On this particular day, we started our trip a little later than usual, arriving in Paris right at lunch time. We stopped off at Trackside Restaurant and Bourbon Bar. This was a planned stop as the restaurant is housed in the Paris Train Depot, built in 1882.
The Paris Train Depot
The Paris Train Depot was built in 1882, completely of wood and topped with a tin roof. It was expanded in 1908, and again in 1911 by the L&N (Louisville & Nashville) Railroad Company.
The building originally had a main passenger waiting room, a second waiting room for African-Americans, two ticket windows (one for blacks and one for whites), a baggage room, and an office for the depot manager.
The depot was important to many people in its day. College students and businessmen traveling to Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati passed through the depot. Thoroughbred horses were shipped from nearby horse farms to New York and Baltimore. Shipments of cattle, sheep, and hogs were sent weekly to meatpackers in Chicago helping farmers export their goods, and while campaigning for president, Teddy Roosevelt made a whistle-stop speech at the depot.
An Extinct Depot
In 2017, the land was purchased from CSX Railroad, and the building was purchased from the city, by Darrell and Debbie Poynter. The city sold the building under the condition that the building be historically restored.
A New Use
The day we stopped for lunch was gorgeous, so we chose to sit outside. The seating was all very quaint. Some seating areas were more eclectic; couches with low tables, a glass covered door used as a table with folding chairs, and a few outdoor furniture sets. It was all very cute, giving a very homey backyard feel. There were a few TVs broadcasting horse races, but they were not distracting and definitely not the center stage. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, and our food was delicious.
We stepped into the depot before leaving to see it from the inside. The dining room was small compared to today’s restaurants, but it too was so cute and quaint. I could totally envision the hustle and bustle of passengers when trains would come and go so many years ago.
I would absolutely recommend the restaurant for its food and its atmosphere. It truly was a great experience. After seeing so many run-down depots around the state, it was a breath of fresh air to see one restored and being used in such a unique way.
After leaving the depot, we headed for Duncan Tavern in downtown Paris. Stay tuned for next week’s post to learn about this equally historic building!
Until then, Happy Travels!