand, so don’t expect to make Gralehaus your remote office. But if you want good coffee and exceptional food in a gorgeous space, look no further.
All photos by the ineffable Firm Anchor.
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*An earlier version of this article erroneously stated Gralehaus was the first Louisville cafe to serve Intelligentsia. We regret the error.