According to the 2000 census, Park City, KY, can boast 537 residents. But that number belies the more than 2 million people a year who visit Mammoth Cave, the surrounding caves, and attractions.
One of the newest destinations for visitors opened in August: the Mammoth Railway Café. Serving a creative take on salads, soups, and sandwiches six days a week, this café, housed in the Grand Victorian bed and breakfast, serves food made from scratch in full-service style.
The chef, James Sowders, shown here, is a native of nearby Brownsville who studied culinary arts at both Bowling Green Technical College and Sullivan University in Louisville. But he learned a lot at home. “My mother was a good cook and my grandmother was a good cook,” he says.
The blending of the formal and familial education is apparent in the food he serves. A favorite daily special of pork tenderloin with smoked apple butter and pomegranate molasses reflects a chef’s touch, but the café’s “chicken fried chicken” is a reflection of his grandmother’s style, with buttermilk-soaked chicken breast breaded and fried in a cast-iron skillet, served on mashed potatoes, smothered in sausage gravy, and topped with fresh peas.
The café is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Dinner specials are featured Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights; call (270) 544-7873.