Karter Louis of Hillbilly Tea
Karter Louis of Hillbilly Tea

After five years, Hillbilly Tea, the quaint tea and Southern cuisine lunch spot located on First Street, has closed its doors. Its last day of operation was May 10.

“We have endured a lot being the lone eatery off the beaten path in downtown,” says CEO Karter Louis, “but we have no regrets.”

The Hillbilly Tea Shack on Baxter Avenue will continue to operate with extended hours, and Louis says another location in Portland should be open by the end of summer. He also announced plans of a new concept, called Billy Box, which will serve Appalachian sushi at Fifth and Chestnut streets. The launch date for that project is still to be determined.

The flagship location of Hillbilly Tea garnered much praise and accolades throughout its five years, and the lunch crowd will miss it downtown.

“We’ve made some amazing memories in this space,” says Louis. “It has been magical, but everything has its season. We look forward to growing our brand in a different way.”

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."