Local restaurants provide unique dining experiences

Rebekah Alvey

Although the common claim Bowling Green has the most restaurants per capita in the nation is not actually true, the city does have a variety of food choices, including popular chain restaurants and locally-owned cafés and diners.

Some students may not be aware of the options outside of the typical franchise restaurants and on-campus dining. Here are a few options to consider for a unique and local dining experience.

White Squirrel Brewery

The White Squirrel Brewery, located on Broadway Avenue, is still fairly new and will be celebrating their two year anniversary this May.

It is the first restaurant for the owners, but co-owner Jason Heflin said the goal is to eventually open another location for a larger productions facility and taproom.

There is a wide range of food items served at the White Squirrel, including some staples like the hot chicken and brunch items.

The restaurant holds several connections to WKU, beginning with its name and iconic White Squirrel logo. Students also dine and work at the restaurant. Heflin said most of the staff are graduates or students of WKU.

“We were the only brewery here when we opened,” Heflin said. The three owners are all natives of Bowling Green.

The White Squirrel is a brewery and a restaurant.

“We have a small pub-style ambiance with all the upscale menu flare of a big city restaurant,” Heflin said.

Patent Pending

Patent Pending is located at Fountain Square downtown. It opened in February of last year by first-time restaurant owner Jim Steen.

“I enjoy being around people and making them happy,” Steen said. Being able to entertain and engage people was one of the reasons he decided to open a restaurant.

“I wanted to open something different, something new downtown,” Steen said. The theme is “nerdy” featuring references to TV shows, videogames, movies and scientists, he explained.

Before Patent Pending was open, the building was home to a high-end Italian restaurant. Steen wanted his restaurant to be more casual and open to many people.

“It can be a place for a lawyer with a suit on or a student with jeans on to feel comfortable,” Steen said.

The menu features “Pub Grub”: wings, sandwiches, salads and their most popular item, gourmet burgers. To add to the theme, all of the items have unique names like the E=m(cheese)^2 sandwich or the Schrodinger burger.

To contribute to the downtown nightlife, the restaurant has live music Friday and Saturday nights. A new local brewery is featured on Thursday “Pint Nights.”

Steen is a local to Bowling Green and believes it is a city on the rise, which is why he opened the restaurant here.

“The core stays the same, it’s just added to with new people and cultures,” Steen said.

“It has a big city feel without the big city problems,” Steen said.

Bike Rack Bistro

Bike Rack Bistro is owned by Patrick and Crystal Folker. The Bistro has only been open for eight months and is located on Broadway Ave.

Before opening the restaurant, the couple worked in the catering business so it was a “natural transition,” Patrick Folker said.

“We treat it as catering, everyone just has something different,” Folker said. The couple still does catering on-site at the Bistro, but for larger parties they move off-site.

Folker said they currently have a smaller sized kitchen, which calls for a smaller menu, but they rotate items daily.

The most popular items are the spicy grilled pimento cheese with raspberry preserves and the Bistro burger. Both feature spicy pimento cheese homemade by Crystal Folker.

The couple wanted to create something new for Bowling Green, but also something very comfortable.

“It has a very relaxing environment, almost like you are coming home to have dinner,” Folker said.

The restaurant’s theme of bicycles came from Patrick Folker’s love of cycling and involvement in triathlons. The decor features bike-inspired art and old bicycles.

“If you take time to lock your bike at a rack, you plan to spend some time there, and we want people to spend time here,” Folker said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]ku.