Southern Agenda

Born and Bread

The historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville celebrates its centennial this year, but you might be more familiar with the spot’s namesake sandwich than its stately Georgian Revival exterior, marble floors, and hand-painted plaster ceilings. In 1926, chef Fred Schmidt invented the first version of a Hot Brown sandwich to appease hungry guests, who took advantage of a party band’s midnight break to refuel. The sandwich has become a Louisville bucket-list standard, especially around the Derby (May 6). “Two slices of Texas toast, two slices of bacon, seven ounces of hand-carved turkey breast, sliced tomatoes, all topped with Mornay sauce and served bubbly and sizzling in a ceramic skillet,” explains Marc Salmon, a director at the hotel who also serves as its unofficial historian. “Nowadays we serve Hot Browns for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”