I will go to great lengths for a cheeseburger. Walking into the Twig and Leaf for brunch underwhelming. The long counter with swiveling stools was unoccupied, and the sole customer was an elderly man hunched in the corner booth, glaring over horn rimmed glasses as a disheveled waitress poured him smoldering coffee. As I sat down in a booth, I was handed a menu still sticky with what I desperately hope was syrup. The place looks in need of a deep cleaning with about eighty gallons of bleach and a toothbrush.
The Twig and Leaf was granted landmark status about six months ago, thwarting the efforts to develop the property. The diner is a fixture of Bardstown road that always seems to be empty. Most of the food at the Twig and Leaf is boring, to be blunt. The breakfast food is premade, the salads look unappetizing, and there are little boxes of cereal stacked on the counter, dusty. The omelets are overcooked, and the basic diner fare is lackluster. The coffee was strong and burned, and the wait for a glass of water and diet coke was appalling.
But the cheeseburger. The cheeseburger at the Twig and Leaf is stacked high, succulent, meaty cheesy paradise. The Twig and Leaf cheeseburger is without a doubt the best cheeseburger to ever vanish down my gullet, and as a fan of low carb diets and meat in general I consider myself a cheeseburger expert. I will say this, the bread is nothing to write home about. But the thick beef patties smeared with tangy mayonnaise and melted cheddar were just fatty enough to provide juice and tenderness. The cheeseburger was the shining pearl set at the center of the restaurant, the draw for those who patronize the Bardstown fixture.
The Twig and Leaf is a greasy spoon; a grimy, hole in the wall with mediocre service and a complete lack of imagination. The restaurant might be a landmark, but it could be so much more. I suggest the Twig and Leaf introduce a more kitschy, retro menu featuring specialty sundaes, fountain drinks, and foodie twists on diner favorites--think sweet potato fry baskets, artisan grilled cheese, butterscotch shakes and blackberry ice cream. Capitalizing on their location and their roots in the community could make this landmark an amazing restaurant once again.