The Best Restaurants in Owensboro, KY

Photo courtesy The Miller House

After a week travelling through Kentucky, travel writer Kim Kerr learned a thing or two about great Southern food and drink experiences at the best restaurants in Owensboro, KY

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While Owensboro’s reputation for its rich cultural, arts, and entertainment scene is well-established, you can add “delicious authentic cuisine” to the ever-growing list of great reasons to visit this small Western Kentucky city. From hearty Southern barbecue dishes to mouth-watering seafood fare, Owensboro has something for every taste.

To help you navigate your way through the growing list of top-rated restaurants in Owensboro, we’ve pulled together some tips on what to order and what to expect during your visit to these great places to eat in Owensboro, KY.

Read our list of the best restaurants in Owensboro for authentic Southern food experiences… and come hungry!


The Best Restaurants in Owensboro for Authentic Food Experiences


The Miller House – Classic Southern Fare… and Lots of Bourbon
The miller house exterioir of one of the best restaurants in Owensboro at night
The Miller House is famous for its great Southern food and extensive bourbon collection (Photo courtesy The Miller House)


The Miller House is a popular dining destination known for its delicious Southern cuisine and cozy atmosphere. Located close to the heart of downtown Owensboro, the restaurant offers a variety of dishes ranging from classic comfort food to more sophisticated fare.

One of the highlights of a visit to The Miller House is its cellar bourbon and whiskey bar, Spirits. One of the best such bars in Kentucky, this aptly named drinking establishment boasts an impressive selection of over 600 bourbons from across Kentucky and other states. Be sure to Have your camera ready for a photo of the bar’s famous “Wall of Whiskey”.

The restaurant’s menu features a mix of traditional Southern dishes served up with a unique twist. Favorites include their must-eat Fried Green Tomatoes, served with a   house-made tomato bourbon jam, and the Bourbon Meatballs, made using the restaurant’s own sweet bourbon barbecue sauce. Similar flare is exhibited for the entrées, too, with popular choices including bourbon smoked ribeye, pork chops with cranberry chutney, and maple glazed salmon. Desserts are made fresh daily, so don’t be shy to ask.

A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, The Miller House offers a cozy and intimate setting for enjoying a meal and a drink or two, so it can get busy, so make a reservation ahead of time.

To learn more about what is undoubtedly one of the best places to eat in Owensboro, KY, visit their website at


Niko’s Italian Cuisine – Authentic Fare From Italy
Niko's Italian Cuisine wine bottle and pasta at one of the best restaurants in Owensboro
Niko’s is the place to visit in Owensboro for authentic Italian food (Photo courtesy Niko’s Italian Cuisine) 


While of course Italian fare is not traditionally associated with the South, Niko’s Italian Cuisine does such a good job of creating tasty dishes that we just knew we had to include it in our list of the best restaurants in Owensboro. Naturally, this classy restaurant is known for its delicious Italian dishes, made with the freshest ingredients and prepared with care by experienced chefs.

One of the standout dishes at family-run Niko’s is the chicken and mushroom spaghetti carbonara, made with creamy egg yolk, bacon, and parmesan cheese. Another must-try is the lasagna:  filled with layers of pasta, meat, and cheese and topped with a rich tomato sauce, it’s simply delicious.

In addition to its main dishes, the restaurant also offers a wide selection of appetizers, including bruschetta, garlic knots, and fried calamari. For dessert, guests can indulge in classic Italian treats like tiramisu and cannoli.

The restaurant has a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with warm lighting and comfortable seating. The service is friendly and attentive, ensuring you’ll have a great dining experience. And be sure to sample their superb cocktail offerings, which include a number made using locally distilled Kentucky bourbon.

Visit to learn more.


The Best Owensboro BBQ Joints
Old Hickory BBQ joint in OWnesboro
Owensboro has a well-deserved reputation for its excellent authentic BBQ joints (Photo courtesy Old Hickory Bar-B-Que)


One of the most popular restaurants in Owensboro for delicious authentic Kentucky barbecue is Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn. This family-owned barbecue joint has been serving up mouth-watering ribs and pulled pork since 1963.

The restaurant, which was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is famous for its hickory-smoked meats and tangy sauces. Be sure to try the “Moonlite Special,” a combo plate featuring ribs, pulled pork, and chicken, served with coleslaw, beans, and a roll.

Other notable barbecue restaurants in Owensboro include the Old Hickory Bar-B-Que, which serves up slow-smoked ribs, chicken, and pork, as the popular Ole South Barbeque, popular for its excellent beef brisket and mutton plates.


Make a Weekend of it: Dine-in & Book an Overnight Stay

If you’re visiting Owensboro from out of town, why not consider combining a great food experience with an overnight stay? Here are two of our favorite Owensboro hotels with noteworthy restaurants you may want to consider:

Burger Theory Owensboro @ Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront
French Fry Fiesta Burger-Burger Theory one of the best restaurants in Owensboro
The must-try “French Fry Fiesta Burger” at Burger Theory (Photo courtesy Burger Theory)


This popular casual-dining restaurant is, no surprise, known for its excellent burgers and fries. Made with 100% Angus beef, the burgers are delicious while the fries are always tasty. Other menu items include chicken sandwiches, salads, and shakes. Be sure to try a local favorite, fried pickles.

Burger Theory is located in the Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront, a contemporary hotel offering convenient access to top local attractions such as the International Bluegrass Music Museum and the Owensboro Museum of Science and History. Amenities include an indoor pool and a fitness center. Guestrooms come with flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and free Wi-Fi.

Riley Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront.

Lure Seafood and Grille @ Hampton Inn & Suites 
Lure cocktail with smoke
Lure’s a great place to go for a cocktail… especially one made with Kentucky whiskey (Photo courtesy Lure Seafood & Grille)


Popular with locals, this Owensboro restaurant offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes including oysters, lobster, and shrimp, as well as other classic American fare. The restaurant has a cozy and upscale atmosphere, with a full bar and outdoor seating.

Lure is located within Hampton Inn & Suites Owensboro, a modern hotel offering a range of amenities including a fitness center, outdoor pool, and complimentary breakfast. Guest rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and mini-fridges. The hotel is conveniently located near top local attractions such as the Owensboro Convention Center.

Riley Recommends: For the latest reviews, rates, and reservations, visit Hampton Inn & Suites Owensboro




Kim Kerr is a Contributor to and its subsidiary luxury lifestyle websites, including LuxuryKentucky. She loves Owensboro, bourbon, and fried green tomatoes.

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