Historic Restaurant in Louisville KY
The New Walker’s Exchange has been serving the fine folks of Louisville and beyond since November 2019.
Long before the 250+ seat establishment opened its doors for three square meals a day, Walker’s Exchange fed travelers from near and far as Louisville’s first full service restaurant. The new Walkers touts an open kitchen and patio seating next to the Belvedere.
The Walker’s Exchange story begins in August of 1834 when William H. Walker opens Walker’s Coffee House on Fourth Street near Main, the current site of The Galt House. The popular gathering spot quickly became the informal headquarters of the Whig Party in Louisville and the venue where American Icon Henry Clay met with local party leaders when he was in the city. By 1845, the Coffee House became known as Walker’s Restaurant Hotel and advertised “all the substantials and delicacies of this and all other markets can be found at all hours.”
Louisville at that point in time was an active port and trading center on the route down the Ohio to the Mississippi and onward to New Orleans and the Gulf. This economic activity brought the products of the East and beyond through Louisville, and created an appetite for food delicacies for both locals and the annual affluent visitors who spent Summers in Louisville to escape the more oppressive heat of the Deep South prior to the Civil War.
In 1851, Walker moved the Restaurant to a newly constructed building on Third between Main and Market where it became Walker’s Exchange. It’s culinary fame was maintained with “Chesapeake Bay canvass-back ducks, New York oysters in the shell, venison and grouse from the prairies, mutton and beef from Bourbon County, pheasants, quail, woodcock, plover, salmon, bass, etc.” The Restaurant continued in business until the early 1890s riding the growth of Louisville as a Union Military stronghold during the War, and the economic boom that occurred through the 1870s and 1880s. During this time the Walker family expanded their Mercantile and Provisions business in conjunction with the Restaurant by becoming active distributers of Bourbon and their own brand of Bitters.
We celebrate the spirit of Walker’s Exchange by offering a menu filled with the best products we can procure from across America and locally from the Louisville area’s best farmers and producers. Our Restaurant is committed to providing “all the substantials”.
Walkers Cigar Lounge
Every other Friday starting April 14th
Walker’s Exchange offers a large dining area that can accommodate groups for family dining, impromptu meetings, happy hours, and pre-event dining. Located on the second floor of the Galt House Hotel’s West Tower, Walker’s Exchange is located conveniently on Main Street within walking distance of a number of attractions.