Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flavor Isle (Smiths Grove, KY)

Bike:  KTM Super Duke R
Route:  Google Maps

I first noticed Flavor Isle while I was passing through Smiths Grove on my way to Porky Pig Diner a few weeks ago. I've occasionally stopped in Smiths Grove for gas, but that's about it. I really didn't know there was any decent place to eat here, and I had no idea there was a burger joint this cool. After asking around, I'm surprised I never heard about Flavor Isle before -- it's been here forever! It has belonged to the current owner for nearly 50 years, and I don't know if it was around before 1964 or not. But it's been around a lot longer than I have.

I really thought I could fit this ride into a normal one-hour lunch break, and I almost did. But two missed turns on the way back turned into 25+ extra miles of fun, so I was a little bit late. No worries. It's hard to get too lost for too long around here, and it's fun to ride new roads even if you don't know where they're heading, or whether they're heading anywhere at all...

It's Spring, but not quite Springtime.


Smiths Grove, KY is located at I-65 Exit 38. At the exit, head North past the fast food joints and across the railroad tracks. You'll find Flavor Isle at First & Main, about a mile from the I-65 exit in the center of the Historic District. It really is sad to think about all the people who never make it past McDonalds or Wendy's. Poor people. I used to be one of those people.

Buggy Parking I.
Antiques I.

Antiques II.
First & Main.
Here we are...
Ice cream. You scream. Smiths Grove was featured in Halloween.
Flavor Isle.
You can order & eat outside (two tables), or you can order & eat inside (four tables). You could probably even order inside & eat outside, or order outside & eat inside!
Bacon Cheeseburger, Fries, and a Chocolate Milkshake.

VERDICT:  I talked to another customer who said he'd been visiting for 38 years and that his Mom had been coming for many years before he was born. I can see why Flavor Isle has been in business for so long -- it's a great place to grab a burger and shake.

They are proud of the fact that they make their own patties out of fresh, never frozen, ground beef. It's a friendly place with character, and it might take a few minutes longer than the drive-thrus down the street, but I can't imagine going to those places while I can get a good fresh made-to-order meal for the same price here! And there's nothing wrong with relaxing on the patio with a milkshake while the rest of your meal is prepared.

Flavor Isle reminds me a lot of Berties in Brownsville. Both are small places with bigger menus than you might expect. And like the ladies at Berties, Gail at Flavor Isle wouldn't tell me what their specialty was -- she just said everything was good, and I might as well believe her because she certainly make a mean burger! She also told me that the owner, Joyce, would be having some sort of 50th Anniversary celebration in 2014 where she sells everything at 1964 prices. I do not want to miss that...

Flavor Isle.

Smiths Grove is a neat little town to drive through. It feels like a lot of other old railroad towns that used to be bigger, but as the second-largest town in Warren County it is a healthy community. I'm not sure if the antiques business is still going strong here or if it has seen better days, but the Historic District definitely has some cool old buildings.

Antiques III.
The Victorian House B&B is for sale across the street from Flavor Isle. I almost stopped and bought it, but then I remembered I left that $700,000 at home because I was just running out for a burger.
Antiques IV.
This is about the last place I expected to see a MMA Gym, but there it is... in an old antiques shop, of course.


I'm guessing it used to be a school, but school is not in session anymore. Oh, and horse poop.

Horse Shoeing & Saddle Shop.


Now I know that had I taken that second left above, I would have been home a lot sooner. But getting a little turned around in Horse & Buggy territory and riding through some nice farmland I've never seen before wasn't so bad. Anyway, I'll remember that turn next time!

I guessed left...

...and left was most definitely not right.

I had to choose left this time, which would have been right the first time. Technically, left and right were both wrong.

I ended up heading back towards Smiths Grove. It took me a minute to realize that, and now I realize that when it's cloudy and road signs are missing, it's easy for these things to happen.

Yeah, that's the same Horse & Buggy from 30 minutes ago. They've covered some ground since I last saw them, but I covered more.
Buggy Parking II.

The Dam Store's still closed, baby. The Dam Store is still closed...
KTM Super Duke R, cleaner than usual.
Barren River Lake Dam.

If you gotta run into the Po-Po, a stop sign is a good place to do it!

Headin' home, ahead of the storm...

Planned Route.

UPDATE (6/20/12):  Stopped in for some Ice Cream on the first evening of Summer 2012...

Flavor Isle.
Oreo Blizzard & Small Swirl Ice Cream Cone.

VOICE BEHIND ME:  What are you doing?
ME:  Taking a picture.
VBM:  I know.  But of an ice cream cone?
ME:  OK, I see your point...

I'm telling y'all, this is hard work.

Historic District, Smiths Grove, KY
Summer Solstice 2012

UPDATE (4/4/14):  I learned today that the 50th Anniversary celebration is scheduled for May 3rd (also Kentucky Derby day).  They will be serving items from the 1964 menu at 1964 prices, which means hot dogs for $0.15 and milkshakes for $0.25.  Too cool!

UPDATE (5/3/14):  So the big day arrived, and sure enough they were serving up the 1964 menu items at 1964 prices. We were too late to get any hot dogs, but we had a fine time on 65 cents...



  1. Great ride. I was watching your speedometer which looks like alot more fun when you are going over 60 and closer to 70! Love those little backroad towns. That's when we find the best eats and the nicest people!

  2. Thanks, Robin. I do love these small places all the beaten path. But I can't believe I'm still finding places close by that I've never heard of! I thought I had a pretty good idea of all such places in this area. Glad there's still more out there...

  3. Enjoyed these pics so much....Smiths. Grove is my home town....born and raised...I remember the flavor isle when Miss Ethel Hardy owned it....Joyce was a young married teen ager who lived just next to our farm on highway 68...Only a couple of miles from downtown Smiths Grove....I was a little girl and she was a hottie of a the place.