Convention and Tourist Information Center
201 South Main Street, Harlan
Eat Like a Local in Harlan County
The best way to taste Harlan County is to eat like a local. We have the insider info you need for delicious mountain meal memories! Due to the global pandmeic that we are currently in, we do ask that all visitor's check to make sure the restaurants are open and that you are following all safety precautions/guidelines as set forth by Governor Beshear or the individual establishments.
BREAKFAST LIKE A LOCAL: Harlan Double Kwik in Downtown Harlan- We know what you're thinking...breakfast at a gas station? Hear us out. Their hot bar is fully stocked with eggs, biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches, and biscuit sandwiches. Gas station gourmet is a staple of a coal miner's diet as their shifts often have them coming and going at hours when most restaurants aren't open. If Double Kwik breakfast can power a miner through a long day of working underground, it can give you the start you'll need for adventure and sightseeing.
LUNCH LIKE A LOCAL: The Portal in Downtown Harlan- On the corner of Main & Central Streets you'll find wood fired pizza baking in a former bank. If pizza isn't your preference, try their selection of salads, sandwiches, and pastas. The decor celebrates Harlan's history with old photographs and a giant map displaying the coal camps in the area.
DINNER LIKE A LOCAL: The Dinner Bucket Restaurant at The Benham Schoolhouse Inn in Benham- The Benham Schoolhouse found new life as an inn and added The Dinner Bucket Restaurant to serve guests and locals alike. Try a fresh salad, tender pork chops, or fish & chips served in an actual dinner bucket. Whether you sit inside a former classroom or gather on the patio, you'll have a gorgeous view of the mountains and the former coal town of Benham.
SUNDAY BRUNCH LIKE A LOCAL: Rax- As the only remaining Rax in the state of Kentucky, you're in for a treat! All of your favorite menu items from Rax still exist in this popular restaurant in Harlan. It's one of Sunday's most popular spots so arrive early.
DESSERT LIKE A LOCAL: SPORTS CAFE & CATERING in Downtown Harlan- Tucked away on Eversole St., homemade pies and cakes wait in the cooler at Sports Cafe. Try a daily special or order ahead for decorated or custom cakes.
ICE CREAM LIKE A LOCAL: DAIRY HUT in Cumberland, Harlan, & Evarts- Cool off with an ice cream or milkshake at this favorite local spot. In addition to sundaes and splits, you may be lucky enough to stop in on fried apple pie day. Buy one warm and add a side of vanilla soft serve!
COFFEE LIKE A LOCAL: Lamp House Coffee in Lynch or Moonbow Tipple Coffee & Sweets in downtown Harlan - Once the lamp house for U.S. Coal & Coke Company, this coffee shop overlooks Portal 31. Their menu includes light food and an array of hot and cold drinks. Sip your coffee, frappe, or latte while enjoying the scenery of a century old coal town. Moonbow is a delightful shop in downtown Harlan where you can not only get an amazing cup of coffee but you can also pick up some sweet treats! Once you step food in the coffee shop, you won't want to leave!'
DRINK LIKE A LOCAL: El Charrito Mexican Restaurant in Harlan- We could go on and on about their food but there's also a lot to say about the bar. Whether you're looking for beer on tap or a margarita so big you'll need two hands to pick it up, you won't leave thirsty.
PICNIC LIKE A LOCAL: Don's Super Saver in Harlan and Martin's Fork Lake in Cawood- This local grocery store is a one stop shop for the perfect picnic. Select cold cuts and condiments or visit the deli for extras like fried chicken or pimento cheese. Once you've gotten your supplies, continue along 421 to the Martin's Fork Lake. Spread your blanket on the sandy beach area or settle beneath one of the picnic pavilions. Make time to fish, swim, or hike after you're finished.
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS LIKE A LOCAL: Be sure to follow some of our food trucks in Harlan County (Taco Holler, O Taste & See, Hog Heaven, Southern Grind Coffee, & Others) to find out when these food trucks are setting up! Typically we have a food truck Friday at the Harlan Center and you can make your rounds among all of the trucks!
No matter where you eat, eating like a local always means being courteous to your server, being open to new foods, and telling stories around the table while you enjoy your meal!