I moved to Murray when my son turned 1 in 2018 to be closer to family. As a single mom who works from home as a photographer, going out to eat is pretty much considered a past-time and a good reason to get out of the house. (If you know, you know!) Murray is a relatively small town with roughly 17,000 residents. However, there are plenty of really stand-out locally owned restaurants in Murray, KY. Here are some places you are sure to get a great meal and likely be greeted by the owners themselves.
This is a quaint restaurant inside an old house. They are open for lunch throughout the week and dinner on the weekends. It is usually my top recommendation for friends and family visiting Murray. Everything is homemade from-scratch and they offer a huge variety of options from seasonal sandwiches and salads to greek gyros and authentic Mexican dishes. Oh and did I forget fresh pressed juices and smoothies? Anyone is sure to find something they like here.
My personal favorites are the hummus dip appetizer (trust me on this one) and the Market Plate with chicken and a side salad with their homemade coconut dressing. I also love the gyro and their hot spice tea to drink. If you’re lucky you may be able to snag a plate of their elusive Tikka Masala on Thursdays for lunch.
Dumplins is a Murray staple and although they are known for lunch, they recently changed their hours to accommodate weekend dinner plans. They are known for their chicken and dumplins, their homemade rolls and bread, and their delicious dessert selections.
My personal favorites are their chicken salad sandwich on the homemade bread, any salad with a warm homemade roll, fruit tea to drink, and literally any slice of pie or cake for dessert. You probably will find yourself browsing the dessert options behind the case in the front while waiting on your food!
This is a local steakhouse and buffet that will sure to be full of locals at any time of the day for lunch or dinner. They make sure to always have a huge variety of yummy options on the buffet including an extensive salad bar, hot bar, and dessert bar. They also go the extra mile of taking extra care of keeping them neat and tidy at all times. You will see a lot of people ordering steaks and they look great, but trust me when I say this will top most any buffet you have been to! Anything is great–try it all! Need I say more?
Jasmine is a great place for Thai or sushi around Murray. It has a pleasant, modern atmosphere conducive to a long conversation with your friends and a full-service bar in the back for a drink while you wait on a table.
You can’t go wrong ordering from the Thai menu or the sushi menu. Every roll I’ve tried has been delicious and my personal plates are the Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles with Tofu. Be sure to add a side salad with their homemade ginger dressing. Maybe even extra dressing to take home for later–it’s that good!
This is also a Murray staple and is a pretty chill in-and-out type of joint specializing in single (but HUGE) slices of homemade. Order at the counter and watch the owner tossing dough and throwing pizzas in the oven. You’ll see a lot of college kids here and for good reason–it’s quick, tasty and super affordable. It’s a great place to pop in for a few slices to-go for a picnic at the Murray State Arboretum just down the road.
My go-to is a slice of veggie. (It has TONS of veggies including fresh broccoli florets, mushrooms, green peppers and onions).
Although I don’t find myself going here very often because of the crowds, I’m going to assume that the constant full parking lot and wait-time for a table is a good indicator of how good this restaurant is so I’m including it on this list. They specialize in cajun food and smoked bbq and they have a huge menu with plenty of options for everyone.
If I’m going here I’m ordering the fried catfish or the bbq. The portions are huge and certainly enough to bring home some leftovers for the next day!
This diner is one of the oldest running restaurants in Murray, KY. I’m including it as a recommendation for an option for breakfast and as a must-visit if you have young children. It’s a no-frills diner style restaurant open for breakfast and lunch. The a-frame, red and white tiled floors, vinyl booth seats and retro vibes make it a pretty legit local experience in Murray, KY. You’ll see plenty of regulars dining here as well as the handful of college kids nursing their hangovers with extra-buttery biscuits.
I come here on special occasions as a little date with my son. The omelettes and biscuits are great but the extra-special thing to order here is the kids pancake. It’s made in the shape of Mickey Mouse! (Make sure you ask for it just in case!) The sweet servers will even offer your child a special present out of the “treasure box”–a clear Tupperware full of all kinds of different toys and candies sure to make your child feel extra special–when you’re finished with your meal.
This authentic Italian restaurant is newest and nicest addition to the restaurants in Murray, KY. They offer dining services only and reservations are encouraged, although you may be able to snag a seat at the bar in a pinch! This is the place to go if you’re looking for a place to go for a nice date night without the kids. Feel free to dress up as nice as you wish and enjoy the ambiance over a glass of Chianti wine. I’ve heard the Cacio e Pepe and Bolognese is phenomenal.
Well, there you have it, friends. There are plenty of other options but these remain my personal list of the very best locally-owned restaurants in Murray, KY. Oh and hey, if you are in Murray, KY and need your families photos taken in a super heartfelt way on nostalgic analog film–I’m your girl! 😉 You can find out more about me and my work here.