By Alan Cornett
Special to KyForward
My friend Dave has urged me to visit Rick’s White Light Diner in Frankfort for awhile now, and on a recent Saturday he and I had the chance to try it for lunch. Rick’s is near Frankfort’s famous Singing Bridge, and has a perfect old-school diner building. Signs adorn the front (“Ladies Invited”) but only hint at the interior decor, where there are pictures, memorabilia and signs (many uncensored) of all kinds. By all accounts Rick himself is one of the main attractions at the White Light Diner, but he wasn’t in during my visit, so I had to focus on the food.
Rick’s touts its barbecue (a smoker sat beside the diner), hamburgers and, particularly, its Cajun food. The wide range of Cajun options were tempting but not at all inexpensive, so I opted for the more budget- friendly pulled pork sandwich, curious how the barbecue would stack up. I ordered fries, which weren’t on the menu that day, but my request was accommodated graciously. I also added a side of fried green tomatoes.
The pulled pork sandwich was very good; the pork was moist and packed a nice smokey taste. With the barbecue billed as “Memphis style” I was surprised to find much more of a Carolina-style sauce. I have no complaints, though, as the sauce was flavorful and mildly spicy, a nice blend. It was probably better than a Memphis style sauce would have been.
The fries provided were home-style, a pleasant surprise considering their off-menu status. Try them if you can get them. But I have my greatest praise for Rick’s fried green tomatoes. I don’t believe I’ve ever had better. Don’t visit and fail to order them.
Rick’s menu makes a strong point about food sourcing, emphasizing buying local when possible and indicating that all the seafood is sourced domestically. Rick’s is offering a more gourmet menu than its diner vibe might suggest.
The website points to owner Rick Paul’s Culinary Institute of America training, and it seems he’s put it to good use. My pulled pork sandwich and sides were such a success, I would be a lot more confident in moving up Rick’s menu chain and trying his flagship Cajun options on the next visit.
For those who enjoy great casual local dining, Rick’s White Light Diner is a can’t miss option. Don’t hesitate to give Rick’s a try when you find yourself in Frankfort.
Rick’s White Light Diner
114 Bridge St.
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday