Pay your respects to local legend Colonel Sanders with a fried-chicken-focused road trip. Get an early start with a breakfast of doughnuts (75 cents each) at Nord’s Bakery; the maple and bacon cruller is a knockout. Drive seven miles northeast to Carmichael’s Bookstore in the Highlands neighborhood. The highbrow bookseller is too tasteful to hawk KFC paraphernalia, but ask if they’ve got Josh Ozersky’s Colonel Sanders and the American Dream in stock. Walk up Bardstown Road two blocks to Derby City Chop Shop, where gents can get a side-part haircut ($17) and a goatee trim ($6). Ladies can hoof it a little further to reach Salon Bacco, where Southern stylists will pull locks into old-fashioned pin curls like Sanders’s first wife, Josephine King ($50 and up). Hop back in the car and zip up Bardstown to Cave Hill Cemetery to visit the place where the man himself is laid to rest. Do as others have and leave a plastic spork in homage. Before leaving town, buzz up at Quills Coffee with expertly pulled espressos and eighteen-hour cold brew ($3), then drive about an hour on Route I-64 towards Lexington, but pull over for a picnic of fried pickles and pimiento cheese sandwiches at the Wallace Station ($6–$7.95) Take the scenic route twenty minutes through horse country to Lexington and get outfitted for a custom-made colonel-esque white suit (or maybe just a floppy black bow tie) at Graves & Cox (from $695 for a custom suit). Take 1-75 south for about 90 minutes to get to the Harland Sanders Museum & Café (688 U.S. Route 25W, North Corbin). After committing the details of KFC’s origin story to memory, order up some eleven-herb-and-spice goodness, or at least a biscuit or two. Re-trace your route back to Lexington for a fried-chicken taste test at Indi’s, Esquire’s pick for “best fried chicken in the world.” Turn up the heat with their spicy fried chicken and tack on a slew of indulgent sides ($1.40 each) like fried apples and potato salad. Digest on the hour-long car ride to Louisville. Cross your fingers that Mike Ratterman is holding one of his underground concerts at his Workhouse Ballroom (1314 Lexington Road; no phone), a 150-year old beer-lagering cellar that delivers perfect acoustics for acts like Bill Callahan and Hush Harbors. (To get one of the hand-written tickets, you’ll have to stop by Astro Black Records.) After the show, have a late-night drink at Garage on Market, which calls to mind Colonel Sanders’s back-of-a-gas-station roots. Sip on the effervescent District 8 ($8), made with bourbon, orange juice, lemon, and housemade tonic. You can’t get fried chicken here, but they do have a regional ham plate ($21) that echoes the Colonel’s original ham-and-egg breakfasts.
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Published on Oct 31, 2013 as a web exclusive.