Like coming home: Bowling Green’s mom-and-pop bicycle bistro

The Bike Rack Bistro is filled with various bike-related decorations to stay true to its name. The bistro will have been open for five years this coming June.

Bowling Green is home to dozens of local restaurants, all of which bring something unique to the table. The Bike Rack Bistro, owned by Crystal and Patrick Folker, offers comfort food that, according to their Facebook page, is “inspired by the desire of healthy and hearty meals after a long bicycle ride in the country.”

The restaurant’s first day of operation was June 6, 2016. Crystal and Patrick were avid cyclists before opening their restaurant. Crystal has over 30 years of experience in the food industry, so the couple decided to combine their passions to form the Bike Rack Bistro. 

“My husband and I were looking for something new, so we decided to open a restaurant,” Crystal said. “My husband actually came up with the logo, so we just came up with the concept of the Bike Rack Bistro.”

The bistro serves a variety of comfort foods, along with an extensive dessert menu and daily specials. Patrick said their “familiar” food is what sets Bike Rack Bistro apart.

“When you eat here, it’s almost like coming home to eat,” Patrick said. “[Crystal] has a knack of making hearty, healthy food choices.”

With in-person dining being restricted during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Bike Rack Bistro had to find a way to adapt. 

“We opened a drive-thru through one of our windows, so that helped us through the rough parts of the beginning of the pandemic,” Crystal said. “We’ve been able to maintain and work through it, but obviously it hasn’t been easy.”

A large part of the bistro’s business in the past came from catering, but due to a drop in the number of people catering, they have lost around 30% of their business since March 2020. Restaurants in Kentucky are currently restricted to 50% capacity, so the Bike Rack Bistro can hold around 18 customers. 

“We have a good customer base, and we care about our customers,” Crystal said. “I think we have a loyal following because of that.”

With such a homey atmosphere, the bistro’s customers are supposed to feel as if they are “coming home to Sunday dinner,” said Patrick. 

Jacob Latimer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.