Is Whitesburg’s Summit City a lounge or a café?
“It kind of has multiple personalities,” says Amelia Kirby, who owns it with her husband, Joel Beverly. It’s a café, an art gallery, a music venue, and a bar. It’s open for lunch, when it’s frequented by “the courtroom crowd,” says Amelia, and later in the evening folks from throughout southeastern Kentucky come to enjoy libations, gourmet pizza, and karaoke or live music.
Summit City is in a building built in 1923 that retains its original wood floors and tin ceilings. The town’s general store occupied the space early on, and later it became the law offices of Harry Caudill, author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands. Joel, an environmental and archeological consultant, bought it in 2007 for his offices.
Amelia also had a full-time job at Appalshop, the region’s arts and education center. So it was Joel’s mom, Alice, a veteran of restaurant work in Hazard, who came to help run the place. Later, Amelia quit her job and drafted her best friend to help out.
Lunch is soups, salads, and sandwiches (Cuban, pesto chicken, hummus) with gourmet pizzas added at night, including the Summit City special, which features the restaurant’s popular Vidalia onion dip as the “sauce” and toppings of chicken, red peppers, and roasted garlic.
Summit City is at 214 Main Street in Whitesburg. The café is open noon to midnight Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (606) 633-2715 or go online to www.summitcitylounge.com.
Summit City Café Beer Cheese
1⁄2 lb cheddar cheese
1 1⁄2 lb Velveeta
4 cloves garlic
1⁄2 medium onion
2 tsp dry mustard
1⁄2 tsp Tabasco
1⁄2 tsp pepper
1⁄2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp cayenne
18 oz (2 1⁄4 C) beer, such as Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Mix all ingredients except beer in a food processor until blended. Pour in beer while processor is running and process until smooth. Let sit 24 hours before serving. To serve hot, place in ramekin, custard cup, or other heat-proof dish and microwave, or bake for 20 minutes at 350° (size of dish affects heating time). Can be served warm or cold: warm with warm pretzels or pita bread; cold with celery sticks and crackers. Makes about 7 cups.
Roasted Green Beans
Recipe by Sarah Fritschner
1 lb fresh green beans
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves
1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 green onions, trimmed and chopped (optional)
Heat oven to 425°. Trim beans and break them into shorter lengths, if desired. Spread them on a wide, shallow baking pan. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Peel garlic and toss with beans. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring twice during cooking and removing any garlic that’s turning deep brown. Beans should shrivel and be tender but chewy. As beans cook, combine jalapeño, water, soy sauce, and sugar, then stir to blend. Remove beans from oven and toss with soy sauce mixture. Serve hot, warm, or cold, sprinkled with green onions. Serves 4.
Sarah Fritschner coordinates Louisville Farm to Table, a program bringing more Kentucky-grown food into local homes, restaurants, and institutions.